Gardener Story: Natalie Olsen

I never garden truly alone. At the very least I’m accompanied by the songs of birds when I venture outside this time of year. As my garden soil has improved with time, every turn of the shovel reveals a wriggling worm and it isn’t long before that birdsong turns into a nearby hunting robin who cocks its head in anticipation of my next move.
   
And of course at times I garden in partnership with a spouse. Admittedly this joint approach presents some challenges not only in the planning stages but also in the phases of execution. While I dream of color coordinated groupings with contrasting leaf textures and lines arranged in a pleasing undulating pattern, my husband Marty lusts after plants that produce. This results in an interesting marriage and an interesting garden.
     
Because our yard is shaded by large mature Oaks and is therefore unsuitable for vegetable gardening, we’ve chose to lease a plot at the Carver Peace Garden. Consequently our vegetable patch is surrounded by other plots and I’m often gardening in the company of others who also have gardens there. As a novice gardener, I appreciate the easy availability of advice from my fellow community members, and it gives me a ready audience to celebrate any garden victories or commiserate over my all too frequent growing woes. Among this interdependent web of birds, worms, pollinators, fellow humans, and the spirits of gardeners past, I try to find my voice to improve the plenitude. Truly I never garden alone and I’m looking forward to adding Build It Up into my efforts.

More images from Natalie’s garden!