Gardener Story: Mel Perry

Hi Garden Friends!

I’m Mel and this is my first year in the Build It Up program. I have been a garden learner for most of my life, and I’m looking forward to the new lessons this year with Build It Up will bring.  We have about 3 acres, which until 2020 was a great deal of overgrown “jungle” and lawn. We are slowly working to transform these spaces with more pollinator-friendly plants, edibles, and native trees. As we began, a friend gave us some helpful advice: “Start at the house and move outward.” 

I have had a small raised-bed vegetable garden near the house for several years. This year I pulled out the wooden boxes and hand turned the soil. I added more compost (shout out to Hoffman Composting). We are now on our way to creating integrated “kitchen” gardens near the house. These are a blend of vegetables, herbs, flowers and small native trees. 

Like many people, we spent a lot of last year outside. I found myself wandering through the garden most mornings, enjoying that first cup of coffee and taking note of what was growing. One morning I came across the first delicate borage bloom (borage is a beneficial companion in the garden and has beautiful – edible – flowers). I had my phone with me and snapped a picture, titled it “garden peace” and posted it. With that a life-giving practice began. Every day since last June, I’ve walked outside and always found something in the garden that is beautiful and teaches me something. 

In these first weeks of the garden season we are spending a lot of time being the “transformers”. From building raised beds or installing trellises to pulling a handful of weeds and tying up stray cucumber vines. I encourage you to spend a few minutes every day letting your garden transform you. Start at your garden and move outward.

More images from Mel’s garden!