Tuesday, I heard the rumbling of the iconic yellow bus grind to a halt at the end of my driveway. Some things never change. I thought noting that the bus stop was in the same place as in the 60’s and 70’s when I rode it, first to Mather Junior High (now the Town Hall) and later to Darien High. And here another school year was beginning.
It was quiet after the bus continued on its way out and I decided to take a walk with Lucy, my dog. We saw some men building a retaining wall at a home down the street, one of the workers tossing a Frisbee to a black lab that was more than happy to share his domain in exchange for human companionship!
Under the I-95 underpass there was an empty lot that had been a magnet for discarded cans, cigarette packs, coffee cups, plastic bags and other debris.
Hidden under tall grass and wild weeds, you don’t usually see the garbage until frost hits and the grass dies back and then you see all the trash tossed by litterbugs as if the fact that it was an empty lot made it one giant garbage can or a mini dump.
However this particular parcel of land, surrounded by a deer-deterring fence, had been uniquely landscaped into a wonderful “secret” garden.
Boulders surrounded by bright yellow marigolds and sunflowers flank the gates, American flags fly at the top of the gate posts and several iron rings complete the eclectic entrance to this hidden idyll.
Inside are neat rows of vegetables and herbs, and down a large central path, a table and chairs with an umbrella and just beyond that a hammock! How perfect, lying on a hammock in the green shade on a blue and gold September afternoon.
This past Sunday I had the rare pleasure of sitting with Wayne and Eric, the creators of this oasis, talking and comparing notes on what did well and what didn’t – thoughts only lovers of the land can ramble on about.
Having grown up with gardens, I can’t help but imagine how wonderful it would be if all undeveloped parcels of land could be cultivated like this. What an unexpected —but perfect — idea.
Now Labor Day has come and gone, children are in school, streets are quieter, the last of the gardens are a visual feast for us because soon — when the plants die back, the days shorten and get colder, it will mean autumn has arrived.
But then, that also asks the question — are you ready for some football?
Nanci Natale is a lifelong Darien resident, photographer, poet, accomplished gardener, cook and artist. Her poetry has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Bellowing Ark and others publications.