...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garden Pilgrimage...the Forgotten Garden

This month's garden pilgrimage is to a Southern Indiana gardenscape. What makes it unique is its history, for as a garden, it has been abandoned for hundreds of years. Centuries ago, Native Americans grew their crops here along the Ohio river, but now all that is left are commemorative waxworks in a little state museum, painted papier mache tributes to the corn and squash and sunflowers that were once cultivated here.

They call the place Angel Mounds because Angel is the surname of those who last privately owned the land. But now you could call it angel mounds simply because this land once so fruitful for man has been left to the angels for its tending.

Garden Helper came along on this pilgrimage. It"fit" with his Native American unit in school, so the outing began with the perfunctory visit to the museum.

It quickly proceeded, however, through a back door that led to the forgotten gardens and token rebuilding of native villages.

A large footbridge separates the museum from the acres of mounds, a bridge crossing what was once a useful stream to those farming here. Almost as though the water itself participates in the story-telling, that fish and canoe-laden stream has become nothing but a tiny thread of water, hardly even requiring the bridge that still spans it.
What did we find on the other side?

We found that eventually, even snakes abandon some places.
But the trees remained--growing ever larger in girth.

We found tiny butterflies, smaller than the smallest fallen leaves, sitting quietly in the sterile dust.

We found we walked a world more prone to flaunt its texture than its color.

We found our focus drawn away from what was near at hand to explore what was background and hidden behind...that which was most obvious grew fuzzy and less interesting to us.

(At least, that's what accompanied my imagination. I can't say what thoughts roamed through the mind of the young one as he silently looked up into the boughs of the ancient trees.)

We found that if we took our leisure we discovered treasures hidden in the litter, like the lavender dragonfly who posed for me here.

And, under that inspiration, we found that if we took our leisure, we discovered treasures hidden in the litter of our minds, as well.

We found the wind likes to work and to play here.

And flowering weeds came into their own, receiving the dignity of being the most beautiful thing still humble enough to grow here.

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