Many people ask me the question – “Is it hard to teach inmates horticulture?”  I am always surprised by this question. To me, teaching the inmates is easy; peppered with challenges but filled with unexpected enjoyment.

Today, the men and I checked out the garden, took stock of chores and split off into groups to begin our work.  It’s important for me to work closely with the men. By doing so, we can have great conversation and I can answer any questions they may have.  And they do have questions – they ask them non stop! It reminds me of an article from the Sunday Globe Ideas section.  The article explores the importance of questions.

In reflection, this article has helped me form some insights about the men. Their constant stream of questions is fantastic! Even if we don’t know all the answers to their questions at least they are seeking the knowledge. Questions highlight their budding interests and I am honored to be included in their curiosity. I feel so lucky to be there.

I get questions about the work I do from friends and questions from the men about the work we are doing – two worlds are included in the questioning!  I have glimpsed a rainbow, a connection between two parts of my world.  It gives me such hope.

– Questions are gifts. –

In the meantime, since the bearded iris were heavy from the rain and burdened by their weight…

We cut them to give away to visitors.

This is a laundry bucket in the visitor area in which the guys placed a handmade sign inviting visitors to take a flower.

The Siberian Iris are what is left.  I love the succession of plants, first the bearded iris now these, next the peonies!

The men also weeded, composted, and planted more peppers and 8 different types of tomatoes.  They harvested herbs including mint, garlic, thyme, sage, marjoram and rhubarb.

Next week I look forward to the blooming peonies, the first ripe strawberries and more questions.


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