At the Boston Pre Release Center Gardens we have many different areas to illustrate to the students the different styles and purposes of gardening. We have fruit gardens including an apple tree,
One style garden that we have also created is a formal garden. It is traditionally shaped in a diamond,
It has been a rewarding garden to build and an exciting transformation each spring since the nepeta melts back to nothing in the winter as do the dahlias. By mid May though, the hedge is a complete diamond of blue and the roses are leafed out and beginning to bud with dahlias beginning to appear.
The students too have different styles and ways of learning. One man today followed me around asking me questions nonstop. Another student wanted to know how to make bouquets, another man found a bunch of sprouting potatoes in the compost so he spent the class transplanting them.
Another student weeded with a hoe with such gusto and pride. I did not have the heart to be mad when he accidentally dug up all the baby basil, woops.
I try to let the men melt into the garden doing what they seem to be called to do that morning. From there we have informative exchanges about the garden and how it relates to their skill sets, interests and hence positive involvement in something healthy.