I drove home last night from our final Master Gardener class at Shaker Village. Driving through the now familiar rural roads in the unfamiliar dimming of dusk, I was humming the tune of “Gonna Make This Garden Grow” that our teacher, Ruth Smith, sang to new lyrics she had written.
I couldn’t sort her words from the music (a hearing disability that makes listening to singers difficult) but her voice is beautiful and the melody stuck, just as so much of what she taught us about gardening in these classes. I also couldn’t sort my feelings of sadness that these 12 weeks were completed, from an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having met these two dozen incredible gardeners who came from so many different life experiences, talents, and generations. I hope to stay in touch with many of them, including Ruth.
So now I have my certificate for completing the MG classes, and after 55 hours of volunteer work I will be a Master of something, finally! I think I will spend some of those hours finding ways to make this experience more welcoming and possible for people of other races and economic circumstances. Perhaps classes on weekends and evenings? Perhaps deliberately reaching out to BIPOC gardeners. Yes, this is New Hampshire, not exactly the soil of diversity. But with some careful nurturing we can make this garden grow. If that wasn’t in Ruth’s new lyrics, I’m sure she’d be happy to add another verse.