- Love Letters -
My time volunteering at Wild by Nature Botanicals was nothing short of magic.
I gained a wealth of knowledge by working hands-on in the garden with various types of herbs, flowers and vegetables. Planting, pruning, harvesting and building structures to support and protect our plant friends. I learned of the various beneficial insects and pests to look out for in the garden. I enjoyed this part! We would work as a team trying to learn as much as possible about the different phases of its lifecycle, and whether or not it was in fact detrimental.
There was a strong focus on soil building and compost as well. I learned of the different compost techniques and was able to complete the process in full to provide the garden with rich nutritious soil.
We worked rain and shine which allowed me the opportunity to witness nature's impact in the garden ecosystems. Some tasks should be done in the rain and others simply cannot. I grew patience in these times as it presented me the opportunity to slow down and feel nature's pulse.
There is a sort of intuition that is gained when you hold back and listen to the garden. It becomes obvious with time; nature simply cannot be rushed.
Every day at Maria’s garden was different and special.
I worked among some of the most unique and vibrant individuals. We shared stories and learned this special gift together. Maria always met us where we were on each specific day. Some days I would feel like getting dirty so I would take on a “hard” job like the removal of a scrub or shovelling wood chips. Other days I would enjoy a slow methodical task like harvesting calendula flowers.
Maria is a thoughtful and generous teacher with a gift of storytelling. She is in my opinion an expert gardener and herbalist. I could write a novel on my summer experience at her lovely homestead in the heart of the city. Instead, I suggest you write your own…
I originally came to Maria's Wild By Nature garden for healing during covid. What I got was so much more. I found a community when I needed it most. A place where I got to be submerged into the kind of living I had dreamed about but never knew how to execute.
In the practical sense, I learned to grow food from seed, minimize waste, compost, find recycled materials to turn into apparatuses for the plants, pest control, permaculture, lasagna garden bed building, I could go on forever.
In an intangible or spiritual sense, after being quite exhausted by the demands of life, I found solace in her family Garden. I sat in the holy basil patch and clipped stems of her and took a big inhale and exhale. I felt my inner cup fill up and I felt it rise through my body, from literally the ground up.
TOGETHER in the Wild by Nature Garden, with Maria and her family and the other gardeners, I am in the best school of life immersion of intentional living; gardening to nourish our bodies and spirit, community and mother nature.
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I reached out to you in March, but I am grateful to have been invited into your space and world of gardening. You provided an outlet to connect with nature and people during a time of isolation. Being in the garden and chatting was proving to be very therapeutic (even on the rainy dirt digging days!)
I've learned a lot about gardening and even more importantly how to build community with a labour of love, generosity and acceptance. Your approach to gardening is gentle, creative and resourceful, while your approach to working with others is open, honest and compassionate. Thank you for your steadfast generosity.
I have grown from this experience and I am inspired to approach gardening, community and even relationships in the ways you have shown me. Thank you for your patience and understanding when life got busy and I couldn’t commit my time as often. I wish you a fruitful growing season next year and lots of success. I’d love to visit or sign up for a future workshop! The learning and growing never stops.
Thank you x 1000
To say that it has been an absolute pleasure to know Maria would not do justice in describing the experience I've had. What started as an initial desire to contribute at a community garden, became an expansive mutual relationship filled with nourishment for both the plants and I.
Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to come and help Maria at the garden, and in those times, I learned so much, and had so much fun too. Maria's kindness, generosity, and patience, as well as all the cool volunteers I met, made me want to come back again and again. Her knowledge and experience could fill many books, and I was fortunate to take a little bit of that knowledge home.
Not only was it fun and relaxing to help out in the garden, it was a reminder of the important relationship we share with the natural world, and by extension, with ourselves. Too often I found myself lost in the rhythms of modern life, but when I came to the garden, I felt a strong sense of belonging, and a deep sense of calm.
It is no surprise that I look forward to helping out again this year. Thank you for everything that you do Maria! The impact of your work is deeply felt.