I planted a little herb garden in a small portion of the dilapidated flower bed outside our apartment door about three weeks ago. We live in a motel-style building and I pass the little herb garden every time I come home. It makes me really happy. Apparently this is where the obsession with gardening starts. I can see it growing along with my little garden.
The tiny bed my herbs are in is part of a much larger, and exponentially more dilapidated bed. The only redeeming aspects were two random bushes because they took up so much space and one appeared to want to flower. The building manager asked me if I was going to do anything with the rest of it which I thought was kind of cheeky, but I have to admit, I wanted to.
So this Saturday I did, and something amazing happened. The people in our building started to smile. While I was excavating the rest of the bed from years of leaves, weeds, giant rocks, and garbage, I had two different neighbors who have never even made eye contact stop and chat at me. At one point the manager even came up and asked me if I wanted three bags of dirt he had left over from something else (I said yes without any hesitation). And two more people stopped to offer friendly words before I was done getting grubby in my fresh dirt.
Taking back one giant flower bed in front of our complex has made multiple people happy, even if it is only for a few seconds as they park their car and walk to their unit. All of a sudden there is a hint of community from our side of the building. This tiny bit of effort with an ugly, unused bed (I pruned the bushes as well – I can’t help myself) has boosted my pride in where I live. I want to be house proud. Maybe my neighbors feel that way too?