Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Defiant Gardens

When we (read Yvette) originally planned the garden we were thinking of it a great way to save water, enhance the neighborhood, know our food and it's contents, and reduce our involvement in the corporate food chain. I think I can safely say that we've been successful on all points and more become apparent every day. The one thing we tacitly knew was that in one way or another there was a sense of defiance involved. From snubbing the big-box retailers to breaking from the preconception of the suburban front yard.

As we've all seen over the last 7 years 1 month and 28 days, things don't look very good around here. Tainted meat, vanishing fish stocks, genetically modified everything, a divisive social and political climate, Hummers, etc. You get the point. It is with this background noise that we all live and breathe. It is with this background in a more extreme form that incredible human moments can occur. And more specifically, so can gardens. 

I happened across the internet extension of a book entitled Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime by Kenneth Helphand. Mr. Helphand describes Defiant Gardens as those created in difficult times and possess the ability to adapt to those circumstances. He continues to state, "...they can also be viewed from other dimensions as sites of assertion and affirmation." I couldn't agree more. The focus of the book are gardens related to wars in the first half of the twentieth century. The web site acts as a continuation by incorporating gardens from Vietnam, prisons, Afganistan, and Iraq. Be sure to look at the letters from G.I.s and the articles about the Japanese-American internment camps.

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