Even with Spring blossoming like crazy and the gardens slowly getting planted, one amazing volunteer is single-handedly creating more planting areas, education opportunities and engaging nearby organizations in the expansion of the Hospitality House gardens. He’s been mentioned in this blog before, but it’s worth a longer visit:

_DSC0092David has lovingly taken on the girls, the Dixie Chicks, who have become his family. He’s adopted not only the “girls,” but the area surrounding our gardens. Beside the wondrous New River lies county land and a worn, dirt path to a Greenway that has grown up in brambles and become a repository for trash, people’s discarded items, itinerant campsites, and even ‘party’ areas. He adopted a couple residing in their van, just as he chooses to live out of his big old Cadillac, to assist in clearing land, prepping gardens, and painting beautiful signs. They’ve brought a wealth of Appalachian garden knowledge and land care ideas to us._DSC0088

Because of their work, over time we expect to add an educational wildlife garden of pollinators with identified beneficial insects and critters. If we find that clearing this land leaves some critters homeless (we’ve seen evidence of rabbits and a groundhog) we’ll learn how to live with them, honor their existence and do want we can to mitigate the change in their habitat. After all, it’s all too easy for humans to encroach, destroy and relentlessly push others out of their homes. As a shelter with a mission to rebuild lives and strengthen community by providing a safe, nurturing, healthy environment in which individuals and families experiencing homelessness and poverty-related crises are equipped to become self-sufficient and productive — we are obligated in the Hospitality House Gardens to include all living beings and build kindly relationships with them.

So as nature ‘goes on steroids’ here, and things grow inches a day, our gardens are expanding as quickly, with the help of dedicated volunteers, students, staff and community organizations._DSC0083