It’s not often you spend the better part of a Friday afternoon planting herbs. After Common Energy’s DIY Herban Garden event, however, I would be more than willing to end my week painting n’ planting again. Most of you are probably wondering what this event was, why you missed it, if there will be more events like it in September (there will be) and where the brilliant name came from (credit to George, CE’s co-director and resident blogger). I am here to answer all those dying questions.
Let’s be real, it’s hard to get down and dirty (in soil…. ) when the perils of exams loom in the near future and many year-end events fill up your calendar. At the end of another 8 months of education, everyone is tired out, stressed out, and schooled out. This is why Herban Garden came at just the right time. I don’t know about you, but the amount of time I spend in nature compared to the amount of time I spend doing work on my laptop or taking notes from textbooks is crazily out of proportion. The Rooftop Garden at the Nest was the perfect place for the event for this same reason. It introduced many to the secluded green sanctuary that’s right in the centre of campus, and reminded the rest of us that it is still there! It was the perfect space to reconnect with nature again.
When everyone arrived, they were directed first to the painting station. An array of crafty supplies, including twine, paint, chalkboard signs and buttons greeted each avid gardener upon their entry. Those avid gardeners soon realised that they were avid painters as well… everyone got right into it. Paint got on the table, the floor, people’s faces.. It was quite the adventure. Even those who claimed to be “non-artistic” were lost in painting, and by the end had produced an interesting, yet colourful creation.
Next: the potting. After waiting patiently for the paint to dry (or not so patiently in some cases… the culprits with paint-covered hands were easy to spot), it was time to fill the containers with soil. Chris from Roots on the Roof was there to guide the aspiring horticulturists in choosing the right herb, a wide selection of several different basil varieties and peppermint causing confusion amongst some. He explained how to care for each herb, and demonstrated the placing of a few seeds and the thin layer of soil cover. Chris’ “2 easy but hard rules to follow” were: keep the soil damp, but not moist, and let the plant sit in bright light. It was hard to not be excited at this point. There’s something about growing your own plant that stirs a protective, nurturing force inside you. Maybe that was just my empty stomach, but you never know.
Talking of empty stomachs, the UBC Tea club was there to quench your thirst and tide you over to dinnertime. I had the “Tea of the Moment”: the delicious No. 10 blend, with a generous amount of honey stirred in. The smiling Tea Club members added to the friendly atmosphere, and their service was much appreciated (@UBCTeaClub sorry for coming back for more… twice….). And who could forget the musical serenade. Throughout the afternoon, artists such as Sashka Warner, Traffik, Karina Gonchar and Terry Chen, and many more provided the musical entertainment, making the event an all-round success.
In fact, the success of this event surpassed all expectations, and suggests that perhaps uni students need events like this more often. It’s easy to forget, even with BC’s beautiful scenery surrounding us, that we don’t reconnect with the earth often enough. Tending for my own herb in the weeks to come will be a great way to bring the outdoors in, and in turn remind me to get outdoors myself. Good luck with finals everyone, and don’t forget to take a break in the sunshine (fingers crossed Vancouver keeps up the rays)!
-Natasha Harland, Common Energy Tangible Solutions Team