Discover more from Mother Hulda's Garden
Mother Hulda Starts a Garden
Sowing seeds, saving stories
The real Mother Hulda would be more organized than I am now, trying to start this substack and launch my small market gardening business at the same time, all while there are still vegetable plants to put in the ground and already so many weeds to be pulled. Mother Hulda would have prioritized. She would know just what to do and say.
I chose to name my little gardening adventure after Mother Hulda, because she’s my favourite character from German folklore. In German she’s called Frau Holle, but I’ve chosen to use the Anglicized version of her name, which the Canadians will find easier to pronounce. Hearing Holle spoken without the ‘e’ on the end is not pleasant.
Mother Hulda is a winter character, for it’s when she shakes her feather blanket that we see the snow start to fall. But what would such a wise, beautiful crone do in the summer? She would garden, of course. So here I am, gardening in her honor.
The three-acre garden space that I lease is located at Heimweg Homestead, in the Cariboo Chilcotin, backed by dark forests and overlooking a wide, green meadow where the sandhill cranes visit each spring. Heimweg means “the way home” in German, and for me, this venture is a path back to sacred relationship with the earth. This year will be my true leap into the world of market gardening. I keep my hands in the dirt and try not to thing of all the things that could go wrong.
I don’t long to “grow big.” I long to stay small. I long to fulfill my favourite quote from the poet Gary Synder and “Be famous for five miles.” I long to nourish my neighbours and participate in the well-being and food sovereignty of my community. I wish to gift my life to deep, local participation. To listen. To come to know, to understand.
I’m still very much a novice gardener, so don’t expect much expert advice. If I can weave some inspiration and encouragement into what’s-in-season updates, I’ll be happy.
This space will no doubt change over time, like we all do. I will post again soon. In the meantime, you can find me at the South Cariboo Farmer’s Market every Friday.
I’ll let the wonderful May Sarton sign off:
“Poetry and gardening…are alike in that both are passions that bring renewal with them. But there is a difference: poetry is for all ages; gardening is one of the late joys, for youth is too impatient, too self-absorbed and usually not rooted deeply enough to create a garden. Gardening is one of the rewards of middle age, when one is ready for an impersonal passion, a passion that demands patience, acute awareness of a world outside oneself, and the power to keep on growing through all the times of drought, through the cold snows, toward those moments of pure joy when all failures are forgotten and the plum tree flowers.” - from Plant Dreaming Deep