With more time on their hands because of the COVID-19 pandemic, three Mount Vernon housemates used the opportunity to grow a garden they hope does more than provide food and flowers. They hope it inspires others, too.
Doris Breevort, Helen Weber and Carrie Chesnik expanded their home’s modest garden into a terraced one that now is being used to grow everything from sweet basil to carrots, from onions to California poppies.
As a former King County Master Gardener, Weber has experience helping others with their gardens. When the pandemic struck, she decided to team up with her housemates to expand her own.
“I had leftover time and energy, was happy to use it here,” Weber said. “Martha Stewart wouldn’t like it but it does the job, will be a heck of a food producer ... We’ve been having a wonderful time. It’s my mental health program, to work in the dirt.”
Weber said the original plan for the space was much more modest.
“The more I did, the more I realized it could be done,” she said. “At first I was just going to weed the garden, then I realized it had a lot of potential.”
Breevort said, “In March, (Weber) said, ‘Well, it looks like we’re going to be home for a while. If you get materials and bricks we can tear up the front yard and turn it into a production garden.’ Before, I had a casual garden. She terraced it into three levels with cinder blocks.”
Soon the garden included a variety of herbs including rosemary, chives and oregano; flowers including lavender-hued anise hyssop; and beets, carrots and radishes.
Breevort said, “I’m happy to have this energized victory garden going on ... Our intention is to use this space and use Skagit nature to create food.”
Chesnik, a member of Wisconsin’s tribal Oneida Nation, said she hopes the effort is an appropriate use of land that was once the land of the Swinomish tribe.
“It’s something we’d do as indigenous people,” she said, noting that she has planted traditional indigenous foods including corn, beans and squash.
Weber said she hopes others will take a few ideas and draw inspiration from the effort.
“I hope people are growing more and more in their yards,” she said. “Why wouldn’t you?”