Taraloka is a special place in which to garden, and the gardens and landscape can and do play a vital part in creating the context for the retreat experience of those who come here. Of course, it's far, far too much for just one person to manage, and my skills are by no means professional. A good foundation has been prepared by those who have preceded me, and since coming to live here a team of interested, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer gardeners has come into being.
We meet in Spring and Autumn for gardening days, when we blitz various areas of the gardens around the retreat centre. They're not always run as a retreat, as time when the retreat centre is 'empty' is often an opportunity for essential maintenance or renovation work to happen as well. However, all the usual retreat facilities are available to us, and we meditate in the morning and evening. The days normally run from Monday to Thursday/ Friday, and are just great. In 2016 they will be
7th - 11th March
7th - 11th November
We also rely on the willingness and generosity of retreatants to help out during the year – there's never a shortage of tasks, and often a bit of physical work can help people along during a retreat. It's also a case of many hands make light work! The year contains its own seasonal work. For example, we have a small orchard and in a year with a good harvest there will be apples and plums to pick; swallows nest in the potting shed (where there is a good supply of tools) and in spring it needs a good clear out before they arrive, and preferably the same when they leave!; it's not a manicured suburban garden (and never will be!), so invasive weeds are just that, but the pretty ones can stay and wander around. In years past, tasks included harvesting the lavender for Lynda to make lavender bags, the proceeds from which go towards buying plants; and there are two ponds that need care and attention.
I'm trying to plant to encourage bees, butterflies and wildlife and create a sound ecology, and that includes an ecology of shared responsibility.
So if you would like to come and be a volunteer gardener, please do be in touch with the office, and I look forward to seeing you.