Something Is Growing on South Forty

South Forty common area in full bloom
Planters are overflowing
New furniture has been added as well
And it's being put to good use with more dock potlucks  |  photos and post by Guy Biederman

Something is growing on South Forty Pier. A new garden has been planted in the common area and newly landscaped groupings have appeared in the pots on the railings and in the push-out areas that run along the sides of the dock.

Pink and white begonias form festive rings at the base of robust fig trees. Orange and red nasturtiums and vivid parrot’s beak cascade down terra cotta pots. Purrsian blue catmint co-mingles with ornamental grasses that wave in the breeze beneath royal purple smoke trees and bays.

A South Forty garden committee was formed and sent out requests for donations. An account was created, a budget established, and a treasurer was assigned to handle the donations and keep accounting records. The outlines of a garden plan began to take shape. It was a dock-wide community effort and the money raised through this home-grown, organic fund-the-garden drive was used to purchase terra cotta pots, soil, annuals, perennials, drip-irrigation materials, outdoor furniture, and trees.

An email went out to the dock inviting all those interested to participate. Interest ran high and participation was excellent. South Forty residents gathered to remove spent plants and broken and worn out planters, as well as to salvage and re-pot those plants that could be saved. The drip irrigation system in place was repaired, expanded, and replaced as needed so that each pot was measured and responsibly watered.

Neighbors who knew each other well, or only in passing, came together and worked side by side. Some of the work, in particular the removal of old root-bound palm trees, while saving the large clay pots, was rather laborious, not to mention scratchy. Turns out some root-bound palm trees and rogue roses fight back when facing removal. It was hard, sweaty, physical labor. Landscaping by shopping cart. And it was fun. It also wasn’t all work and no play. Some of the shopping carts carrying debris to the compost bin also carried the occasional gardener stowaway along for the ride. At the end of workdays, neighbors shared cold beverages, pizzas, and other refreshments and surveyed progress made.

The renovation of the garden, the new plantings, the artistic rock formations brought the community together in a lovely way and made way for what is now a beautiful garden, while creating something just as beautiful—community goodwill and spirit.

In addition to plants and pots, new dock furnishings include beautiful umbrellas and stands, Adirondack chairs and wooden tables—all part of the South Forty garden makeover.

The common area has now become an appealing oasis, a place where neighbors come together and relax in chairs, at tables to enjoy the views, the plants, and each other’s company.  It takes a village to make a village . . .

One of the interesting dynamics of dock living is how, as residents, we often don’t walk beyond, or mingle much beyond where our floating homes are on the dock. We come home, we walk from the parking lot to our ramp, perhaps visit along the way, and go inside. If we live at the beginning of the dock, unless we intentionally go out for walk, we might not often get to the middle or the end of the dock to visit neighbors. The common area, at mid-dock on South Forty, now serves as a gathering place for South Forty residents regardless of where their homes happen to be berthed.

What has grown on South Forty Pier has been a beautiful garden. What has been nurtured on South Forty is the beautiful nature and quality of community spirit—neighbors coming together to create a garden of beauty, while planting the seeds of neighborly spirit and cooperation.