Earth Day: Listening to My Garden Grow

Earth day my garden photo

photo credits: Kelly Rossiter

A number of years ago I was walking home on a warm spring evening and I kept hearing rustling. When I got to the front of my house the noise was quite loud, so I stood for a few minutes looking into my garden to see what was making the noise. Insects, mice? Turned out, much to my surprise, that I was hearing the bulbs breaking through the earth and moving the dead leaves that were lying on top of them.

Earth day flowers photo

In all of my years of gardening I had never noticed that before. So at 10:00 at night I knocked on a few of my neighbour's doors and got them to come out and listen with me. It's become a bit of a ritual, our own rite of spring, as a few of us stand around with our heads tilted to the garden listening to it grow. We are always so focused and intent, and obviously in awe that people walking past, cyclists, even the occasional driver will stop and ask us what we are doing.

Sound recording and engineering by John Saunders

This year my neighbour John Saunders very kindly recorded the garden for me and the result is pretty amazing, although you may need headphones or just crank up the volume. The crackling noise you hear is mostly the dead leaves moving, but we aren't touching anything. It's just the leaves of the tulips and daffodils pushing them away. Occasionally in the morning you see tulip leaves that have pushed straight through a leaf, and in this photo you can see a rotten crabapple speared by the growth.

Earth day tulip and crabapple photo

The Nature Conservancy
suggests that you head outdoors and sit and listen for birds early in the morning to celebrate Earth Day. I suggest that you head and out and listen to your garden growing.

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