On Sunday another Garden Retreat at the Original Root Zen Center came to a close. It started out with a brief Dharma talk on Friday night with the Guiding Teacher giving us the rules for this years Garden Retreat, basically, be present, help each other, get out of the ‘me, my, mine’ mind, and bring joy to all that you do. The Abbot followed up with basically, ‘Don’t be a dick, focus on the task at hand and help each other, it’s not about you.’
Saturday started at 7 am with bows, chanting, and some sitting, followed up by breakfast. For this retreat, I had my first pass as Assistant Kitchen Master, so I did get to learn a thing or two about cooking for a large group keeping special dietary requirements in mind. One of my highlights was getting to prepare Master Teacher Linda’s Olive Oil for her pasta. While the menu called for Pasta with Olive Oil, I just could not do that while the rest of us were eating a BBQ-chili pasta. So after breakfast, I got to go out to the herb garden and picked some herbs. They soaked in the oil until dinner time, so about six or seven hours in total. They imparted a wonderful, subtle flavor to the oil which the Master Teacher was quite pleased with.
So for Saturday and Sunday, many a weed was pulled, many a tree was trimmed, and many a new feature was added to the garden.
A new stupa was put in place.
A new rock garden was put in place.
Stones were put in the ground front and center.
Some paths were cleared and weeded.
And pretty much everything is in bloom.
Other additions include a new sitting area, a spiral cut topiary, and some additions to the trellis. A great deal of work was done in a fairly short amount of time.
In all, everyone enjoyed themselves. We got a lot done, without too many things left on the continuing projects list. Pretty soon we’ll get that table done for our elevated herb garden, and things will be looking really good there!