When I wrote yesterday about how Detroit Garden Works only hosts one evening event a year, I had no idea of what was to come. I had gone home after a long day of tuning up the shop to collect myself, and get dressed for our holiday open house. It was no problem that I would be a little late. I have a group I trust and respect who would make sure those opening moments would be perfect. The high winds and rain that were forecast appeared to be skirting us. But at 5pm I got a call from David that the power had gone out. I was calm. Maybe I was tired from the weeks long job of transforming the look of our shop. But mostly I knew my group would figure out how to sort out trouble. We were the only building affected by the outage, so we hoped if we could alert DTE, they would give us a hand. By 5:20, 3 DTE trucks were on the scene.
The shop is across the street from a DTE (as in Detroit Edison power company) substation. As Rob was flagging down trucks coming in for the night on our street, and Monica was placing phone calls, our internet and phone sales manager Heather walked across the road, stood at the substation gate, and pitched our problem to the first person who came to the gate.. We are a business with an evening event scheduled-could they get our power back on?
Scott and David took to lighting candles. Sonny took the big lead in the dark that descended. She was teaching guests that did not already know how to use their phones as a flashlight. By time I got to the shop, there were phone flashlights flickering everywhere. There was shopping going on in the dark. I cannot explain or illustrate how that moment felt. Everyone making their way around in the dark by flashlight was hilarious. No one went home. No one complained. That opening half hour in the dark was a lot more nerve wracking for us than for any of our guests.
A great friend who had come to our open house from Ann Arbor had much to say about that 30 minutes in the dark. He was convinced that we have gardening friends that value us as much as we value them. I barely had time to think about that before the lights came on. Once we had power, I could see we had a whole house full of people.
I so enjoy the sight of the shop full of people. All of us work all year round to make the shop a destination. A place like no other. A place for anyone keen for the garden to meet, and experience what we try to represent as a gardener’s life. Nothing feels better than to see people responding to that. A gardener life s a big one. Gardeners plant trees. They shrub up an awkward spot. They plant containers. They rake the leaves. They plant bulbs. They compost the leavings. They put flowers on the table. They make room for the dogs and the kids. They travel to other gardens. They are a great group.