A Spotlight on Native Plants and tips for Crime Prevention
This past Saturday I attended a Naturescaping Basics workshop. It was a free 4 hour workshop put on by EMSWCD -the fine folks who provided the grant that funded our shed. I learned about native and invasive plants and the benefits to using natives in the garden. I AM SOLD! They are drought tolerant, will grow very happily in our environment with little care and provide food and habitat for all of the critters we need to visit our garden (birds and pollinators). I went directly from the class to Portland Nursery to purchase two Oceanspray bushes, two groundcovers called coastal strawberry and kanikanik. Everyone at the workshop got a free native plant, too, so along with those additions I was able to plant an Aster Subspicatus. I also learned a ton of information about resources for native plants, resources for community gardens, identifying plants and getting rid of Invasives. I’ll be sure to add things to our links page as I discover them. There are more EMSWCD workshops coming but they do fill up so you have to register for them online. I am also signed up for Site Planning next month! Can’t wait! A look at our community garden site revealed that the two things that were growing happily there before we started, and are still present in varying degrees, were Himalayan Blackberry and a Tree of Heaven-both are invasive!
Meanwhile back at the garden, husband-neighbor John spent Saturday hauling a huge pile of mulch from an inconvenient location to a convenient one and opening up a great spot for our first 4×8’ bed to go in (next weekend, I think) and then he cut the wood so it’s all ready to go. Big kiss to John. On Sunday, neighbor Alex donated a motion detector which he installed on the front of the shed. Thanks, Alex! We also installed two motion detector spotlights at the gate. The front slope bed was weeded and the new natives went into the bed. I can’t wait to see the Oceanspray in its full bloom. A NW native garden is also a great opportunity to educate others on these benefits so I look forward to sharing information with other gardeners and garden visitors and I hope to keep all the natives labeled. Lucas and Raquelle (neighbor kids) and Pat visited the garden on Sunday, too. Thanks to neighbor Pat for the donation of bricks and those glorious old windows which will make a beautiful cold frame…eventually.
Office of Neighborhood Involvement
Today the fun continued as I met with Brad Taylor of the Office for Neighborhood Involvement. He is a crime prevention officer and came to give us some tips on how to make our property less attractive to criminal activity. Brad also facilitates the forming of Neighborhood watches in our area.
Some of the tips he gave me -not just the garden but the entire neighborhood are:
- -Have as much light as possible at night, especially motion sensing lights. Also, light throughout the space so that it is not a dark area to hang out. We have another spotlight to install at the corner and some low-light dusk to dawn lights to put on the shed. They are coming in the mail but not here yet.
- We need a bigger COMMUNITY GARDEN sign so that our site is not mistaken for a housing jobsite where there might be tools lying around. John and I can get right on that. We are also planning a wooden mural along the front fence and that will help block the view of the space and make the fence even harder to climb on.
- Have the surrounding neighbors looking out for activity (which I think is already happening since our event with the “expressionist painters” a few weeks back). Brad also suggested an official neighborhood watch. I’ve been reluctant to start one myself because I already have so much to do with the garden, but he really made me understand that the commitment is not so much work and that it really helps…so I’m going to add it to my list. Really I will just have to host the hour and a half presentation that he gives to all interested members on the street and then we will know how to handle the criminal activity we see. We can buy the Neighborhood watch signs for $22 each (as many as we want) or house stickers for $2 each. Each year we will just have a party or gathering to stay in touch as a neighborhood and that is it! Why don’t all neighborhoods do this? I already know a lot of the neighbors on the block, it actually sounds fun!
- For all neighbors, Brad recommends doing everything we can to pick up garbage around our homes and parking strip, keep your yards and strip from being overgrown or uncared for and generally make your home look as lived in as possible. Motion sensing lights pointed at the sidewalk are also a great deterrent. The lights we have for the garden are all battery powered and were mounted very easily!
DON’T FORGET THE GARDEN COMMITTEE WILL BE MEETING FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS COMING SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19TH from 4-5pm AT THE GARDEN! ANYONE INTERESTED IN TAKING A PROACTIVE ROLE IN THE GARDEN IS INVITED TO ATTEND!