One of the best and most obvious relationships that could happen for the community garden is underway. This morning I met with Nicole Forbes, the Education and Events coordinator for Dennis’ 7 Dees. That’s right, the neighbor across the street from the garden! I hope this garden brings them as much happiness as it does the neighborhood and, as it turns out, it does! Before I tell you about the cool stuff they donated to the garden, I want to say something about Nicole. She is a Fo-Po resident, she holds degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Botany and she loves educating people about growing. I love a person who knows their stuff and educates, too (it’s who I always hope to be). We had little conversations as we perused the plants and I was digging (no pun intended) her philosophy. My favorite thing we talked about was insect hotels. She did warn me that, as an artist, the excitement might make me incontinent. I am sooooooo excited, but, luckily, still dry:
So the idea here is that, lots of people clean their yards up so much that the beneficial insects have no place to shack up for the winter and they die off. This gives the insects an inviting place to hang out, and don’t they deserve at least that? I mean, we’re not talking free cable and mini bars here, but hell, I’d stay there (if I were a bug). This may be a great step in fighting the loss of beneficial insects. I think I just figured out what to do with all of the odds and ends pieces of bamboo, palettes and one off brick styles that we are accumulating. So, as was mine, everyone’s homework is to Google search: insect hotels. Extra credit if you build one in your yard or come down and help build one at the garden.
Now, on to the donation. Nicole asked if we’d like a few plants that they were culling-I had no idea that it would be so many! Sure they look dead on top, but I finally got some good advice on how to tell if they are still ready to go for Spring. (colorful or fleshy looking root balls, even whitish, any signs of life, not darkened or musty smelling). Then there is the obvious sign, little green things poking out of the soil:
Reminds me of a poem:
by a million
wings of fire-
the rocket tore a tunnel
through the sky-
and everybody cheered.
only by a thought from God-
urged its way
through thicknesses of black-
and as it pierced
the heavy ceiling of the soil-
and lauched itself
up into outer space –
In all, I carted about 50 perennials to the garden, all wildlife promoters:
Beauty, birds and bugs. In addition we had our pick of the Spring bulbs, which, gee…if anyone has any time on their hands, these need to get planted right now! I’ll be over on Saturday 12-2 and Sunday 2-4. Come play. This donation is a huge bump for the garden and HUGE thanks to 7 Dees for that, for writing a letter of support for our recent grant application and for a promise of continued support throughout our growing phase.
We have also just ordered 41 native shrubs from the EMSWCD native plant sale for pick up in late February (more homework? yes, indeed). You know, it is getting to be time to plant bushes and trees.
So look, in the next few weeks, for a posting about a day or a few days coming up that we’ll be having big push work parties. There are some things that need doing before we can get all of these new “babies” in the ground (why did you think they call it a nursery?) and we need your strong back, shoveling arm and community spirit now more than ever.