Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunny summer work day in the garden!

Our summer work day turned out to be a big success thanks to a great turn out by members of the garden and beautiful sunny weather throughout the afternoon. Everyone pitched in and we got a lot done, including a thorough weeding of the footpaths and common area gardens, spreading new wood chips throughout the garden, repairing the compost bins and some damaged garden plots, and reorganizing the work space by the tool shed. Thanks to all who came out and lent a hand last Saturday!

After a few hours of work, we took a break for a brief meeting and to talk about some ideas for the garden. Here’s a brief rundown of what we discussed:

New Bulletin Board: The city recently installed a new bulletin board at the front of the garden. Bulletin boards are being installed at all community gardens throughout the city and are designed to serve as a spot for posting notices about the garden (left side) and the community (right side) for the neighborhood. We deliberately chose a shady spot in the front of the garden for the bulletin board so that it wouldn’t block too much sun.

Open Garden Days: The city is encouraging community gardens, especially those like ours that are locked, to look for opportunities to provide greater public access. This summer, we’re going to host Open Garden Days on the second and fourth Saturday of every month from 10am to 2pm. Volunteers are needed for 2 hour shifts during these days to welcome visitors to the garden. You’ll find a volunteer sign up sheet posted on the bulletin board on the tool shed.

Bamboo Fence: Gabriel is leading a project to construct a bamboo fence along the west side of the front of the garden to replace the damaged chain link fence in that area. The fence is based on a traditional Japanese design and will be built in the coming weeks. Marina and Darrow volunteered to help him with the construction.

Tool Shed Inventory: We’re going to do an inventory of the tool shed later this month to identify what tools we have on hand, which ones might need to be replaced, and what other supplies are needed. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Annual Garden Barbecue: We made plans to organize our annual garden barbecue and party on Saturday, September 13. Volunteers are needed to help plan and organize the event. This event is open to all and inlcudes live music, great food, and other fun in the garden! Please let me know if you are interested in helping out.

Movies in the Garden: Lynn has been exploring the idea of hosting a movie night at the garden. She has a friend who is a film collector and the idea is to show some films (cartoons and other family-friendly movies) on the outside walls of one of the buildings bordering the garden. Stay tuned for more details.

Other ideas for improving the garden: We ended the meeting by having a discussion about other ideas people had for how we can continue to improve the garden and make it a real gathering place and focal point for the neighborhood. Mang talked about a garden art project he is interested in doing at our garden his interest in plantings that attract butterflies. Other art projects like mosaic and stencil work on the walls were discussed. We also talked about hosting potlucks at the garden and organizing workshops on composting, making jam from the garden plums, and other gardening subjects. We're looking into ways to expand the garden beyond our front gate, including the idea of creating sidewalk gardens along our block of Page Street. Finally, we're interested in adding some additional sitting areas along the sides of the patio and reconfiguring the compost bins to make room for a larger upper patio and stage for performances.

Ever since the garden was saved from development a few years ago, we’ve put a lot of effort into making it an even more special place for the neighborhood. It’s undergone a wonderful transformation since then thanks to the creative energy and talent of a growing core of gardeners who have volunteered for special projects like the ones above. I’m excited about all we’ve accomplished these past few years and look forward to building on this success.

If you are interested in helping out with any of these projects or have other ideas, please let me know!