Archive for May 2008

Long's Gardens

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Last week I had the pleasure of visiting this iris farm, smack in the middle of the city of Boulder, Colorado. Located near the intersection of Broadway and Iris (natch!), it is open to visitors for several weeks each spring (now through June 8th) when the iris are at their peak bloom. You are welcome to wander the grounds and enjoy the 103 year old farm site, dig your own iris, or order iris to have shipped to you in July or August. Check out their website here for more information.

Although the farm doesn’t seem to have as many fields in production as it used to (and that may just be my own perception), I still had a great time wandering the grounds with my camera. Patina was my watchword!

Enjoy the tour….

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SPEC Open House

We had the SPEC open house yesterday and what a day it was! There was a great turnout of SPEC members, volunteers and community members. The weather was perfect for showing off the rooftop garden and our solar panels. The goal of the open house was to officially launch 'Growing Gardens - A Resource package on How to Start Your Own Community Garden'. This handbook was developed by UBC Geography students working in conjunction with SPEC.

The brains behind the 'Growing Gardens' manual.

Katherine Richardson, professor of Geography 447, presenting the manual.

All of the work done on the rooftop garden paid off. It looked great! Many, many thanks to our volunteers!

Solar panels and veggies make great companions. The veggies help to keep the panels a little cooler which makes them run better.

We have so many tomatoes! Perhaps we should use the solar cooker to make some tomato sauce when our harvest comes in.

Jess, a SPEC director, cooling off in the shade with Betsy Mae.

Rob, a SPEC director, giving a tour of our solar panels.

Another group for the rooftop tour.

Thanks to everyone for helping out with the open house. It was filled with wonderful people and great fun. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!
Cheers, Tara

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sunny sunday

What a great day! Thanks to a donation of tools, hoses and other materials from the Home Depot on Cambie Street, we were able to plant our tomatoes and set up more trellises and water the whole length of our long garden.

Many thanks to our little helpers - you did great!

The seeds from our first planting with the daycare have sprouted, and we look forward to seeing more green in the coming weeks. If anyone is able tomorrow MONDAY MAY 19, we will be meeting in the afternoon to prepare the bean teepes and finish our next square foot plot. We look forward to we will plant some peppers, basil, cucumber, and beans, On Friday with our other little friends from the daycare!

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But Wait, there's....

“It was as if someone had poured tons of coffee and milk into the ocean, then switched on a giant blender. Suddenly the shoreline north of Sydney were transformed into the Cappuccino Coast.
Scientists explain that the foam is created by impurities in the ocean, such as salts, chemicals, dead plants, decomposed fish and excretions from seaweed. All are churned up together by powerful currents which cause the water to form bubbles.”

I remembered seeing this some months ago and was able to Google the original story (click here for the complete article and more wild photos). Although my pond doesn’t have any decomposed fish or seaweed in it (aaaaak!), flowers, pollen and seeds from the adjacent maple and ash trees do contribute to the “junk” and particulates in the water. The abnormally windy weather we’ve experienced this spring (and increased fish activity, as Ayana suggested) may be the “whipping” factor that stirs up the foam.

Anyway, it’s been fun. Thanks for your comments!

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More...fabulous foam!

I finally caught the fabulous foam stuff early today. this is how it looks before the marbleizing patterns come into play.

A comment on the previous post suggested that the fish spawning may be contributing to this foam off but, frankly, when the fish spawn it SMELLS---and I really haven't noticed that. Thanks anyway, Ayana. One more piece of the puzzle!

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Swirly Whirly

The foam phenomenon on the surface of our pond is just one of springtime’s magic acts. I don’t know what causes it, although it seems to be connected to the drastic changes in temperature that we experience this time of year (case in point: today 80 degrees F, tomorrow snow). I’ve also heard that it may have something to do with protein levels, although the presence of plants and fish are not a factor.
Whatever the cause, I love watching the marbleized effect on the water’s surface as the koi shimmer below.

Do you have foamy stuff on your pond? Do you know what causes it? Do tell.

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Food Gardens for Small Spaces Workshop

We hosted our workshop on Saturday on Food Gardens for Small Spaces. We had 12 participants and everyone walked away with their own container of food. People could choose to grow three different combinations of plants (1) tomato and basil, (2) eggplant and parsley, or (3) lettuce and onions. It was lots of fun. We are going to do another workshop but have not decided when just yet. We will keep you posted.

Tara and Carole planning for the workshop.

Everyone from the 1st session ready to take their containers home.

Learning to grow.

Participants from the 2nd session

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plotting and planning

The City Square garden is in great shape, and we are looking forward to putting our tomato plants (now huge!) into the ground. When we were there last week, we saw the first shoots of radish coming up
aren't they cute??

our greens are also doing well, some can be harvested now and some are just beginning - perfect for a season full of salad!

We will be at the garden on Sunday, but just to have a quick look and see what's shakin'. NEXT SUNDAY, the 18th, we will be hosting a WORK PARTY in order to build the bean teepees, and collect all the materials we need for the square foot garden and planting on the 23rd with the children from the daycare.
If you'd like to get involved, contact Vicky at

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Meet . . . Cercis!

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Last week I went to Denver Botanic Gardens on a photo safari and was immediately drawn to all of the beautiful blooming Cercis canadensis, or eastern redbud. These small trees, hardy to Zone 4, are native to the Eastern US but are also found as far west as Texas and Northern Mexico. They are fairly adaptive to our alkaline soil, but it must be moderately moist and well drained; try planting in a slightly raised area in well amended soil (Unfortunately, I have not been successful growing Cercis canadensis here in the sandy soil of my home garden.) Cercis canadensis is one of the few flowering trees for our area that tolerates light shade.
The distinctive pinkish purple flower color is beautiful paired with any Colorado blue spruce (Picea pungens) or white flowering ornamental trees like Malus, Prunus, or Amelanchier. However, keep it away from brick buildings with any kind of orange cast---the clashing colors are horrific!

Keep your eyes open the next few days and see how many Cercis canadensis you can spot! These photos were taken in DBG's Japanese garden.

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