Archive for June 2010

SPEC Rooftop in June

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Here are some photos of what's happening on our rooftop garden at SPEC.


Nasturtiums - both the flower and leaves are edible

this broccoli has a great start

these tomatoes are loving the heat on our rooftop

garlic in the vertical planter - the scapes will soon be snipped and sauteed

lettuce starts to replace those that will soon come out.

It's not all problem free - aphids looove fava beans

a chemical free way of dealing with the problem is to spray them off with a strong stream of water

this gives our beans a fighting chance, so that hopefully we can harvest them in the next weeks

happy food growing!

- marnie

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Scenes from Telluride

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I recently spent some time vacationing in Telluride, Colorado. This old silver mining town (designated a National Historic District ), located in a box canyon high in the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado, has successfully maintained its character while surviving in a modern economy.  How?  Most of the development necessary to support their ski resort is located out of sight in the adjacent Mountain Village, accessible by a free gondola.  The core of Telluride maintains it's small-town ambiance with independent retailers and small residences.

The backdrop for main street is the stunning Bridal Veil Falls, visible in the photo above and in a closer view, here:

I enjoyed strolling down the streets and alleys, looking at the small pocket gardens and the architecture of this  active mountain community.

I loved this color scheme of palest lilac, periwinkle blue and soft, acid green.  Which came first, the paint or the plant ?:

This tiny back yard is well designed  to use every bit of available space for both function (parking) and relaxation.  Check out that ski lift swing!

Metal has become the building material of choice in Telluride. I think it speaks well to the town's mining past.  It's usually left to rust, and integrated with wood, stone, or brick. Here, corrugated metal and "hog wire":

Flat metal "shingles" for a less rustic look:

Metal sheathing over a cast concrete retaining wall carries the architectural detailing into the landscape.

Corrugated metal integrates with brick for a durable fencing option:

Sometimes it's a good exercise for the eye to focus on the non-plant materials that build our outdoor spaces and let the plants take a backseat.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

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Car Free Day - Commercial Drive

Last Sunday June 20th SPEC hosted a booth on Commercial Drive to tell more people about our organization's work. We chatted with many many folks about organic urban agriculture, renewable energy and waste reduction. SPEC shared our booth with Earth Heart - a new endeavor by Gareth Ward who builds cedar container boxes among other food garden services.

It was a very busy and very inspiring day. Thank you to all who stopped by to say hello!

- marnie

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Friday Afternoon Garden Club 6.25.2010

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It’s FAC time in The Art Garden!  Grab your favorite beverage and pull up a chair.  You didn’t really want to work this afternoon anyway, did you?  Leave a comment to join the garden party.
Today’s topic:

The heat is on, and it's time to get serious about wise water use.  What do you think saves more water:  using drought tolerant plants or managing your irrigation system more efficiently?  Which practice is more sustainable? Does your municipality allow the use of rain barrels or gray water?  What are your favorite tips for conserving water in the landscape?

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Upcoming Volunteer Times

Hi there!

Yey for summer!

Here are our upcoming volunteer times:

Wednesday June 23rd 530pm-615pm - Cambie Square Communal Garden (West side of Cambie between 10th and 12th, up the stairs)

Friday June 25th 93oam-11am - SPEC Rooftop Container Garden (2150 Maple Street)

Sunday June 28th 11am-12 - Cambie Square Communal Garden

Wednesday June 30th 530-615pm - Cambie Square Communal Garden

We hope to see you!

- marnie

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Garden Designers Roundtable: Designing Small Spaces

                                                      Street scene, Telluride, Colorado

What's so special about designing small spaces? Every inch counts! Today, the following members of the Garden Designers' Roundtable are sharing their tips and tricks for making the most of your small outdoor spaces.  Follow the links and enjoy!

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Friday Afternoon Garden Club 6.18.2010

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It’s FAC time in The Art Garden!  Grab your favorite beverage and pull up a chair.  You didn’t really want to work this afternoon anyway, did you?  Leave a comment to join the garden party.
Today’s topic:

Today  I'm being even lazier than my usual Friday afternoon self; I'm in Telluride, Colorado, enjoying the annual Bluegrass Festival. Last night I listened to Alison Krauss while gazing at the Milky Way --- at an elevation of over 8,400 feet!

'll be back next week with photos from my high country adventure.  In the meantime, happy gardening!

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Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day . . .

. . . Sans Photos!

I've been patiently waiting to participate in this monthly event that celebrates what is currently in bloom in gardens around the world (created by Carol ---visit her blog, May Dreams Gardens, to link to more).  All winter and spring I could only sit back and wait, while drooling over pictures of lush, floriferous gardens in warmer climes.

Unfortunately, late last week my computer suffered a viral attack and is still in the repair shop. So, no photos.  The best I can do is give you a "preview list", and promise pictures in the future!

Now blooming in The Art Garden:

I hope you're enjoying long summer days amongst the flowers in your garden!

PS, the blog spammers have gotten pesky, so comment moderation has been enabled...sorry.

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Make the Most of that Garden Tour!

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Early summer means garden tour time! (Saturday, June 12th, I'll be attending The Enchanted Gardens Tour of Northwest Denver.) I've gone on many, many garden tours over the years and would like to share some tips on getting the most out of a garden tour:

The obvious:

1. Hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Sun exposure time can really sneak up on you, best to be prepared.

2. Water. Some sites provide cold drinks, others do not, and it's easy to get dehydrated.

3. Food. Time flies when you're having fun, so why waste it trying to track down some place to eat? Carry a light snack instead.

The practical:

1. Bring a good street map of the tour area. Tour maps are notoriously light on information and rarely to scale. A real map allows you to organize the tour sequence in a way that works best for you.

2. Park and walk. Often times several gardens are within a few blocks of each other - really no need to drive from site to site. Plus, you never know what you may discover along the way.

3. Better yet, ride your bike!

Extras that enhance your experience:

1. Bring a camera. I find that a camera makes me slow down and look at the details, even in a garden that doesn't capture my interest initially. Select a theme or two for your photographs for that day: flower portraits, container plantings, hardscape details (fences, arbors, retaining walls, etc), lifestyle/decorating ideas, etc., etc. It's always best to ask permission before taking photos --- especially of private spaces.

2. Plan to take a few notes. Plant names, plant combinations, a particular hardscape material (where to buy it!), color combinations, or the name of the designer/contractor will quickly fade from memory!

3. Garden tours can be a fun activity with a like-minded friend, spouse, or older (10+?) child, but large groups or very young children can make it difficult to stay focused on absorbing and learning from everything you see. (Know what your priorities are going into the activity.)

More Garden Tours to visit:

Saturday, June 19 - Jr. League of Fort Collins 28th Annual Garden Tour

Saturday, June 26th - 2010 Evergreen Garden Tour

Saturday, July 24th - Summit County Garden Club Annual Garden Tour

Did I miss anything?

Have fun!

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Friday Afternoon Garden Club 6.4.2010

Salvia argentea

It’s FAC time in The Art Garden! Grab your favorite beverage and pull up a chair. You didn’t really want to work this afternoon anyway, did you? Leave a comment to join the garden party. Today’s topic:

Silvery-gray, woolly plants like the silver sage, above, are some of my garden favorites. The neutral foliage color works well with both warm and cool flower hues, and can be a great visual unifier when used repeatedly throughout the landscape. This kind of foliage also offers winter interest; not truly evergreen, but certainly ever-present. What are some of your favorite gray leaved perennials?

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June 1st Gardens Update

Spring is in full force and all the hard work and planning from the previous months is truly paying off.

School Gardens

Students from a nearby school recently brought seedlings they started in their classroom to plant on our rooftop container garden.

Rooftop Garden

Fava beans are flowering on the roof!

Lettuce is harvestable!

Tomato seedlings are in! (Started in Carole's backyard greenhouse)

Cambie Square Communal Garden

New lovely signage care of Jodi Mayne!

We've got bees! Mason bees have moved in to our mason condo (thanks EYA!) you can see they've filled the holes with mud.

- marnie

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