Every day is a day for discovery and learning but this was especially true on Saturday in Garland, Texas.  It was the day of the annual Live Well Go Green Health Expo.  It was the day of the Chinese Children’s Festival with it’s great legend of the Moon Fairy. it was the day members of Loving Garland Green tagged and released three Monarchs. It was also the day for the Urban Flea Market on our historic downtown square.

The day for Charlie and me ended at 8 PM with the discovery of a wonderful gourmet dessert place right here in Garland. It is located in a repurposed used car sales building.  I’ll write more detail about that fun adventure tomorrow.  For today I want to tell the long story of our community’s LIVE WELL GO GREEN 2017 EXPO.


Reading with Rodney


Reading with Rodney mobile Library – was in the Curtis Culwell Parking Lot - September 23, 2017

Rodney Mills, a Curtis Culwell Center Operations Specialist, inspired this mobile library.  Rodney overcame a personal struggle with reading thanks to two Garland teachers.  Reading with Rodney aims to help district students discover Mills’ same passion for learning.  For Rodney’s full story and also to obtain that latest schedule of where the Rodney bus will be, visit this page on the Garland ISD site:   

Inside the Rodney Bus


The bus is complete with a librarian to assist visitors in selecting and finding books.  Many of the books in the bus were purchased through a grant. 

For ongoing maintenance and addition of books, contact Richelle O’Neil, Library and Media Services Coordinator to see how you or your organization might help.  Richelle’s contact information:  972-494-8230 –

Tell Richelle that Liz sent you.


Garland Parks and Recreation Department were well represented.


 Two fellows from the Garland Parks and Recreation Department standing behind plants they help to grow in greenhouses and then plant to beautify our roadways, Garland parks and downtown area.

Not everyone knows this, but about 99% of all the beautiful flowers and grasses we see around our City were grown from seed by members of our Garland Parks and Recreation Department.  They are a great bunch of folks.  I was happy to see them out in full force for this great green event.  Led by Parks and Recreation Director, Jermel Stevenson, they do more than any group I know of in Garland to keep it green—literally. 


Amanda, Jackie Justice and a Garland Parks and Recreation Staff member pose with copies of their Garland PLAY GUIDE magazine

Not only does our Garland Parks and Recreation staff help to keep Garland Green, they also work hard to ensure that we have fun using all the beautiful spaces they maintain.  Jackie, featured in the middle of the photo above is the Special Events and Marketing Coordinator for the City of Garland | Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts.  To help get the word out they publish PLAY, a quarterly magazine with schedules of events in Garland planned for that quarter. 


Members from the Garland Parks and Recreation Department shown with irrigation drip tubing

In case you don’t know, drip irrigation is the most efficient way to water your plants as it gets the water directly to the plants with almost zero lost to evaporation—thus it saves money and water.  I chatted with these fellows as we are almost finished with building grids for drip irrigation at the Garland Community Garden.  I asked if they had any issues with it.  The only issue they have is that in some places rats will chew through the tubing.  They’ve studied the problem, however and discovered the rats chew through where the emitter holes are—thus they are doing this to get a drink of water.  I’m hoping we won’t have that issue at the Garland Community Garden due to our proximity to the creek.  I can only hope that our rats who live in the nearby woods are not too lazy to amble down to the creek for their water.


Inside the Center, I’m sorry to say that I didn’t have time to visit any of the booths on the ground level or the level above that.  However I do know that among the many things offered were flu shots and blood pressure readings.

On the arena level, I did manage to visit several of those booths but of course, most of my time I spent at the Loving Garland Green booths.  Like many of the organizations at these booths, we made a 10-minute presentation at 10 AM, 11 AM and Noon. 




Gene Rodgers of Loving Garland Green led the first presentation on How to Regrow Vegetables.

I know, it looks like Gene, a fisherman, is telling one of his fish stories but he is actually talking to a group of folks who came to learn how to get twice as much from the produce you purchase in the store by re-growing some of your vegetables.  His presentation was interesting and lively and Gene was very patient in answering all the questions raised by his audience.  Like both of our other presentations, visitors who drifted by throughout the morning asked about how to regrow vegetables.


Jane Stroud, President of Loving Garland Green, is talking to a group of students about the metamorphosis of the Monarch.  To the right is the blue mesh condo in which we had a live Monarch butterfly that eclosed the day before.

Jane led the 11AM presentation on the topic of Monarchs and Pollinators.  Not only was her presentation well attended, people such as the group of students shown in the photo above drifted by throughout the morning to ask about Monarchs.  A special thanks to Burgi, a member of Loving Garland Green’s board who brought a live monarch to share with Garland.  We also had a Monarch egg, a caterpillar and a pupa to illustrate all four stages of the metamorphosis.

At noon I presented on Loofahs—How to grow them, their commercial value, and what to do with them.  There is an old expression:  “We teach what we need to learn.”  It held true for me when preparing for my presentation.  People have said to me before that they would not use a loofah because it harbors bacteria after use.  I never knew how to answer that.  Now I do:  “Rinse the loofah under the faucet so it’s wet.  Stick the wet loofah in the microwave for 4 minutes and 99% of all the bacteria will be destroyed. “   I prepared a handout that included a study done at the University of Florida to substantiate this. 

To help support our Mayor and his Mayor’s Monarch Pledge we featured a monarch face sign and encouraged visitors to stop by and have their photo taken as a Monarch and then send a copy to the Mayor and tell him how much they were enjoying the Live Well Go Green Event.  Below are a couple of my favorites.  I hope he received many photos.

This young student was also participating in a recycling contest sponsored by Garland’s Environmental Waste Services Department whereby students were challenged to make clothing to wear out of recyclable items such as paper, plastic, cans, etc.  If you visit the LGG Facebook, there is a photo of him and you can see the complete outfit.


Delores Elder Jones as a Monarch




Visitors to the North Texas Municipal water district had the opportunity to sign up for weekly notices to assist them with watering.  Featured in the photo above include my friends Carol Garrison in the middle and Daniel Bell in the back. Sorry I don’t remember the name of the beautiful woman in front who was also one of the stewards of this great booth.




In addition to all the various great City of Garland Departments and nonprofits, this event also featured booths by many of our local businesses.  For example, Roach Feed and Seed were there.  I stopped by their booth briefly to play with the chickens.  As usual they had an interesting display that in addition to the chickens featured goat milk soap for sale.


Another local Garland business featured was Dependable Care, a home health care provider.  Choosing a local business for just about any service is preferable to me.  If things don’t go as I expect, or if I simply have a question, I’m not forced to sometimes spend hours trying to find the right person to talk to.  More often than not, there is a direct line to the owner.  Dependable care has a gold seal of approval.  


Delores Elder-Jones was one of the representatives at the Dependable Care Home Health Services booth.  This is a locally owned Garland Business.

We  gave away 164 bars of handmade goat milk and shea butter soap and 200 packets of locally sourced seeds from our gardens.  Our day closed outwith the raffle for a lovely basket of fresh Garland garden produce designed and arranged by Margie Rodgers, one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green.


Monarch Tagging Event in the Garland Community Garden

The day of living green activities didn’t stop at 1PM when the event was over.  Several members of Loving Garland Green went from the Culwell Center down the road to the Garland Community Garden at 4022 Naaman School Road to tag and release Burgi’s Monarch butterfly.  Kim Thiehoff and her son whom we met at the Live Well Go Green event came with us.

Kim is interested in getting a group of neighbors together to build a neighborhood garden on some City-owned property near the South Garland Branch Library 4845 Broadway Blvd, Garland, TX 75043.  If you live in this area and/or would like to be part of this project, call Kim at 469-583-3901.


Charlie shows Kim Thiehoff and her son the tagged Monarch – Garland Community Garden September 23, 2017


More Monarch Tagging Back Home

I thought we were done with Monarchs for the day when Jane came home with me to pick up Monarch caterpillars, now pupas, that Charlie and I had been baby sitting for her for the past few days.  But, low and behold, two of them had eclosed.  We tagged and released these two.


One of the two monarchs rested in Jane’s hand prior to flying away. – September 23, 2017


As mentioned there was one final event that closed out the perfect day in local Garland, but I’ll write about that adventure tomorrow.

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