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GARDENS BRING NEIGHBORS TOGETHER!

Gardens offer communities infinite opportunities:  job creation, healthier living, a chance to get to know your neighbors better, good food, happy memories, a learning format for you and your children and much more.

Jaycie, my neighbor and blackberry picker partner.  Jaycie loves blackberries so she picks on the half for me.

 It's Blackberry Time in Garland, Texas!

May has been a busy month for me. I've been so busy with extra curricular activities in my life that my own yard fell into sore neglect.  Two days ago, with the assistance of two of my great neighbors, I got it whipped back into shape. While working in the front yard, I happened to notice blackberries on my front two bushes were ready for picking.  Jaycie and I picked and weighed four pounds of blackberries on Wednesday, May 25--the first of the season from my garden. I like to weigh and record each picking and then brag about the total poundage at the end of the season which usually comes the end of June/first week of July.  Gardens are filled with opportunities to teach our children. For example, Jaycie had the opportunity to weigh the blackberries on a food scale and then divide them into three equal portions: one for Jaycie and her mother; one for Margie and Gene; an one for me and Charlie.

Last night Margie, Jaycie's grandmother who lives across the street, invited me over in the evening for some blackberry cobbler in her backyard.  The cobbler was made from berries that came from my garden.  By the way, speaking of gardens, Margie's looks great.  The most remarkable plant in her back yard is an olive tree.  The tree is in a pot and is just under three feet tall--but it is filled with olives.  There are easily 100 olives on that small tree.  Oh yes, the cobbler was wonderful.  Get to know your neighbors!  That's the best advice I can give.  Then you might get some free blackberry cobbler in May or June.

SPEAKING OF NEIGHBOR'S GARDENS . . .

GET A LOOK AT CHARLIE'S CHERRY TOMATO PLANTS

Charlie's Cherry Tomatoes -- The fence behind them is 8 feet tall. These plants have pounds and pounds of green tomatoes.  Already we've eaten a few of them.  (Photo taken May

The plants on the left he started from seeds, given to him by one of Loving Garland Green members, Nancy Seaberg back in March. In Garland, neighbors share. The plants on the right were purchased at Garland's great locally-owned nursery, Rohdes. They were tiny plants in 2 1/2 inch pots that Charlie purchased for 79 cents a plant.  Your best and cheapest tomato plants will come from a local nursery--not from a big box store that carries Bonnie Plants for $3.78 a plant.  Don't be lazy, seek out a local nursery and you'll see what I mean. Not only will you get better quality plants, they will be cheaper.

Life Goes On in My Garden--With or without Me

My blackberries ripen and my artichoke goes to flower before I have the time to harvest it.  

THE MAGICAL GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN IS MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN EVER!

Like our local community, the Garland Community Garden is a patchwork of diversity--we planned it that way.  There is beauty in the symmetrical layout of gardens with their raised beds, encased in wooden borders equidistant, one from the other.  We can appreciate the precision and orderliness of it all.  However, homogeneity can quickly become a tiresome affair.  Besides, homogeneity is a standard that few can consistently apply to their lives.  To expect it is to invite disappointment. 

If it's diversity you seek, you won't be disappointed when you visit the Garland Community Garden. We intentionally have plants growing in all kinds of beds--from square foot gardens to hugelkulturs; and in all kinds of containers--from 55 gallon food-grade barrels to IBC totes. Like life, our garden does not contain many right angles.

One of the reasons I was so excited to assist in building a hugelkultur for the Watson schoolyard garden this week was the opportunity the hugelkultur offers to demonstrate to the students that looks can sometimes be deceiving.  At first appearance, the hugelkultur appears messy--especially when compared to their lovely raised beds that are encased in wood and are all neatly lined up.  However the hugelkultur is eco-friendly while the other beds are not.  The hugelkultur follows closely with permaculture ethics by setting up a micro-eco system that is self-sustaining. After a year, the plants in the hugelkultur, except in cases of extreme drought, will never need watering.  On the other hand, the plants in the raised bed will need watering at least once a week.  

  

Last year we cut a 55-gallon food grade barrel in half and planted Hops rhizomes in them.  We inserted bamboo poles for the bines to climb.  This year the hops (Cascade variety) came back. (Photo May 2016)

"Pollinator Heaven" - A new garden plot added this spring.  It is filled with native plants--all beloved by pollinators. Among the native plants, we have about 25 native milkweeds growing in this plot.  Sunflowers form its back border.

 

We are proud of this sign in our Butterfly Garden (which also was a new addition this spring).  This sign shows the names and photos of all the common butterflies in the North Texas area.  Thus, if you are visiting the garden and see a butterfly that you don't recognize, take a photo of it with your phone and then see if you can locate it on our sign.  Please be sure to contact us on our site Lovinggarlandgreen.org and share with us.  We are the official stewards of the Garland Community Garden.

 

We have organic, stringless green beans--pole and bush varieties growing all over the garden.  The trellis shown in the photo was handmade with bamboo poles and twine. (Photo taken May 20, 2016)

In addition to the green beans, we have all kinds of fruits, vegetables and herbs growing in the garden:  watermelon, cantaloupe, sweet asian melons, pigeon peas, tomatoes, peanuts, Romanian cucumbers, blackberries, loofah, tarragon, rosemary, mint of many varieties, Malabar spinach, basil of many varieties, sweet potatoes, eggplant, horehound, hops, oregano of many varieties, chamomile, borage, comfrey, kale, and more.

Our garden is open to visitors 24/7 from sunup to sundown. Unlike many community gardens we are located right beside a main thoroughfare and we have no fences.  We are located at 4022 Naaman School Road in Garland Texas 75040. The land is owned by the city and the garden area is stewarded by Loving Garland Green.

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