Yes indeed!  It takes a community to make a community garden--that and lots of persistence. 

Our anniversary celebration was a success!  We had volunteers from Keep Garland Beautiful outreach there to assist us and Neighborhood Vitality sent some very nice giveaways for our freebie table. Councilman Robert John Smith, a long-time loyal supporter of our garden  stopped by to congratulate us.  Scott Bollinger Garland Neighborhood Resources Manager came down for a tour.  We look forward to working with Scott as well as with Matt Grubisich, Director, Parks Operations & Maintenance at City of Garland, TX

Long-Time important Garland Community Garden Supporter, Councilman Robert John Smith (8th District). 


Scott Bollinger, Garland Neighborhood Resources Manager at the Medicine Wheel.

Many old friends stopped by.  Among them was Linsey Gilbert, School Nurse at Parkcrest Elementary School here in Garland.  If you have a chance stop by and see their beautiful school garden--one of the prettiest in Dallas County located at 2232 Parkcrest Drive, Garland TX. Linsey is the one who coordinated the development of this lovely garden.   She brought her sweet little doggie with her.  You may not know this, but dogs are welcome at the garden as long as they are on a leash and the owner pick up after them.

Linsey Gilbert, School Nurse and School Garden Innovator at Parkcrest Elementary School Garland Texas relaxing in the shade of an old native pecan tree at the Garden.

Speaking of Linsey and Parkcrest reminds me of Reba.  Reba Collins was one of the members of the outreach team from Keep Garland Beautiful who assisted us.  Reba is a certified Master Naturalist who designed the pollinator garden for Parkcrest Elementary.  Members of Loving Garland Green also worked on the school garden project at Parkcrest.  We assisted in the design and planting of the vegetables.

Reba Collins - Keep Garland Beautiful

Reba Collins, Master Naturalist was there from Keep Garland Beautiful to help us out.  In addition to Reba, the Keep Garland Beautiful community outreach team for our event included Ken Risser, Daniel Segert and  Darla Meek.  Keep Garland Beautiful is committed to educating & engaging individuals to take responsibility for improving their community environment. Since their inception as a nonprofit, they have collected 873,779 pounds of litter and installed eight pollinator gardens--a great volunteer organization to join as they do so much for our community.

And of course, a garden party would not be a party without children.  Here are two youngsters taking advantage of the freebies at the Neighborhood Vitality table.


Children's enthusiasm for Gardens is boundless. 

Jack is a special garden boy.  He was born on Earth Day, April 22--eleven years ago. Year before last he planted a Celebrity tomato in this pot.  This year he returned to plant another.

Jackie and his Celebrity Tomato 

No, they are not looking for Waldo.  They are looking on the leaves of common milkweed at the garden for Monarch caterpillars. Four were found. They have been rescued and are now in my living room in containers with milkweed.  In the wild it is estimated that only 5% of Monarch caterpillars make it to adulthood.  When rescued, the odds are much better!  We only lose about 5% of them.  Members of Loving Garland Green have been rescuing caterpillars and tagging Monarchs for five years.  The Garland Community Garden is a certified National Wildlife Habitat:  Garland Community Garden No. 198,434.


Angelica (in the foreground) is searching for Caterpillars with Nancy, one of our faithful Loving Garland Green members. Nancy is our resident expert on herbs.


We made new friends too.  That's the thing about gardens:  You can meet and make all kind of new friends.  Juan and Sandra from Mesquite who read about us in the Mesquite paper were among our first time visitors to the garden.  I'm sure they will be back.

Juan and Sandra -First time visitors to the Garden but they will return.


A special thank-you to Jane Stroud who has been our president since 2017 and Secretary of the Board before that.  Jane is still very active in Loving Garland Green.  We could never have put together our Anniversary celebration without all her hard work.



Will there be a Monarch in the Garden today?  You'll never know if you don't come on down!

It may be a little soggy until 10:30 AM But we will be celebrating in the Garden as Planned!

Here in Texas things always dry up in a big hurry.  By 10:30, the grass will all be dry and by noon the ground should be hard as a rock.

Hope to see you in the garden.  But if you can't make it today, you can visit the garden any day of the week as we are open to the public.

Come on down!

Visit our website at






I’m inspired!  I got up at 5AM this morning and spent 2 hours and 30 minutes going over Loving Garland Green Literature from the past 7 years.  There is a lot of it!  And the good news is that we will be sharing it with you tomorrow, April 24th at the Garland Community Garden.  For the benefit of all, we suggest you wear a mask.

Among other things we will have a table featuring all kinds of FREE Literature on gardening and on gardening related topics such as  water conservation. Later in the afternoon Reba Collins from Keep Garland Beautiful will be stopping by to answer questions.  Reba is a Master Naturalist and has installed beautiful pollinator gardens all over Garland.  Many other talented Garland citizens will also be dropping by.

One of our features will be a garden book table.  I’m inviting members to donate books they want to share. These books will be limited to one per person.  We hope to see you there!  It’s going to be a beautiful day!





In 2020, Due to Covid-19 we never held the plant sale.


Jane Stroud, officer of Loving Garland Green Board of Directors multitasking in the garden:  watering and vacuuming bugs.

At the Crossroads of Sustainable and Practical with Loving Garland Green

FROM spring of 2015:

This morning I got an interesting email from Jane Stroud, an officer on the Board of Directors for Loving Garland Green:

New idea!
I'm invaded with cucumber beetles. I saw on Internet you could vacuum with cordless vac and dump them in soapy water. I tried it this afternoon and you can suck them out of the air in flight. Done!  Gonna try this tomorrow morning when I water with Marie. Should work! Bringing a bucket of soapy water to test it in.  

This morning I went down to the garden to see Jane in action with her cordless vacuum and container of soapy water.  Yes, she was successfully vacuuming up squash bugs.  The process definitely works.

But is vacuuming squash bugs sustainable?  Strictly speaking, the answer is likely "no."

Environmental sustainability refers to the rates of renewable resource harvest, pollution creation, and non-renewable resource depletion that can be continued indefinitely. If they cannot be continued indefinitely then they are not sustainable.  Unless the vacuum is solar-powered, its use to suck up the bugs is not sustainable.



I’ve done considerable research and I can find no information on any beneficial aspect of the squash bug.  If you know of any, please educate me.  Generally speaking all creatures have a reason for being--even humans.


Injury is limited to squash, pumpkin, melon, and other plants in the cucurbit family. Adults and nymphs cause damage by sucking plant juices. Leaves lose nutrients and water and become speckled, later turning yellow to brown. Small plants can be killed completely, while larger cucurbits begin to lose runners. The wilting resembles bacterial wilt, which is a disease spread by another pest of squash, the cucumber beetle. The wilting caused by squash bugs is not a true disease. Squash bugs may feed on developing fruits, causing scarring and death of young fruit.


In spring, search for squash bugs hidden under debris, near buildings and in perennial plants in the garden. Inspect young plants daily for signs of egg masses, mating adults, or wilting. Place wooden boards throughout the garden and check under them every morning.  Then destroy any squash bugs found.

Cultural Practices

The best method for control is prevention through sanitation. Remove old cucurbit plants after harvest. Keep the garden free from rubbish and debris that can provide overwintering sites for squash bugs.

At the end of the gardening season, compost all vegetation or thoroughly till it under. Handpick or vacuum any bugs found under wooden boards. During the growing season, pick off and destroy egg masses as soon as you see them. Use protective covers such as plant cages or row covers in gardens where squash bugs have been a problem in the past and remove covers at bloom to allow for pollination.


Using a trellis for vining types of squash and melons can make them less vulnerable to squash bug infestation. [We are definitely going to 1) plant squash in new places next year and 2) trellis them  [at the least they will be easier to vacuum than vines on the ground].

Resistant Varieties

Some squash varieties, including Butternut, Royal Acorn, and Sweet Cheese, are more resistant to squash bugs.  [We may decide to go this route as well as we did get a few butternut squash this year.]

Biological Control

The parasitic tachinid fly Trichopodna pennipes, which lays its eggs on squash bugs, may be found in some gardens. Look for the eggs of this parasite on undersides of squash bugs.   [I'm very leery of introducing non-native insects into our local environment.  In fact, I don't do it.  Often this ends up drastically upsetting the balance of nature in the environment and you end up trading one problem for another.  We've seen this in many places in the USA with the introduction of various non-native species of dragonflies as mosquito controllers.]

Chemical Control has been found to be ineffective in the management and control of the squash bug.

[Information and photo on squash bug courtesy University of California Agriculture Department.]


Permaculture Principle 11:  Use Edges and Value the Marginal


When we founded Loving Garland Green in October of 2013, we set the permaculture principles as our ideals to aim for as stewards of the Garland Community Garden.  As such, we use no pesticides other than insect soap down at the garden. We also have an agreement with the City that they will not use pesticides or herbicides on their property that directly adjoins the garden.

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly using the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.

Membership in Loving Garland Green for most of us includes following the 12 principles of permaculture.   You can find them on our website at

The eleventh principle is one that is not always readily understood and more than once I’ve explained it to people because it is an important principle to observe in nature.  We can learn from our observations and then to use this knowledge as leverage to bring changes that conserve energy and maximize existing potential.  

Permaculture Principle 11:  Use Edges and Value the Marginal

As a culture we rarely use or even think of edges as any more than boundaries that separate different parts or areas.  As for “valuing the marginal”—more often than not, we view marginal as unstable and dangerous and run from it at full throttle.

David Holmgren, one of the co-founders of permaculture as a discipline is often quoted as saying:  “Don’t think you are on the right path just because you have plenty of company.”  That statement is a good principle in and of itself (even if it is not specifically one of the 12 permaculture principles).  And yes, almost the entire world can be wrong and historically have been more than once.  We all need to remember that. Ignorance can often manifest and spread like weeds to the far corners of the earth. The number does not increase the value of the weed.  If anything, it only makes it more noxious.

In nature, the place where two eco-systems or habitats meet (e.g. woodland and meadow) is generally more productive and richer in the variety of species present than either habitat on its own. In ecology this space is called 'ecotone'.

This observation of nature is central to the idea of using edges as a design method. The logic is simple. If the most productive bit of woodland is the edge, then design it to have a bigger edge.  Makerspaces that I've written about lately can be considered as putting permaculture principle 11 into action.  The makerspace is a way to widen the narrow edge occupied by skilled workers through the creation of spaces that make their tools and expertise available for teaching others.  The unskilled workers bring their own life experiences to this edge or space and thus new ways to use the tools and new possibilities for creation of new objects emerge from the merging of these two different worlds of the teacher and the student.

Intuitively, at least, we show some propensity to use edges and value the marginal.  For example, many people in the world desire to live near or on the edge where the water meets the land—lakefront properties, beach properties, and riverfront properties.  That we value such edges is reflected in the prices that we are willing to pay for these edge properties.

But it is peculiar how we can have such an understanding at one level that indicates a deeper understanding of the underlying principle and then turn around and totally disregard the principle in other applications. 

No better example of this than the way we have laid out our streets—particularly in residential areas.  If anything, the grid pattern which most residential developments follow totally ignores the edge and how it could be used to enhance the quality of any residential development and the lives of the people who live there. 


YOU HAVE MANY CHOICES:  here are a few:

The sap from Philodendron can irritate your skin and mouth, resulting in throat swelling, breathing difficulties, burning pain, and stomach upset.  Ingesting the flower, leaf or stem of an Azalea could lead to abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, paralysis, coma, and even death.  Hydrangea blossoms contain cyanide.   

Oleander is very toxic as it contains cardiac glycosides (cardenolides) found in all parts of the plant.  Just one leaf can harm a child.  Munching on the bulb of a daffodil can cause convulsions, tremors, and cardiac arrhythmia.  Lilly of the Valley--a favorite for bridal bouquets but ingesting these flowers which, like Oleander, contain cardiac glycosides can lead to death. 

Lilies, a favorite for funeral wreaths and also Tiger Lilies and Day Lilies can all cause acute kidney failure by just eating a small amount of these plants.  Dieffenbachia, also known as “elephant ear” can become deadly if ingested, causing the airways to swell shut. Even brushing against it can cause burning or itching.

Datura, also called Moonflower and Angel Trumpet has a lovely sweet  honeysuckle/star jasmine scent.  A member of the nightshade family, it also goes by other less flattering nomenclature such as “Hells Bells” and Jimsonweed.  The beautiful white flowers of the Datura only open up at night, hence the name Moonflower. 

The seeds from this plant have been ingested by indigenous people in temperate zones all over the word for centuries  to induce hallucinations and visions for spiritual ceremonies--but not without consequences as many of them died.  They also smoke the leaves. But that’s the main problem I have with most folk medicines and cures:  you never can be for certain how much is enough.  It’s all about the recommended dosage.  But the real kicker is that one can never know until it is too late. 

The Zuni people once used datura as an analgesic to render patients unconscious while broken bones were set.  Because of this use, I’ve considered planting Datura in the Medicine Wheel at the Garland Community Garden. No doubt many of the ancient medicine wheels all over the Southwest had Datura. But I’ve decided against it once again this year--even though I have 36 seedlings and I have planted six in my yard at home.  I love them for the flower and wonderful scent.


Central Texas Gardener had this to say about Datura: 

The most common way to get this plant is by having a friend share some seed with you. Once the flower has been pollinated, a very large, spiky seed head forms, containing hundreds of seeds. If you don’t collect those seed heads before they burst, you’ll find lots of Datura seedlings coming up all over the place next year, although the plant really isn’t invasive and the seedlings shouldn’t escape too far.

Most likely it will reestablish from seed, so be sure to collect and save some so that you can plant them where you want them next year, and give some to jealous friends.

Datura only gets about 2 feet tall, but may spread very wide, up to 10 feet, especially if it’s getting plenty of water. It doesn’t need much water at all and prefers well-drained, coarse soil, but if given a little supplemental irrigation, it will get a bit larger and flower more prolifically.

Datura needs full sun to grow and produce those gorgeous white blooms, which usually start to show in late May or early June and cover the plant all summer long. Be very careful when handling this plant. All parts of it are poisonous if ingested. Some people are allergic and have a reaction when touching its fuzzy gray-green foliage.

Datura is a great plant for xeriscaped areas in your garden, and requires very little care or attention to be beautiful all summer long, even in the extreme heat.”




[RAINCHECK  date is Sunday April 25th 1 to  5 pm]

We will require masks at this event.


“Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Early data show the vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.

We’re also still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people.

For these reasons, even people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recovered from COVID-19 should keep taking precautions in public places, until we know more, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often.”


We have scheduled this event as a come-and-go event from 9pm to 5pm.  We don’t anticipate any more than 30 people (if that) to be present at any one time in the garden and we ask all to social distance at 6 feet or more.   


We will have three tables (each well-separated in the garden):  One will have free plants.  If you are a gardener and have extra seedlings to share, we invite you to bring them to share with others.  One table will have literature from the City of Garland and from various Garden clubs in Garland who want to participate.   One table will feature bottled water and our guest book.


Below is a photo of the second bed we installed at the garden.  Talk about faith: We began installing beds before we even had water at the garden.  For the first month we hauled it there in five-gallon buckets from our homes.

Pin on Pinterest

Bamboo: It’s A Grass and it’s all over Garland, Texas!
and you can find it at the Garland Community Garden.

Lots of surprises and things to learn in our Community Garden--about plants and other cultures in our community too!  Be sure and stop by the Garland Community Garden April 24 from 9AM to 5PM.  We are celebrating our 7th Anniversary.

Bamboo belongs to the grass family Poaceae. The long straight stalks of this giant grass can reach up to 100 feet tall depending on the species. Bamboo in more temperate climates is usually less than half that size, but tropical bamboos can reach staggering heights. The stalks are jointed and hollow, often growing in thick stands.

The above-ground portion of bamboo is called the culm (Latin for stalk is culmus). It consists of the main stem, leaves and inflorescence. The sections of the main stalk are broken down into culms and interculms, commonly described as nodes and internodes. These internodes are hollow, and the nodes are solid. These hollow sections of stalk between the nodes are normally airtight and have many uses.  NOTE:  Because they are airtight, one should not throw bamboo on a campfire as it can explode.

Most of the bamboo in Garland spreads by a rhizome root system and thus can be invasive.  Thus, it requires sensible management.There are two types of bamboo root systems; clumping and running. Running bamboo spreads by rhizomes and can be invasive.  We have bamboo growing all over Garland--particularly in areas near our creeks.  Bamboo has hundreds, perhaps thousands of uses.  In the 1880s when the USA was still a plant-based and not petroleum-based economy, Thomas Edison fired up a factory for making filaments for his light bulbs using black bamboo for filaments.


Yes, bamboo is edible.  I got this education from members or our Asian community 6 years ago in the spring of our second year of the garden. People began to arrive and ask me if they could harvest the bamboo shoots. 

Unlike tropical climates, the season for eating young shoots in most of the United States is limited to spring, because the closer to the equator one gets, bamboo send up shoots nearly year-round. Even so, for such an important vegetable staple in other parts of the world, I’m amazed it’s not a big commercially produced vegetable here in the United States.


Just one cup of shoots, after boiling, has cellulose, fiber, trace minerals, amino acids, 1.84 kcal of energy, 1.84 g of protein, 2.3 g of carbohydrates, fats (saturated, unsaturated, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), 14 mg of calcium, 0.29 mg iron, 4 mg magnesium, 24 mg phosphorus, 640 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 0.56mg zinc, 0.024 mg thiamin, 0.060 mg riboflavin, 2 mg folate and various other vitamins. Like most vegetables, many vitamins and nutrients are cooked out when boiling, therefore finding or growing species that are safe eaten raw is beneficial. (Bamboo is not one of them. It needs to be cooked because of its slight toxicity.  My Asian friends tell me that boiling for 20 minutes does the trick.)

Bamboo is an important forage crop around the world for various animals, both wild and domesticated. Almost 100 percent of the giant panda’s diet consists of bamboo. Gorillas, elephants, rats and chimps also eat bamboo. We could feed some of the animals in the zoos around Garland in the spring with all the bamboo we have growing wild in our city. 

Yes, bamboo can only be harvested in the spring here in Garland, but it can be preserved and enjoyed year-round. 

If you want to preserve bamboo shoots, as many people do worldwide, there are various methods such as: fermentation alone or fermentation and then dehydration; pickled; salted; seeds or sap made into beer or wine; and bamboo rice (bamboo seeds) or white rice infused with bamboo extract.  Bamboo helps sustain millions of people worldwide with food, shelter and various other uses.

Bamboo is harvested just as the tips of new growth are poking up about six inches from the ground.  Using a sharp knife, the harvester cuts off close to the ground.  After taking it home, the tough sheath is peeled off, revealing a yellowish white inner layer.  This inner layer is then prepared by boiling for eating or preserving for eating later.



I don’t recommend it in Garland, just yet.  In order for a grove to be safe for the public, it needs to have wide paths cleared for walking and I would recommend some sort of snake repellent for the area.  But being inside a bamboo forest is a wonderful feeling. It’s a feeling of being wrapped in the blanket of nature.  I’ve been in the ones in Vietnam and I’ve also been in the one at the Garland Community Garden.  For our local garden I wore safety glasses and boots (for snakes and stubble).  Unprepared groves are not safe for the general public as your eyes could get scratched by the leaves and you might come across a copperhead here in Garland.



All day Saturday April 24 we will be celebrating our 7th year Anniversary! We haven't decided exactly what events we will have. Although a Girl Scout troop will bring rocks they have painted to place in a special part of our garden. The public is welcome to come and go--even if no one is in the garden. We will have a guest book for people to sign and let us know what the garden may mean to you. So many of our citizens come and go in the garden that members of Loving Garland Green don't even know who they all are.


A couple of years ago I went down to the garden to work and there was a young woman pulling up weeds in a bed. I didn't know her so I went up and introduced myself. I could see she had been crying. She apologized and said that she hoped it was OK for her to pull weeds. Her grandmother who lived out of state had died that morning and she was a gardener. The women had fond childhood memories of her and felt closer to her down at the garden that morning pulling weeks.


The garden is a very informal and special place. You don't have to be a gardener to enjoy it. We have chairs scattered throughout and a picnic table. Everyone is welcome. We share 50% of our produce with local food banks.


To give another example of how/why we have no idea of all the people who enjoy this garden, yesterday a man came down with his compost for the week. I had never seen him before. For almost three years on Saturday or Sunday he has been donating his vegan leftovers for our compost. Yet I was meeting him for the first time.


I hope you'll drop by on April 24th.



This photo was taken on April 2, 2021.  In six years I don't remember blooms appearing before the first week in May.  I can see I need to add some iron to the soil as the leaves are yellow.