Nature Drama in a Japanese Garden

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 7.45.49 AMHere’s the scenario.

This green heron sat very still, half hidden by a stone.  Inch-long fish wiggled very near in the pond but just out of reach of the bird.  The enterprising heron took wee bits of whatever it found on the stone, dropped them into the water and waited.

The found “lure” dropped into the pond rippled the surface. The heron watched. An unsuspecting fish swam to investigate and became lunch.

Did you know green herons use bait to catch fish?

This certainly wasn’t the highlight of Morakami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray, Florida, but it was a fascinating snippet of nature.

The botanical garden grounds are exquisitely manicured and there is a variety of different types of Japanese gardens including six historical gardens.

Much of the lake shoreline reminded me of the Adirondacks with its boulders and rocky ledges. I’m always considering, “What can I take home from this experience?”

In the Adirondacks, the landscape is wild. Here the wilderness was partially tamed through pruning and placement of pathways, wooden bridges, archways and bamboo fencing.

Mostly pruning considering the boulders are enormous and spans of rock ledge extend into the waters where turtles and koi eagerly put on a show.

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One of the many pleasures of the gardens is the carefully positioned benches set into the scene to give visitors a resting place with long views of expanded spaces and unfolding natural dramas.

There’s a lot to see including art exhibits. And, lunch here is a culinary delight. Check out the website: https://morikami.org

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Building Garden Structures with Sticks and Saplings

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 9.16.05 AMThis is my idea of fun.

Patrick Doughtery, a carpenter and sculpture, is creating a huge stick sculpture at the Mounts Botanical Garden in Palm Beach County, Florida from truckloads of saplings.

Dougherty, who is based in North Carolina,  has created his Stickwork projects in Scotland, Japan, Brussels and all over the United States, including Cincinnati’s Taft Museum of Art.

I’m looking at this and thinking…Hmm. Can we scale this down and make a sapling sculpture in a community garden? What would you create?

A tunnel for hanging gourds? A playhouse? A secret room?

Has anyone made one? If so, let me know about it please! And send pictures!

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New Opportunity: American Community Gardening Association Board Member

NatalieprtraitshotHi everyone,

I’ve got news.

I was recently elected to the board of directors of the American Community Gardening Association.

Their mission is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.

It is my hope to work with others sharing our knowledge to create an ever stronger network of community gardens from coast to coast.  During my cross-country trips, I saw first hand how connecting people and linking our collective know-how helped with important issues such as food security and growing healthy organic produce following sound environmental practices.

There are great folks who are doing wonderful work in community gardens, improving quality of life with opportunities for better nutrition, recreation, exercise, job training, therapy and education.

Launching the Pitney Meadows community gardens was great.  In two short years we brought so many ideas to fruition. The gardens flourished. And while all we accomplished is great, getting to know the community was even greater.

You are a wonderful group and I am proud to have been part of the success from the butterfly garden, grandmother’s garden, the food donated to the pantries, the incredible growth, the adult and children education programs, the fairy festivals, the sunflowers and so much more.

I cherish the friendships created and couldn’t imagine not having you as part of my future. Let’s keep in touch as we continue this good work.

Natalie Walsh

Happy Holidays

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Yesterday, a soft coating of fresh snow covered the farm. Now, we are really tucked in for the winter. The garden looks peaceful and serene.

As the garden rests, this gardener will be working on many writing and art projects, visiting family and catching up.

I will keep you posted. Please do the same. I’d love to hear from you.

See you in the Spring, Natalie

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Time to Tuck in the Garden Beds for the Winter

Tucked in.jpgIt was a chilly, drizzling morning Saturday, but still we got so much done in the gardens.

Thank you all who came out and worked cleaning beds.  We stayed busy and enjoyed the homemade onion soup made from our own onions, fried dough, cookies and turmeric tea.

With the frosty temperatures forecast this week, everyone should be clearing out the last of the warm loving vegetables: basil, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, eggplants. Harvest before the freezing temperatures.

Cool season veggies like carrots, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts do well when the weather gets nippy so – if you are a gardener in good standing – you can leave them for now.

Some gardens still need to be tended, but I trust it will be done by Oct. 22.

Our mandatory meeting is Oct. 24th at the Spring Street Gallery at 6 p.m. That is when you will be able to choose your garden beds for next season and hear about our plans for 2019.

See you in the gardens, Natalie

 

 

 

Great turnout at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens’ Fairy Gathering and Sunflower Measuring

Approximately 800 people visited the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens for the 2nd annual fall fairy gathering and measuring of the sunflowers. Many wore fairy attire and the garden was a flurry of fluttering fairies enjoying field games, live music, dance and an appearance by the fairy queen.Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 11.50.04 AM.png

 

Look What Kim Did!

 

Kim F. decorated this chair as a throne for the Fairy Queen who will arrive at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Fairy Gathering this Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Queen will lead children though the gardens weaving her tale sure to delight. She will be followed by Paula, our fairy dance mother, who will dance a fairy dance with everyone who wants to participate.

Surely the queen will love all the preparations the fairy godmothers have done. There will be flower fairy crowns, wings and wands available for purchase. And children will have many hand crafted houses on display.

Raffles of hand-made fairy houses and a centerpiece, a fairy doll, a fairy garden and fairy inspired art works and a beautiful scarf.

Festivities start at noon and run to three p.m.  There will be field games, more games, a food truck from Nine Miles East,  free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while supplies last and live music for all to enjoy.

The sunflowers in the sunflower contest will be measured at 2 p.m. and prizes awarded.

Come to the fairy gathering and be enchanted!

Pitney Meadows Community Farm is at 223 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Caterpillar Inspired?

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 6.38.31 AMI have a theory.

A Monarch caterpillar climbed up the cosmos and spotted the drawing of a chrysalis on the sign made by the students at the Waldorf School for the butterfly garden at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

Inspired, he thought, “I can do that.” And transformed from caterpillar to pupa right next to the sign. What do you think?

This is our fourth Monarch chrysalis in the garden’s certified Monarch way station which is brimming with flowers planted to support the lifecycle of the Monarch butterfly.

Sunflower Show at Spring Street Gallery

gallery1This evening, the Spring Street Gallery hosted a reception for a sunflower show to benefit Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

gallery2Approximately 40 works of art depicting the cheerful, exuberant sunflower were on display and attendance was strong.

Some of the art was created plein air in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, 223 West Avenue, where rows upon rows of sunflowers have been in bloom for the past month. And, many still are.

Come see.

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Thank you to Maureen Sager and Becky Zeh from the Spring Street Gallery for hosting this event.  Pictured above are images from the reception. The last photo is of Becky Zeh painting the Pitney Meadows Community Farm and a young admirer of her work.

Magical Houses on Exhibit at Fairy Gathering

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Next week, on September 22nd, more than two dozen fairy houses will be on exhibit at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Fairy Gathering and Sunflower Measuring.

Located at 223 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs, the day’s festivities start at noon and include fairy games, face painting, the measuring of the sunflowers in the sunflower contest, food trucks, field games and more.

Fairy attire welcome. We will also have wings, flower crowns and wands available for purchase. Come join in the fun on this magical day!

We hope to see you at the farm!