Girl Scout Artist’s work on T-Shirt

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 8.07.44 PM.pngMae Austin’s sunflower drawing took first place in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens art show and one of her prizes was having her art work printed on a T-shirt.

Last night, at the Girl Scout leaders meeting, Mae, who is seven-years-old, received her T-shirt.  She was very happy.  It was her first art show, she said.

Her mother, Kim, said Mae was a very good artist.  We can agree. Pictured above is Mae with her mother and the winning design.

Advertisements

There’s Something Magical in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens

verygood

It started simply with an enchanting idea meant to engage children in the Pitney Meadows community gardens.

Why not a fairy garden, an outdoor dollhouse of sorts where buildings were made of materials found in nature such as acorns and shells, with flowering plants that needed tending, and where one’s imagination – and joy in gardening – could take root.

Fortunately, Jess Clauser, a Girl Scout troop leader at Dorothy Nolan school and a PM community gardener, agreed and created a fairy garden in one of the garden’s raised beds, an 8×4 plot, that exceeded all expectations. Her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, a creative force in and of herself, helped her mother in dozens of ways.

Fairy gardens are not a new idea. They have been around since the 1890s and became popular during the Chicago World’s Fair when bonsai dish gardens were introduced and the idea of magical residents captured people’s imaginations.

Jess, however, carried it to new heights and made it art.

To create her spellbinding space, Clauser brought in logs with mushrooms attached, slices of branches and cultivated little landscapes. She created delightful dwellings, alluring houses, and magical elements like reindeer moss, which, according to fairy lore, can grant wishes. There is a clothesline where the fairies hung their outfits to dry, mini terra cotta pots filled with succulents, swing sets, bridges and tiny lounge chairs, where butterflies have stopped to rest. These accessories made the space looked lived in.

Needless to say, the plot drew (and continues to draw) visitors and gardeners every day as they looked for signs of what the fairies are up to. Clauser, an artist, maintains she has nothing to do with the daily changes. “It’s the fairies,” she says with a wink and a smile.

And apparently, there might be some truth to that as occasionally “gifts” are found and little notes are left that read “from your fairy godmother.” The gifts are little trinkets, including a birdbath sized for the fairies, sparkling glass candy, a bowl of colorful ornaments and a tiny cooking pot.

pineshinglesIf you haven’t come to see the fairy garden, please do. And, stop to see the larger fairy village located in the flower border on the northern edge of the community gardens where the wide pathway ends and the field begins. The border measures 30 feet by 6 feet and has a flourishing row of colorful zinnias, cosmos, bachelor buttons, poppies, sunflowers and more.

It was big enough for a fairy village of about 20 houses the Girl Scouts decorated with natural materials: twigs, acorns, shells, moss and pebbles. The 7 to 10-year-olds worked steadily to make the areas around their houses “fairy friendly” with little patios, mini gardens of their own and in one case, a firepit and tiny Adirondack chairs.

According to legend, fairies have the power to bring happiness. Considering all the smiles I’ve seen on the faces of adults and children as they explore what is in this little village, I think the legend’s true.

The fairy garden will be on exhibit weekends until October 8th, which is the Pitney Meadows Community Farm’s Family Fun Day from 1 to 5 p.m.

And bring a camera, children or your own sense of wonder. You won’t want to miss this.

sweet

 

 

 

Sunflower Contest Results, Fairy Garden, and Art Show in the Gardens

 

Wondering who won the Grow the Tallest Sunflower Contest?

It was three-year-old Carter M. with a Mammoth sunflower the reached a height of 95 and one-quarter inches. Congratulations, Carter, who can be seen above wearing a striped shirt.

In the photos, you can also see the crowd that gathered as our tall Sunflower Judges Rich Torkelson and Barbara Glaser, both PMCF board members, went flower by flower precisely measuring each for height and for the largest sunflower head from petal tip to petal tip.

It was close and there were moments of tense anticipation, but Carter’s sunflower ended up winning by three and three-quarter inches.

The award for the largest sunflower head went to Kaitlyn W., whose 85-inch -tall sunflower had a bloom that measured 16 and three-eighths inches across from petal tip to petal tip.  She took her mammoth flower home with her. (See the photo above).

Both Carter and Kaitlyn won sunflower kites.

Thank you to all those that participated. It was a great turnout.

Fairy Village

Enchanting and charming are two good words to describe the 20 houses made by the Girl Scouts for the fairy village, which was tucked between a colorful border of cosmos and zinnias.

The girls, under the direction of Girl Scout badge coordinator Jess Clauser, created the houses using natural materials. Early Saturday they placed their houses in the fairy village and embellish the village by adding twigs, pebbles, acorn caps, moss, shells, log slices and more.

Some of the girl scouts earned the brownie outdoor art creator badge and the junior outdoor art explorer badge doing this project, which is one of several that they have completed in the Community Gardens this season.  Many more are planned including a Spring fairy garden with mini daffodils and tulips.

 

Art Show

Another project the Girl Scouts and other children from the community did this summer was draw and paint in the garden classes led by gardener Martel Catalano and Judy Brunner.

In August, young artists created paper sunflowers. On another Saturday, they went into the garden to decide what they would draw and paint.Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 6.55.42 PM

Some drew the flowers. Others focused on vegetables and still others did studies of the insects they found.

More than 30 paintings were created. And, for the art show the artworks were displayed clothesline style in front of the sunflowers.

The following painting of sunflowers by Girl Scout Mae Austin took first place and in addition to winning a medal, will be used on the Community Gardens greeting cards and T-shirt.  Congratulations to all three winners. Second place: Aurora Davis and Third Place: Lucy Ploss.

sunflower

 

 

Fairy Garden, Photo Exhibit and Art Show Today from 2 to 4 pm

Sun2There is a lot happening today at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, 223 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs.

Local photographer Tom Stock has an exhibit of Pitney Farm photos exhibited in the barn.  The Girl Scouts have created an extensive fairy village within a colorful border of flowers with little houses, pathways and treasures sure to delight.

And the children who experience the garden through art will have their art work on display in front of the sunflowers. Prizes will be awarded.

We will also have organically grown, dried sunflower heads that can be used to feed the birds or for flower arrangements and fall centerpieces on sale as a fundraiser for future events including a Spring fairy garden with mini-daffodils.  Treat your birds to this protein and mineral rich food and help support the gardens.

Contest

The Mammoth sunflowers grown as part of the Grow the Tallest Sunflower Contest will be measured and prizes award. That happens at 2:15 this afternoon.

Come join the fun today from 2 to 4 in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens and see what has been accomplished the first season.

I hope to see you in the garden.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director

 

Egyptian Walking Onions

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 3.44.53 AMA Vermont community gardener shared a handful of Egyptian Walking Onions with me when I was in his garden plot recently. I added them to our community herb garden yesterday.

Do you know this plant?

The scientific name is “allium proliferum” which gives you a hint about their nature.  As the name suggests, they are prolific. Next season and for as long as we grow them, community gardeners will have these mild flavored little onions to add to meals.

Walking Onions are a top setting onion and hardy, emerging in the spring often through snow.  The leaves are a bluish-green, hollow and grow about 3 feet tall.  After the first year, a cluster of bulblets will form at the top of a leaf stalk as the summer progresses.

When the bulblets mature, they become heavy and bend the leaves to the ground where the bulblets take root. That’s how they get the name walking onion. If left to their own devices, they will “walk” across the garden.

Fortunately, they have a good flavor and are easy to keep in check by harvesting the bulblets, which can be up to an inch in diameter. They are tiny but tasty.

Thanks to all the great help in the gardens yesterday, a lot was done in preparation for the photography, art and fairy houses exhibit this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m.

This Saturday at 2:15 the entires in the sunflower contest will be measured and a winner announced.

Hope to see you there.