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.

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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!

Flyers Ready for Fairy Gathering, Please Share

Come see dozens of fairy houses and cheer for the biggest sunflowers in the contest in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

Admission to the farm is free. Donations are welcome. Visitors can buy lunch at the Nine Miles East Farm’s Food Truck, and enjoy ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s, play fairy games, listen to music, and follow the fairy queen as she tells a story and more.

If you want to wear your fairy attire, please do.

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Midsummer’s Eve Celebration in the Gardens

What a delightful night in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens as about 50 gardeners and families gathered to celebrate the first night of summer and the one year anniversary of the gardens.

It’s hard to believe that only one year ago, the garden was just getting underway with the construction of raised beds. Now, we have plots in three different sizes, a lovely pergola, a beautiful gardener’s shed, a Monarch butterfly habitat, a grandparent’s garden, a fairy garden and 72 gardeners who help make the experience terrific.

Tonight was our first potluck and so many delicious offerings were available. Thank you to all who made this a success. This garden has a wonderful community for which I am  very grateful.

Our next potluck will be in July when the garlic is harvested.  It will be our Vampire Slayer feast.  Recipes should have at least some garlic as an ingredient.

Until then, see you in the gardens, Natalie

There’s Something Magical in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens

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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.

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Beautiful Blue Borage Flowers

Next time, you’re in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, look at the community herb plot for an arresting display of blue flowers on the borage plants. Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.32.19 PM.png

The flowers are star-shaped and can be added to salads, frozen in water in ice cube trays for fancy ice cubes when serving drinks, or sugared, like violets, to garnish cupcakes for a garden party.

Borage is an ancient herb and has other uses, too. For one thing, it is an excellent soil enhancer as it contains calcium and potassium. It also attracts beneficial insects especially bees, and is said to repel tomato hornworms when planted alongside tomato plants.

But my favorite use is to make crystallized flowers. And, it’s easy.

Recipe for Crystalized Flowers

Pick the flowers when they are dry and fully open. You can also do this with violets, rose petals, nasturtiums, and pansies.

Lightly beat an egg white. In a separate shallow bowl, have a 1/4 cup of superfine granulated sugar. With a paintbrush, paint the egg white onto the flower getting into all the nooks and crannies. Then dip it into the sugar. You may want to use a second paintbrush to get the sugar well distributed. Shake off the excess sugar and place the flowers on parchment paper to dry. Once dry, use them to decorate your cakes, desserts, pancakes. They even look pretty on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

The community herb bed is grown for the use of all the Pitney Meadows Community Garden gardeners. If you would like to join us next season and have access to the plants, let me know.

 

 

Founding Patrons Event Well Attended

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Judith, Kathy and Bill Pitney are part of an agricultural legacy in Saratoga Springs and celebrated the farm’s story at the Founding Patrons dinner last night.  The 166-acre Pitney property was in their family since 1860 and is now the Pitney Meadows Community Farm.

Last evening, about 100 people who were instrumental in supporting the Pitney Meadows Community Farms came to see and celebrate what has been accomplished so far.

It’s hard to believe that in time measured by months, the community gardens were built, planted and flourished and the high tunnel greenhouse was constructed, barns were renovated, and fields where farmers will grow food in the future were planted to study the soils.

People commented on the extraordinary progress as they walked around looking at the renovated barn, the gardener’s shed, the field of sunflowers, the fairy village and the abundant produce in the garden beds.

It’s teamwork.

The dictionary defines teamwork as the efforts of a group of people acting together in the interests of a common cause.

Without the founding patrons, and the support they gave, this wouldn’t have been possible.

Without the dozens upon dozens of volunteers who came to help all season, this wouldn’t have happened.

Without the individual gardeners caring for their plots, the community gardens wouldn’t be bountiful.

And without the leadership to move the vision forward, this great space wouldn’t be thriving.

I am delighted to be a part of this.