Waldorf Students Illustrate Monarch Butterfly Signs for Pitney Meadows

waldorfsigninstallStudents from the Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs illustrated signs for the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Monarch Waystation.

The five signs each depict an interesting fact about the butterflies that migrate thousands of miles and who have been in decline due to destruction of their habitat and the use of pesticides.

Pictured here are Michael Whitney, the practical arts teacher who built the cedar sign posts, and Elizabeth Straton, Community Relations.

The sign next to them shows the difference between a male and female butterfly. You didn’t know there was a way to tell a boy from a girl?

Come to the gardens, read the signs and maybe see some butterflies.  The butterfly bed surrounding them contains plants that support the butterfly from egg to caterpillar to adult with an abundant supply of nectar rich flowers that bloom through the season. The garden also contains milkweed, the only plant the monarch caterpillar eats.

Thank you to the students who drew the illustrations. They are beautiful.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director

 

 

 

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Deer Fencing Installation Next Week

Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 8.50.26 AMDeer have been making their way near our gardens. To combat this, we will be installing an electric fence next week.

The fence will be on a timer and electrified overnight, from dusk to dawn when they are most active.  This shouldn’t interfere with any gardening activities as the fence will be ON when the gardens are closed.

We could use a hand with the installation and need volunteers for next Thursday morning starting at 9:30.  Let me know if you can help ASAP. We need about 4 people.

Thank you to the gardeners who reported tracks and sent images.  It is a big help to have many eyes looking out for the gardens. We are a good team.

CHORES

The gardens are well-watered and in good shape but there are chores that need to be done.

On Saturday morning from 8 to 11, I will be in the gardens and able to show people the tasks that need doing that will earn volunteer hours.

Please come if you can, especially if you need hours to fulfill your commitment.

NOTES

Mark your calendar for the fairy gathering on September 22. It is also the day of the sunflower measuring for our sunflower contest.

We will have a food truck present and could use volunteers to help plan activities for a fun day.

I’m thinking, a “Make your own Fairy Wand” booth, field games, music.  I’m open to all suggestions.

For example, We have a gardener who volunteered to lead a fairy dance with the children.  And another who has written a song about the gardens.

Children will have dozens of fairy houses they made on display in the North flower border.

Let me know how you would like to participate and add to the magic of the day.

Monarchs

Our butterfly garden and certified way station has been hosting lots of Monarch butterflies.  Next week, five signs illustrated by talented students from the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs will be installed.  They are wonderful! And informative!

Thank you all for sharing your talents and your time.

Natalie

We are in the News Today

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Children in the Saturday morning Sunflower Hour program made worm farms with master gardener Jay Ephraim last weekend.

Check out this article about the growth of Pitney Meadows Community Gardens in Saratoga Today by Marissa Gonzalez.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the last year, the community’s beloved Pitney Meadows Community Farm has made a lot of changes.

Since this time last July, the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens have become an official Monarch way station, created a large “Grandparent’s Garden,” started a reading and gardening Saturday program for children, increased the number of plots and now has more than 70 gardeners growing fresh healthy food in their gardens.

“It’s truly amazing. People who visit the gardens can’t believe it is only one year old,” said garden director Natalie Walsh, crediting the community of gardeners that has made the difference.

“They aren’t just tending their plots, but also are interested in learning organic gardening techniques, engaging children in the gardens, and extending a hand to each other and to the Saratoga community at large. It truly is a community in the gardens,” she added.

Last year the Community Gardens had 50 spaces available. This year, there are 72 beds.

“We are working to respond to what the community wants. When gardeners asked for bigger spaces, we offered them,” Walsh said.

Gardeners pay to lease the space for the season and the costs vary according to plot size.

In addition, Walsh added flowerbeds to draw pollinators such as butterflies, bees and beneficial insects. Of particular interest was offering habitat to Monarch butterflies whose populations have been in decline across the United States.

In the community gardens, a large garden was installed and planted with butterfly plants that have different bloom periods and provide nectar throughout the summer and into the fall. The milkweed provides the Monarch caterpillar with its only food source.

Engaging the community is a goal for Walsh, who traveled over 13,000 miles last winter talking to community gardeners across the country.

 

This year, the gardens offer programs for adults as well as children. “We were fortunate to have two community gardeners interested in working with children. One is Faye Mihuta, a reading teacher, and the other is Jess Clauser, an artist. Together they designed a reading program that meets once a week and is followed by an art or garden project,” Walsh said.

The reading program is free. The art or garden project costs $5 per child and includes activities including learning how to make jam, making art and learning how to plant and care for seeds. The program, which is held every Saturday morning starting at 9:30 a.m., has been very well-received as have the adult programs on topics such as growing tomatoes.

Also on Saturday mornings, Walsh will lead a gardening class for participants to walk around the gardens and discuss any issues, problems and receive tips from Walsh, who is a master gardener and holds a horticulture degree from SUNY Cobleskill.

The garden also saw the construction of a beautiful cedar pergola that was donated in memory of the late Charlotte Justin by her family and built by local craftsman Rich Torkelson and his son Arik.

The grandmother’s gardens were funded with a grant from the Soroptimists and multiple private donors who also purchased furniture for the space. In addition, the popular sunflower house has also been expanded. A sunflower house is an enclosed space that has “walls” of sunflowers.

Other organizations include the Waldorf school that illustrated signs for the butterfly garden, Saratoga Bridges who care for their own plot and help water others, Franklin Community Center, the Saratoga Senior Center, Saratoga Transitional Services, Saratoga Catholic Central, the Girl Scouts and the high school.

(Note: Sunflower measuring day and the Fall Fairy Gathering will be September 22 at 1 p.m. – this was left out of the article. Rain date September 23.)

That will also be the day the sunflowers in the annual sunflower contest will be measured for height and size of bloom. The biggest in each category will receive a prize. Last year, 26 people entered, this year there are 60 participants.

“There no doubt the garden is growing,” she added. “If you haven’t visited, come by on a Thursday or Saturday morning and I’ll show you around and tell you what we have planned for next year,” Walsh said.

 

https://www.saratogatodaynewspaper.com/home/item/8744-pitney-meadows-community-farm-continues-to-flourish

We have done so much in one year!