Creating an Enchanting Fairy Village

fairy elements

Pitney Meadows Community Gardens is lucky to have artist Jess Clauser expanding the fairy village near the pergola.

The project started two years ago in a 4×8 plot and from the start captivated an audience of adults and children. It grew and grew from a plot to a flower border and now is expanding even more. Magic happens.

It is still under construction, but you can already see the imaginative space Clauser is creating.  This summer, houses and fairies will work together in preparation for a fairy fest in September.

What makes a fairy garden especially spellbinding? Mushrooms, branches in unusual shapes, moss, and lots of charming details. Anything from acorn caps to tree stumps can be incorporated.

 

 

 

Art Flourishes in Community Gardens

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A huge snake made of sandbags covered with concrete and painted provides seating and a setting for imaginative play at the Soutside Community Garden in Sacramento, Calif.

Gardens and art are inseparable partners supporting and enlivening each other.

There’s magic in both.

And in some of the community gardens I have visited, artists have done great work creating masterpieces that bring people in, surround them with beauty and offer them the opportunity to connect with one another and with nature.

Community engagement is what community gardens are all about, right?

I have often said you don’t need to be a gardener to enjoy the gardens. There’s so much more than vegetables and flowers growing and being nourished.

The creative expression can be playful like a maze to wander or a half-wrecked boat to pretend to be the captain of the seas. It can be a shelter of branches that provide a shady tunnel to explore or a sunflower house big enough for children’s programming.

I have seen sprinklers in the shape of great trees, concrete snake seating made of sandbags and painted with happy colors, and welcoming hide-aways such as bean pole tipis.

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Art can be functional and beautiful like this entrance gate to the Peralta Community Garden in Berkeley, California. At some gardens, the entrance gates are sculpted metal flowers and vines. I have seen fences and arches made of garden tools, tile sundials and mosaics depicting hawks, flowers and insects.

I have lots to share from my travels and I’m hoping you’ll share too.

If your community garden has art incorporated into the landscape, please send me a photo. I’d like to start a regular feature showing this creative side of community gardens around the world.

Thank you. Natalie

 

 

Lovely Afternoon at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens

Cafe Lena photoIt was wonderful to see some of you at the Cafe Lena concert at Pitney Meadows Community Gardens this afternoon.

Community Gardeners: What a treat to have live music while you work in your gardens, refreshments available and the fun of watching young children enjoy themselves in the sandbox.

This is the good life.

 

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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Great Sunflower Wreath Making Class with Suzanne Balet-Haight

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 1.56.40 PM Suzanne Balet-Haight taught a wreath making class in her greenhouse on Nelson Avenue Extension this morning using the sunflowers grown in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

It was great fun and each person’s wreath came out very different.  There were Adirondack style wreaths, country cottage wreaths, and even a very elegant wreath.

What did they all had in common? Sunflowers and lots of them.

Suzanne, an excellent teacher, showed everyone the proper way to attach the sunflowers using 22 gauge wire. She demonstrated making bows with grasses and how to secure different flowers she had on hand to the grapevine wreaths. Participants used marigolds, amaranths, Dallas blue grass, cedar, statice, sedums and more.

Lots of Fun and Beautiful, Too

She began by demonstrating how to make floral sprays to attach to the wreath.  Everyone in the class heard the same instructions, but the results were an individual as the participants.  A truly creative experience.Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 1.55.30 PM

Suzanne teaches floral decorating and wreath making throughout our area. She has taught classes on creating Christmas and hydrangea wreaths, and boxwood tree centerpieces.  If you’d like to try your hand at one, contact her through her website,  Balet Flowers and Greenhouse. She is a talented artist and knowledgeable teacher.

Also, a generous one.  The proceeds of the class today were donated to the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens to put towards the Spring fairy gardens the girl scouts are creating. Thank you, Suzanne for sharing your time and talents.

 

Fairy Fabulous: Fancy Dresses for a Night on the Town

Yesterday’s post was a fairy dress made from flower petals. It was a pretty weekday dress. Something a fairy might wear to go to class or shopping to pick up pixie dust.

But Pitney Meadows Community Gardens gardener, Jess C. took designing fairy frocks to a whole new level.  She made a couple of petal party dresses suitable for solstice gatherings or any event in Tír na nÓg, the land of fairies. The dresses are absolutely enchanting.

Try making one yourself. All you need is glue, a few pretty petals or leaves from the garden and an idea.  If you do make a fairy outfit, send me a photo. I’ll post it here.red fairyfrilly frock.jpg

We Hope You Will Join Us

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You’ve admired them all summer. Now you can bring them into your homes.

We have dried the sunflowers and will be holding a sunflower wreath making class at Suzanne Balet-Haight’s on Oct. 14 at ten a.m.

Let us know if you can make it by Oct. 10th.  See you then.

 

 

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.

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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

 

Art Classes for Children

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Art classes for children age 6 to 14 will be held on August 12, 19 and 26th at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens starting at 9 a.m.

On August 12 and 26, children will be able to draw and paint flowers and bugs in the garden under the guidance of two local artists Martel Catalano and Nancy Hicks who are also gardeners in the community gardens.

On August 19th, Saratoga Springs artist and retired teacher Judy Brunner will lead a class on creating huge sunflowers out of paper. They are gorgeous. Children will be able to enter the sunflower house and see how the walls are growing.

Parents are expected to stay during the art classes which will run an hour, and everyone is welcome to remain in the garden after the class to complete their art work or just enjoy the surrounding beauty. Supplies will be provided, but if you would like to bring your own, that’s fine too.

The art created can be entered in the Sept. 16th art show in the Community Gardens.
Screen Shot 2017-07-29 at 12.23.49 PM.pngThe show will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Paintings, drawings and photographs are all eligible. To register for the classes or enter the art show contact Natalie Walsh at natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.org

Class size is limited so early registration is advised.

Adults and children are welcome to come draw, paint or take photographs in the garden anytime from dawn to dusk.

The garden is lovely and the farmland is breathtaking. Sunflowers just started blooming this week and will continue to bloom until fall.

Come see.