Archive for the ‘Resistance is fertile’ Category
Van Dusen Gardens suffers snow damage
All the snow over the past couple days has been rough on our city’s trees. But perhaps the worst of it is that Van Dusen Gardens, a 22-hectare botanical garden in the heart of Vancouver, has suffered extensive damage. The Garden is reporting damage to over three dozen species of tree, both native and exotic.
The Garden has been forced to close for the week due to clean up efforts. Their annual Festival of Lights has also been delayed until December 15.
If you want to help, make a donation here.
Edible Garden Project
I met some people from the Edible Garden Project at my farmer’s market the other day. One part GWA Plant-a-Row-for-the-Hungry, one part local activism, the Edible Garden Project is based on Vancouver’s North Shore, but has potential for duplication anywhere.
The Edible Garden Project seeks out unused garden space both on private and public property, striving to create a network between homeowners with gardens who want to donate a portion of their harvest, people who have under or unused garden space and would like to cultivate this land for growing food, and volunteers who want to contribute to the growing, sharing, and learning around locally produced food. The fresh local produce that comes out of these gardens is then brought to organizations, like the Harvest Project, that serve community members who require it the most.
It seems that, more and more, issues surrounding food security – such as adequate access to fresh fruit and vegetables for all community members – are being talked about in the public sphere. It may not be making the evening news, but I think the issue is slowing making it into the minds of people who can create change. What this project shows is that those people are you and me. Simply by volunteering some of your garden space – or volunteering to cultivate someone else’s – we can make a difference.
Wow. That was unusually Pollyanna-esque for me. Must be the marriage hormones flying around.
Community gardens – good for the economy?
You knew gardens are good for the community, but now you can put numbers to it:
From a NYU Law and Economics Research Paper:
We find that the opening of a community garden has a statistically significant positive impact on residential properties within 1000 feet of the garden, and that the impact increases over time. We find that gardens have the greatest impact in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Higher quality gardens have the greatest positive impact. Finally, we find that the opening of a garden is associated with other changes in the neighborhood, such as increasing rates of homeownership, and thus may be serving as catalysts for economic redevelopment of the community.
Via City Farmer.
I discovered Evergreen, a non-profit environmental organization, at my local farmer’s market last weekend. They were there promoting their Lawn and Garden Smart program, a garden consultation and design service created to promote ecological gardening to Greater Vancouver residents. Some municipalities, like West Vancouver and Richmond, are buying up blocks of the consultations to be delivered to their residents at a subsidized rate as part of their pesticide reduction education programs. Bravo!
In addition to one hour consultations, Evergreen offers follow-up ‘coaching’ sessions, full landscape design services, participatory installations (where family and friends help you plant), a native plant buying club and gift certificates for all of the above.
But you should check out their website even if you don’t live near one of their regional offices, because there are tons of fantastic resources, including heritage and native plant databases. And – this is really cool – you can add the plants you’re interested in to a personal “wishlist” similar to Amazon’s.
Card-carrying guerilla gardener
Check out guerillagardening.org, a site dedicated to – you guessed it – guerilla gardening. Run by an English bloke named Richard who seems to do a lot of getting up to no good, the site has a goal of recording 100 acts of guerilla gardening across four continents by September 2006.
Good reading and resources; and and and! You can sign up for a membership card. How exciting!
Covert operation #1
If you’re careful not to look down, the view from the east of our home is stunning: all the mountains and trees of a tourism brochure. But if you look down, as inevitably you must, you are faced with the Ghetto House, as we affectionately call it. It’s the burnt-out shell of a 1940s bungelow, all boarded up and abandoned.
It’s not the prettiest sight, I admit. But I don’t really mind it; it was here before we moved in, so who are we to judge? I figure it’ll be gone soon enough. I just hope it’s not replaced with some bohemeth that’s uglier than it is. In the meantime, however, I’m practicing a bit of counter-culture, AKA guerilla gardening.
Monday, April 3, 2006. 1800hrs. Made seed balls using a wildflower seed mix.
Tuesday, April 4, 2006. 2036hrs. Seed balls not entirely dry. Leave for another day.
Wednesday, April 5, 2006. 1648hrs. Scope out back alley for potential threats. Area clear.
Wednesday, April 5, 2006. 1649hrs. Nochalantly stroll across back alley as if out enjoying spring air. Look furtively around.
Wednesday, April 5, 2006. 1650hrs. Launch a total of nine seed balls onto unloved property. Run back into house as if being chased by rabid chipmunks.
Wednesday, April 5, 2006. 1651hrs. Mission accomplished. Pat self on back for job well done.
I’ll just say it right off the bat: I love moss. I’ve always loved it. When I was a kid, there was a clearing in the forest I lived next to, and in the centre was a stone absolutely thick with the most beautiful emerald-green moss. I was convinced (and still secretly believe) that faeries congregated there. It was definitely a magical place.
So I really don’t understand the effort expended to rid lawns of moss. My father-in-law, upon seeing my sad excuse for a lawn for the first time, said, “you need some moss killer.” Horrified, I replied, “But I love the moss! I’m trying to get rid of the grass!”
Anyway, I came across a novel use for moss and thought I’d share: moss graffiti. It’d be a great use for all that moss starter medium you’ve been brewing up. You haven’t? Oh. Well, you might want to try it if you’ve got a bare-looking log or rock in nice shady, damp area in your garden, or if you want to make your terracotta pots look aged, or if you’d like to start a moss garden. Here’s my recipe:
Quick Moss Starter
- Take a clump (a small handful) of healthy moss from your yard (or ask a neighbour for some if you don’t have any) and crumble it into a blender.
- Add 2 cups of buttermilk and 2 cups of water
- Blend at the lowest speed until it is completely mixed and the consistency of a thin milk shake (add water if necessary)
- Paint the mixture onto rocks, logs, pots or statuary, or simply pour it on the ground wherever you’d like your moss to grow
So, the idea of moss graffiti is that you apply this moss milkshake to your chosen canvas and create a design or object out of moss (as in the photo above). Imagine the possibilities! I’m picturing moss wallpaper a la William Morris (outdoors, of course!)