Plant Sale Poster Picture Poll

3 Jan

Welcome to winter everyone! It’s hard to believe that another year has rolled around, but it’s time again to vote for the image that you think will make the best poster for the Plant Sale. Be sure to put the date of Saturday May 18 on your calendars.

The “winner” will receive a $25 gift certificate for use on merchandise or plants of your choice. Photos are solicited at the end of the growing season, but may be submitted throughout the year to nancy@mgftc.org for consideration.

For review – here are the last 4 posters so you can see how delightfully they publicize our event. And the bookmarks are just as beautiful!

Plant Sale Poster 2009

Plant Sale Poster 2010

Plant Sale Poster 2011

Plant Sale12

The following are the images that have been submitted for your consideration for 2013. The poll follows at the end of the pictures. You may vote only once, but we encourage you to have your friends come and make a choice too. It’s a lot more fun when more people vote!

Tiger Lillies  Tiger Lilies

Heuchera 2  Heuchera and frog

Daylily - Coreopsis  Peach Daylily

Lewesia  Lewesia

Closed Loop white striped peony-1  Striped Peony

Dark Blue Rose of Sharon  Blue Rose of Sharon

Community Gardening Across the Continental U.S.

5 Dec

I stumbled upon an interesting article in the New York Times the other day, covering the state of community gardening in Manhattan and the city in general. It certainly was an area of curiosity for me, simply because of the context. What does community gardening look like in an ultra-urban setting like NYC? The WSU Master Gardener sponsored demonstration gardens in Thurston County are like a bouquet, each one complementing and supplementing one another. Demonstration gardens are like interactive museum exhibitions. They showcase different plants, varieties, and growing techniques. They are sustained by volunteer work, and appreciated by the community. Thurston county’s demonstration gardens include Dirt Works at Yauger Park, the Farmer’s Market garden, and Closed Loop Park’s garden, which is directly on top of an old landfill. It seems that most volunteers have some level of involvement with each garden. What are the differences? What are the similarities? What are the motivations? What are the hurdles? The article is hyperlinked at the close of this blog entry, but I’d like to muse on a few interesting items I took away from the article and delve further into them.

A Master Gardener works with two day-camp attendees at Thurston County's Dirt Works demonstration garden.

A Master Gardener works with two day-camp attendees at Thurston County’s Dirt Works demonstration garden.

Overall, the article focused on the primary issue of acquiring and maintaining volunteers. The notion that it’s not about growing gardens, but more about growing gardeners is something I found to be quite alarming. They estimated that 10% of the 600 gardens in NYC are overgrown with weeds due to lack of volunteer activity.

The gardens, just like the WSU Master Gardener demo gardens, are primarily entirely run by volunteers. The average number of volunteers is about 29 per garden. However about ten percent of the gardens struggle to maintain the minimum 10-head volunteer crew necessary to renew the garden’s registration. This is an interesting conundrum because any acreage in NYC, especially in Manhattan, is valuable. The threat of losing a garden to other more profitable interests must be a much greater concern than it would be anywhere else. People love community gardens, but not everyone makes the time to participate. It is also noted that in most gardens, the bulk of the energy output tends to be on behalf of one or two die-hard volunteers. One of those dedicated volunteers remarked about how certain folks pass by the garden, admire it, but getting them within the perimeter of the fencing and dirtying their hands is difficult.

I personally don’t mind that. In a community everyone has their role, and appreciating a garden is just as important as tending to it. Just like every piece of artwork must have its passive viewer. The appreciation of a garden is an activity that fosters support for the garden. One of the residents interviewed for the article had a complaint that the garden across their apartment building was never open. He lamented how he would have loved to have used the garden as a bonding and educational activity with his son. I think this highlights an important role which gardens must serve in order to truly be part of the community. Opening up gardens for educational purposes makes it all-inclusive.

Part of the problem however is the placement of gardens. There will be pockets of high density gardens yet low density residential. This all leads back to the origins of community gardens during the recession of the late 70s, where communities used gardens to reclaim their neighborhood. Instead of leaving a foreclosed lot to deteriorate and become a dumping site, people turned them into gardens. The shift now however is towards more community shared gardens. Particularly ‘urban agriculture’ has received a lot more attention from a new demographic. Rather than having a garden where individuals took care of their small plot, a more shared garden with a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) initiative makes stakeholders out of residents and ultimately improves participation. I feel this point is important. The WSU Master Gardener program fosters not only education about gardening, but a sense of community. The social aspect, working with your fellow community members in beautifying  and vitalizing the land, is a large reason why people join or end up staying in the program for years.

If you are interested in becoming involved in Thurston County’s community gardens, the WSU Master Gardener Program is currently seeking applicants for the 2013 class. Drop in on a pre-orientation session to find out more! No pre-registration is necessary. Follow the link for pre-orientiation schedule:

http://county.wsu.edu/thurston/gardening/mg/Pages/default.aspx

 

Original article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/garden/urban-gardens-grow-everything-except-gardeners.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&hpw&

Fall Plant Sale Saturday Otober 27

25 Oct

Please come out to support the WSU Master Gardener, and the Thurston County Master Recycler Composter Programs at the Fall Plant Sale sponsored by the Master Gardener Foundation of Thurston County!!

FREE Workshop: Starting Your Permaculture Garden

3 Aug

What: Starting Your Permaculture Garden FREE Gardening Workshop
When: Saturday August 4th from 10:00 – 11:00 am (Q & A to follow)
Where: Dirt Works Demonstration Garden inside Yauger Park, West Olympia

This workshop is part II of this summer’s two part permaculture workshop series.  But, if you missed the first one, no worries!  We will do our best to get everyone on the same page.

Permaculture is about working with the Earth and its natural cycles.  As permaculture designers, we are concerned with not only our immediate gardening goals and needs, but also with the needs of our environment and the impact that we as gardeners might have on our ecosystems.   We will learn the importance of assessing the features of our potential gardening areas before we start to plant, how to use sheet mulching to start a new garden plot, and talk about four garden designs that can help us achieve our gardening goals while reducing our ecological footprint (i.e. saving water & fossil fuels, restoring habitat, as well as saving our own time and energy!)  Come out and see what permaculture is all about!

Hope to see you there!

~Julia Palmer, AmeriCorps Volunteer

FREE Workshop: Introduction to Permaculture

19 Jul

What: Introduction to Permaculture FREE Gardening Workshop
When: Saturday July 28th from 10:00 – 11:00 am (Q & A to follow)
Where: Dirt Works Demonstration Garden inside Yauger Park, West Olympia

This is the second time this workshop is being offered, so if you missed it the first time around this workshop is for you!

What is Permaculture? In a nutshell, permaculture is a set of design principles that we can use to create sustainable human habitats and living systems. These systems mimic and work with natural ecosystems rather than against them. They also strive to heal the damage that has already been inflicted on our environment. As gardeners we have a huge responsibility to tread lightly as we strive to grow food and create beautiful landscapes while the forces of nature (slugs, weeds, rabbits, drought) seem to be working against us. The truth is, our garden can be an ecosystem that is just as diverse, productive, beautiful, and self-maintaining as a natural forest ecosystem. The best part is, it can support our food needs and so much more. Come learn the basics of permaculture design in Part I of this two part Permaculture Gardening workshop series.

Thanks and I hope to see you out at Dirt Works!

~Julia Palmer
AmeriCorps Volunteer

FREE Workshop: Introduction to Permaculture

14 Jun

What: Introduction to Permaculture FREE Gardening Workshop
When: Saturday June 23rd from 10:00 – 11:00 am (Q & A to follow)
Where: Dirt Works Demonstration Garden inside Yauger Park, West Olympia

What is Permaculture? In a nutshell, permaculture is a set of design principles that we can use to create sustainable human habitats and living systems. These systems mimic and work with natural ecosystems rather than against them. They also strive to heal the damage that has already been inflicted on our environment. As gardeners we have a huge responsibility to tread lightly as we strive to grow food and create beautiful landscapes while the forces of nature (slugs, weeds, rabbits, drought) seem to be working against us. The truth is, our garden can be an ecosystem that is just as diverse, productive, beautiful, and self-maintaining as a natural forest ecosystem. The best part is, it can support our food needs and so much more. Come learn the basics of permaculture design in Part I of this two part Permaculture Gardening workshop series.
 
Thanks and I hope to see you out at Dirt Works!

~Julia Palmer
AmeriCorps Volunteer

Come on out to our FREE Herb Gardening workshop!

29 May

Have you always wanted to grow, harvest, and use your own herbs?  The Master Gardener Program of Thurston County would like to annouce a new community workshop for 2012 that is all about herb gardening.  The workshop will be held Saturday June 9th from 10am until 11am in Dirt Works Demonstration Garden (inside Yauger Park) in West Olympia. You will learn how to grow your favorite herbs and how to preserve flavor and fragrance throughout the harvest, drying/freezing, and storage process.  This workshop will also feature a new herb spiral permaculture garden in Dirt Works with instructions on how to build your own!

 Image

Please come out and join us on Saturday June 9th, and keep posted for announcements about our other upcoming workshops throughout the summer.

~Julia Palmer
AmeriCorps Volunteer