Mapping the gardens of Corcoran

We have officially started our neighborhood garden coverage mapping!

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The goal is to make a visual representation of which areas of the neighborhood have gardens at all and which have pollinator gardens, and to get a rough estimate of garden biodiversity from block to block in the neighborhood. Step one is for our intrepid garden surveyors to record their observations of each yard in the neighborhood. Tonight Ann and Dillon and I tackled 22nd Ave.

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Our final maps will help us get a sense of the overall pollinator friendliness of our ‘hood and help us target future garden installations. Stay tuned!

garden #5

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We had our fifth garden installation this past Saturday at Janet’s!

Seven brave gardeners showed up despite the heat. We cleared out a bed that had been taken over by day lilies and the invasive creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides).

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Just as we were remarking how nice it is that the bellflower is easy to pull up, Julia from Wild Ones and Pollinator Revival arrived and showed us how the plant actually has deep, long-lived corms ten inches under the soil. Point being, if you really want to get rid of bellflower, it’s best to dig up the corms.

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So we did some extra digging.

We also learned some tips about rain gardening from Sean, who’s getting certified as a Master Water Steward. Sean showed us how to grade a section of the bed, route the downspout there, and plant thirsty plants in the depression to help reduce the stormwater load.

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This is the finished garden, which ended up with sixteen species and plants donated by six people (Thanks, Dillon, Julia, Kim M., Kim K., and Marissa and Lindsay!)

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After mulching, it was time for all of us (people and plants) to drink a lot of water.

 

group gardening day #4

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A group of us headed to Cynthia’s on Saturday to help weed and mulch her beautiful native garden, which has supplied dozens of plants for our project so far.

 

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After we finished with the work portion, Cynthia led us on a tour of her plant species, including this wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium):

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Since a number of knowledgeable botanists were in attendance, we rounded out the day with some nerding out about aster family plants. By the end of the summer we should all know our Ratibida, Rudbeckia, Heliopsis, and Silphium species!

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garden #3

20170711_191939We had our third group garden install this past Tuesday at Anne’s new garden, which is at the house her son just moved into.

The existing space was full of weeds, day lilies, and the odd onion and dogwood shrub. Here’s the “before” picture:

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Thanks to donations from Julia, Kim, and Leanna, we had a bunch of cool plants to replace them with, including monarda, liatris, rattlesnake master, whorled milkweed, harebell, gray-headed coneflower, aromatic aster, little bluestem, and phlox.

Kim M. happens to live next door so we got to see her mature perennial garden.

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In process:

Finishing touches:

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After we mulched, Anne cut back the phlox and made a bouquet:

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Hopefully it is the first of many!

 

 

 

What we’ve been up to so far

The Corcoran Pollinator Project is a new grassroots neighborhood initiative that aims to increase urban pollinator habitat via a crop mob model in which neighbors help each other install new pollinator gardens with plants donated by other neighbors. We are a project of Corcoran GROWS, our neighborhood Transition Town organization. This year we have installed two boulevard gardens with 15 different species of perennial pollinator plants donated from four different neighbors, with more installations planned.

We began the season on May 23 with a free talk about backyard pollinator habitat by University of Minnesota entomologist and Bee Squad educator Jessica Miller.

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Our first garden installation was June 10!

 

(Cynthia donated a ton of plants, including Joe Pye weed, from her glorious garden.)

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Our second installation was June 19.

 

Afterwards we met some actual pollinators when Kim introduced us to her honeybees, who are based nearby:

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Up next: more gardens, plus a garden coverage mapping project. Stay tuned!