On Thursday we went over to Randy’s house to plant a garden in his boulevard, but we had so many plants and people that we were able to also plant one at Sue and Judy’s house next door (with their permission!).
Randy, Sue, and Judy live right across the street from two yards where we planted gardens last year, just up the street from another, and just down the street from our friend Kathy who’s donated dozens of plants from her amazing native garden. That makes a total of 5 new CPP-installed gardens plus one CPP donor garden all on the same block so far!
It was so fun to see some of the neighbors we gardened with last year and to check up on their gardens. The plants we planted last year will probably take another year to really fill out, but they have mostly survived and are looking pretty good! Can’t wait to see this block in a few years!
On Thursday we planted a large garden at Sarah and Lucas’s. The boulevard on their street is quite wide, so we were able to put in plenty of plants (donated by the Bee Lab). We also scored a ton of mulch from Bratt Tree Company, which has a free mulch pile in the neighborhood (thanks, Bratt!).
The species for this garden are similar to our last few gardens, lots of things like New England aster, penstemon, butterfly weed, showy goldenrod, ox eye, June grass, and hoary vervain, all species that thrive in full sun. We’ll need to source some shade-loving plants soon for upcoming gardens in shady boulevards.
On June 10 we replaced Judy’s entire boulevard with native prairie plants. This is extra cool because now Judy doesn’t have to haul her lawnmower down to the sidewalk level to mow the boulevard. Many thanks to the University of Minnesota Bee Lab for a large donation of plants that’s enabling us to plant more and larger gardens this year!
And thanks to Judy for sharing her awesome homemade grape juice and wine! A very refined end to an evening of gardening.
Yesterday evening we planted side-by-side gardens in the boulevards of next door neighbors Ethan and James. We had a great turnout of 10 people, plenty of plants donated by Sara B. and Hannah R. as well as the UMN Bee Lab, great snacks and drinks prepared by our hosts, and a beautiful evening.
These gardens got a mix of 18 species of native perennials, including spiderwort, boneset, coreopsis, blanket flower, culver’s root, echinacea, yarrow, side oats grama, butterfly weed, swamp milkweed, june grass, sky blue aster, new england aster, sneezeweed, grass-leaved goldenrod, heart-leaved alexanders, and figwort. We have a good stock of plants right now and are going to try to install a bunch more gardens this June before the weather gets too hot!
This weekend 12 of us got together to plant about 500 pots’ worth of native perennial seeds.
We bought seeds of about 50 species from Prairie Moon, and funded our seed purchase via a modified CSA model: members could cover the cost of a pack of seeds ($2.50) of a plant they’d like for their garden. When the plants grow, they’ll get some seedlings, but the rest will be planted into new pollinator gardens. While in the past we’ve relied on native plants already growing in the neighborhood to start new gardens, buying these seeds will allow us to add some uncommon species, increasing the biodiversity of the neighborhood. Some of the cool new species we are trying out include prairie sundrops, wild licorice, goats rue, New Jersey tea, fringed loosestrife, yellow pimpernel, blue grama, and mad-dog skullcap.
We used a mixture of potting soil and soil we removed from a boulevard during an installation last summer. Most native plants need to stratify in the cold for a period of time in order to germinate. We put the pots out in a backyard garden so that they can naturally stratify and hopefully reward us with hundreds of cool new plants in the spring.
On October 8 we had our last and biggest installation of the year at Shoni’s house, with ten people in attendance, including three cool kids, and hot chocolate. Woohoo! Good job, everyone! See you next year!
My friend Elaine, who wrote a lovely profile of CPP in the Southside Pride, lives in the Longfellow neighborhood and has been working on her own pollinator garden.
I stopped by with some extra plants after Amy’s installation. Elaine has a shady garden with a lot of Virginia waterleaf. She donated a bunch for our next installations. She also has a whole bunch of asters thriving in her lawn, which surprised me because most asters are pretty tall when left alone. Perhaps more people should consider asters as another pollinator-friendly turf alternative.
Adam’s house, October 1. It was cold. Adam donated some rudbeckia from his backyard for our next garden.
Mark’s house, which is next door to Nykol’s house (where we planted a couple weeks prior). Continuous pollinator gardens! We planted over a spot where a tree had been removed, which meant extra soil to find a home for. Mark’s neighbor stopped by with Joe Pye plants to add.