Sunday, October 19, 2008

The bulb dance... latest version!

video

The season is coming to an end - but we keep blooming!



Hello Everyone,
This past week, we took down a prolific cherry tomato vine, pulled out fragrant cinnamon basil, and said goodbye to some droopy dried sunflower heads, all in order to plant our next round of crops. It is sad to say goodbye to the bright summer flowers and vegetables but we are eagerly awaiting the growth of magenta radishes and a whole spectrum of "greens" - collards, broccoli, kale, chard, lettuce, spinach, bok choy, pac soy, and arugula. The Girard Garden is really popping, and we have already started a first harvest with kids from DC Bilingual Public Charter School, Columbia Heights Youth Club, and Community of Hope. If you drop by on Wednesday or Thursday afternons from 4-6 you are welcome to take a look! Also, thanks to our new volunteer gardeners, April and Adriana, the garden is open more for peeking in and maybe even a little picking.
SPEAKING OF PICKING.... if you are hungering for some tasty greens yourself, our end of the season HARVEST VOLUNTEER DAY will be Saturday, November 15th. We will spend the day cleaning up the garden a bit, decorating, painting, and picking tasty treats. If you are interested in participating, please email Lola at lola@cityblossoms.org
Big Harvest Hugs,
Lola and Rebecca

Friday, August 1, 2008

The article!

I almost forgot to mention that City Blossoms was featured this week in the Washington Times! Reporter Amanda McClure wrote an article about our new project at Girard Garden. Check it out at http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jul/29/girard-garden-targets-crime/

I like how the subtitle says "Residents Hope Calm will Bloom"....because of my last name.....heehee!
Hugs
Lola

Nothing says welcome like....

Goofing off and Gorgeous






These our some of the chicas from our girls' group that came with us to the Penn Quarter Farmer's Market this past Thursday. We learned all about what it takes to sell goods at the market, how to showcase the products, and how to sneak lots of free samples! Soon, the girls' own handmade herbal lotion bars, soaps, and salt scrubs will be for sale at CentroNia. The lavender, rosemary, mint, and chamomile come straight from our organic garden.

Goodbye Sweaty July, Hello Sticky August!




3 more weeks of classes means 3 more weeks of digging, composting, eating, picking, drying, watering, and sweating. 3 more weeks means soon there will be a bunch of happy harvesters in the City Blossoms' gardens! As you can see in one of these pictures, our corn is just reaching the ready point. Last week we picked a few ears at Harvard with the 4 year-olds and learned how tortillas are made. At CentroNia on 14th and Columbia, the tomato plants, much to Lola's distaste, and producing like crazy! Cucumbers are crawling the fence, and the sunflowers are watching over our shoulders every time we step into the building. At CAPCS, the beans and herbs have gone above and beyond what was expected, and it's time for a cutting - anyone interested?
In these next 3 weeks we will be getting ready to plant fall crops: spinach, radishes, beets, cabbage, and all kinds of healthy greens will be going in one seed at a time. We know there are some hungry peeps out there just looking to bite into some fresh organic produce - let us know if you or anyone you know would be willing to trade some volunteer hours for some treats!

Friday, July 11, 2008

We Built This Garden on Rock and Roll!





Welcome to Girard Garden, our brand new GIGANTIC project that is being supported by Columbia Heights Shaw Collaborative, Horning Brothers, and Councilmember Jim Graham. Our new plot is right in the middle of Girard Playground, and we plan to develop it as a Childrens' Community Garden, with participants from the many schools and youth centers in the neighborhood. So far we are bringing kids in from CentroNia, YouthBuild, and Columbia Heights Youth Club. The plan is to have about 12 raised beds, an outdoor classroom, a composting area, rain barrels, and more! This past week we planted a flower bed in front with donated plants from Garden District, and moved in a massively awesome garden shed built by Russell Flench. When we say rock and roll, specifically we refer to the effort (and the gravel and dolly...hee hee) put into pushing this beast into the space! It took about an hour and a half, but it's in, and it's not going anywhere! This shed will be the home for our community toolbank, which all of the children will share.
Once the raised garden beds are built this next week, we will begin to fill them up with healthy soil amendments and rush to make the most of the rest of the growing season. We also have a lot of art and gardening projects planned to help beautify the space and the surrounding area near the playground. If you are interested in volunteering and becoming part of this gargantuan effort, please feel free to contact Lola or Rebecca at lola@cityblossoms.org or rebecca@cityblossoms.org.

Monster Hibiscus at CentroNia




We have a few plants that astound me with their ability to make it through the weird DC winters, the extensive shade of most of our plots, as well as the wear and tear of being around tons of kids every day, and this hibiscus is number one!

Summertime, and the living is not so easy...but FUN!


We started our summer workshops on June 30th, and it has already been an every-day-whirlwind of activity. We have classes with kids at CentroNia, Harvard St. Pre-K Incentive, Girard Playground, Garrison Middle School, and soon, the Langley Park campus of CentroNia. We are making bilingual alphabet signs, harvesting herbs to make soaps and lotions, building a brand new GIGANTIC garden plot, composting, cooking, sweating, and learning. We are making new friends - this week YouthBuild will be coming in to help us build raised beds and an outdoor classroom at Girard; Garden District continues to generously pile Rebecca's truck with donated plants; and new classes will be starting this week with Columbia Heights Youth Club. There are plans coming up this summer to participate in a farmer's market throw a few parties at the gardens, and once those dates are known you will be invited to see the floral fun up close. In the meantime, enjoy some of these pics!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thank you Garden District!




This week Garden District, a local garden supply store donated tons of plants City Blossoms to use in our many gardens with the kids. We started getting a bunch of the herbs and annuals in the ground yesterday with the CAPCS kids. After a long spring of planting, these CAPCS kids are now professionals at gently taking the small plants out of the pots, pinching the roots, and tucking them into their new homes in the Amos 1 campus garden. It looks like we are going to have quite a delicious pizza garden very soon! Let us know if you have any good sauce recipes!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More Volunteer Madness!




Apparently 'tis is the season for going crazy with volunteer days. We participated in another two since the Baltimore event - April 26th at Community Academy Public Charter School and the May 3rd Kaboom!/Comcast Cares event at the new CentroNia campus in Langley Park. At CAPCS, we worked with a couple of other volunteers from the school through sprinkles and one downpour to dig up the sod and add compost and manure in three circular garden plots. Since then students have planted radishes, spinach, carrots, beans and sunflowers, and all of the seedling are making their way into tasty big plants.
The Langley Park project was enormous, with over 100 volunteers coordinated through Comcast Cares and CentroNia working together to transform a big parking lot into a playground, complete with custom designed garden space, outdoor classroom and mural designed by Rebecca. It really was amazing to witness the transformation over the 7-hour event. We are hoping to get the raised garden boxes built and planted before the summer gets too sticky. If you are interested in helping us out with this task, let us know!
Now we are finalizing our plans and ideas for the summer programs at CentroNia, Garrison Middle School, and our NEW site in Girard Park. More news about that project later.... until then, go out and get dirty!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Volunteer Day Baltimore






This past Sunday we had ANOTHER volunteer day at the Garrison Middle School Garden in Baltimore. Rebecca teaches classes to middle school girls there, and the garden needed a lot of work to get ready for the growing season. There was a BIG turnout of parents, students, teachers, friends, and Master Gardeners, and everybody was enthusiastic to get heir hands dirty and help out. This weekend, April 12th, there will be a volunteer day at Community Academy Public Charter School to break ground and set up the layout of the garden.
In other news, City Blossoms has been the recipient of two generous grants lately: The Washington Parks and People mini-grant and the Wuzzleburg Preschool Garden Awards. Hooray!! We're on a roll! Please let us know if you know of any relevant grants or funding opportunities we should apply for.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008




Volunteer Days = Growing Community


This year City Blossoms is expanding A LOT and we are adding volunteer days to our schedule to get people involved, discover their own little special part of the garden, and also help take a load of work off our hands! We had a great turnout this weekend (as you can see from the pictures) at CentroNia on 11th and Harvard, and this weekend (April 5) there will be another at Garrison Middle School in Baltimore. The following weekend there will be a volunteer day to break ground at the Community Academy Public Charter School location (1300 Allison St NW DC), and the weekend after that, well, Rebecca and Lola might just choose to sleep in :) Also, City Blossoms will be participating in the Mother's Day Arts and Crafts Sale at CentroNia on 14th and Columbia Rd. NW DC. If you have a hankering for some organic, handmade soaps and lotion bars, come on down!
Thanks again to all the parents and friends who came out this past weekend - you all get first dibs on the watermelons!