We have high hopes for the play area and community space to be built across the street by the Kaboom Foundation. Our efforts at the corner of West Elizabeth and Lytle Streets will harmonize well with that.
Little by little, I think, we are all learning to re-connect with the rest of Nature. Early this Spring a child asked me if I would be building plants again this year. Rather than put on my teacher hat and deliver a lecture about how I don't build plants Nature does, I just said "Yeah", knowing that regardless of what I did, many plants were going to grow in this garden. And grow they did:
There's horseradish coming up all by itself; I potted up one in case anyone wants to grow it in their garden - just come and get it. There are daylilllies in bloom, and roses, and a whole living fence-row of rose-of-sharon. The peach and apricot trees flowered and got hit by a late frost; this seems to have doomed the apricots to no fruit this season, but the peaches are coming on. The fig trees - ever optimistic - always survive the winter regardless of whether they get protected from the cold or not; but they would really rather be living somewhere warmer such as southern Italy. Basil - welcome to all to come harvest. "Volunteer" tomatoes (ones that come up on their own from tomato seeds that fell to the ground last year). There are a couple pepper plants I wish people would let get completely ripe before they pick them. Garlic is such a healthful plant that I've put it everywhere in the garden; it's pretty much ready now, so help yourself if you know how to pick it - the bulbs are under the ground and so have to be dug up. There are a few raspberries and we had a few small strawberries. Maybe we'll get a few black currants this year. We're overflowing with oregano, chives, catnip, thyme. Volunteer squash is fixin to go climbing over the roses and rose-of-sharon (with my help training it so it doesn't bury the walkways). Various mints - peppermints, apple mints, spearmints, and others - are intermingling and spreading (and where they're not wanted I pull them and use them for mulch to improve the soil as they rot down in the walkways or compost). Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) are becoming a weed and I'm mostly pulling them up since few know about them; they're a small tuber that are expensive if you find them in a grocery store. Cilantro (coriander) is growing in various places. Arugula is a peppery salad green I like. The one pine tree gets bigger every year. Collards re-seed themselves from previous years' plants so I never have to plant them. The same with chamomile, which provides a pretty little flower for tea. The irises (also known as flags) have already jumped up and flowered on a couple of edges of the garden and are now just green stalks waiting for next year to flower again. Potatoes are growing under one of the peach trees. The tough, fragrant fern yarrow comes up and spreads a little each year right nearby; it's an extremely bitter-tasting medicinal with a pretty small yellow flower. The insects - bumblebees, honeybees, and others - have not been super-abundant this year but of course they and their pollination services are most welcome. I've had to pull out a good many sunflowers that have sprouted up from seeds from last year that fell to the ground; they're beautiful, but there's only so much room. Purslane and lambs quarters ("edible weeds") spring up everywhere; people have been eating them for thousands of years and they are both very nutritious. As usual, radishes I planted shot up (they only take 25 days to grow) and they got tough before I got around to picking them. People don't know you can eat radish leaves since the green part has the same taste as the radish itself which grows under the ground. It's always nice to turn people on to chives as it's bud and flower is a beautiful purple and can be eaten the same as the stems; they're in the same family as onions and garlic, come back every year, and can be eaten raw or cooked in soups or salads. All the allium family - onions, garlic, leeks, scallions - are both food and medicine (as are all food plants, for that matter). Birds are always passing through having something to eat. Most everybody likes the high-vitamin c taste of French sorrel (named by one of the children "lemon plant"). And most everyone likes the taste of fennel, which has a feathery leaf. We have hyssop growing here too. Both fennel and hyssop have a sweet taste - similar to anise seed and licorice root.
It would be nice to have a little pond at Everyone's Garden some day, with: underwater plants to put oxygen in the water; snails to keep the algae down, and fish to eat any mosquito eggs that get laid on the surface or mosquito larvae that hatch into the water. You wouldn't necessarily have to have any expensive electric aeration system, as natural water ecosystems did just fine for millions of years before we humans invented all our fancy technologies.
composter and biotech researcher 412-421-6496