Girl Scouts help out with composting
A Girl Scout group from Kensington came to the garden to learn about composting. We put them to work by piling browns (leaves)and greens (weeds) onto one pile and adding water. Other scouts shoveled decomposed compost from another pile onto a screen. After sifting through 1/2 inch and then 1/4 inch screens the result is rich dark brown compost that smells like the rain forest. Through the process the girls discovered many of the decomposers doing their job in the piles. Red worms, sow bugs, springtails, benificial bacteria and fungi are what we saw or saw evidence of. In an hour we made a wheelbarrow of compost to add to the garden.
Origami Pots at Mini Maker Faire
The Mini Maker Faire was held Sunday at Park Day School and Studio Art Center in Oakland. We were asked to come and give a demonstration. Our demonstration was making origami pots out of non toxic newsprint (San Francisco Chronicle) and starting California native flowers seeds in anticipation of the winter rain.
Gifts from the Carmelites
The Nuns presented us with a cast iron plaque originally made for the Edwin Blake estate which served as their Monastery for many years. Also, the Nuns presented some Guernsey lilies to us for planting. These lilies are native to Africa and were brought to the Edwin Blake estate by Mr. and Mrs. Anson Blake who were horticulturists.
After years of rusting, our wheelbarrows were repaired by the architecture shop at the College of Environmental Design saving us from having to replace them.
Construction on ramp resumes
The progress continues on the handicap ramp leading to our new handicap bathroom. Steel posts were put into the ground ten feet deep and then concrete was poured into the hole to hold them in place. The path structure will be attached to the top of the posts.
Recently our neighbor's bamboo grove went to seed and was cut down by contractors. With the help of our EDSET interns from Albany High School, we cut, bundled, and hauled it to the garden. The timing was good, for all of our bamboo structures that have been up for several years ( see the posts about the bamboo tunnel, the bamboo aqueduct) need repair or replacement.
New grads campout at Blake
As an orientation event this year for the U.C. Berkeley Landscape Architecture Department, we held a cook out and a campout at the garden. During breakfast we had a quick craft activity making handmade sketchbooks, razor strops, and bamboo ink pens.
Construction at Blake progressing
The construction continues as we are putting in a handicap accessible pathway from the Event lawn area to the new handicap accessible bathroom that was put in a few months ago. Construction should be complete within the next couple of weeks.
Garden Guild at Blake
The Garden Guild from the East Bay came for a tour and a picnic last week. The weather was stunning and the NASA shuttle flew over while we were getting ready for the tour. Garden Guild member Charlotte Ferrey shared some photos with us, four of which are below. For more beautiful photos by Charlotte click HERE.
A very large Octopus Agave, Agave vilmoriniana, was donated by our neighbor, Rudy Schmidt, a retired botany professor at U.C. Berkeley. We planted it out on the lookout as a replacement for the invasive Acacia baileyana trees that have been doing their job to stop the steep slope at the lookout from eroding, but when allowed to flower and go to seed they spread throughout this area of the garden.