On Friday, August 26, the garden held a welcome reception for the new Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning students. Students, faculty and staff came to the late afternoon reception. After the reception, about 20 graduate students and staff camped out in the garden . Saturday morning we woke to coffee and muffins and worked on handmade sketchbooks and drawing pens made with materials from the garden.
The parking structure built in the 1970's for additional parking and as a turn around was taken down today. It was slowly collapsing over the past few months. We relocated our bees that had been housed on the site to a new site on the east side of the creek near the greenhouse. Removing the structure opens up new views into the hollow below and also opens many possibilities, and we look forward to exploring new ideas for the space.
Crestmont Elementary School Kindergardeners toured the garden and fed the Koi fish, interviewed the Landscape architecture graduate students who were installing a new bench they had designed and built, and they picked up magnolia leaves from the event lawn and worked in the create with nature zone building sculpture from natural materials from the garden.
Last week a swarm of bees congregated outside the greenhouse office. We called our beekeeper, Chris Bauer to inform him of the hive that was forming in a small tree near our door. Geared up, Chris cut the bee covered old branch and dropped the bees into a box. We moved the bees to their new location on the east side of the creek.
After several weeks of cleanup that involved our crew of staff,volunteers & workstudy students, the campus arborist crew, and finally professional arborists to do the crane work, the removal of the failed Italian stone pines is complete. The materials that we gleaned from the process provided logs for hewing into garden structures, mountains of great mulch for the planting beds and some "pizzas" for the Create-With-Nature-Zone.
The UC College of Environmental Design held a two day event that included student presentations, lectures, and award ceremonies. Events were held at Wurster Hall and Oakland Museum of Art. The garden was asked to participate by providing flowers for the public events. Anastasia , one of our workstudy students at the garden, was the lead designer and made some colorful & stunning arrangements out materials collected from the garden.
One of the many sustainable practices we engage in at Blake Garden is collecting seed from our flowers and vegetables. The flower shown is Lavatera trimestris, annual mallow. Once the seeds are ripe, we collect, then separate the seeds from the rest of the flower. This year, we donated our surplus seeds to the Richmond Public Library’s Seed Lending Library where they are available to the public free of charge. This is a great community resource to which we are delighted to contribute. For more information about their program and seed saving, visit their website at http://www.richmondgrows.org/
The stone pine cleanup continues with campus arborists, Bill, Doug and Angel with help from our staff, Mike and volunteers, Peter and Kevin. They are chipping the smaller pieces of pine creating some great mulch to be used in the garden beds. Larger pieces will be stored and used later for hand hewn benches & fences.
It's Big. Planting a Giant Sequoia completes our full flush of redwoods: the Sequoiadendron giganteum is the most massive tree in the world and can live to be 3000 years old. Danny, one of our work-study students, and Dawn, one of our gardeners, planted the the big tree sequoia in the lower part of the Coast Redwood grove. The Coast Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, is the tallest tree in the world. Our grove was planted by the Blakes in the early 1920s. Some of the Coast Redwoods came from their former residence in the area that is now the site of the stadium on the U.C. Campus. Below the new big tree redwoods are three Dawn Redwoods, the Metasequoia gliptrostroboides. The Dawn Redwood is native to China and was thought to be extinct for millions of years; they are deciduous and were planted sometime between 1922 and 1959. This new Giant Sequoia was graciously donated to the garden by a neighbor.
Olive trees, Olea europaea, originally from the Mediterranean do well in our climate. We recently planted two in the hollow overlooking the bay. These are Mission Olives, and have been propagated from trees from the one of the Spanish missions here in California. These 2 trees were given to the garden by one of our volunteers.