Blake Garden received a beautiful ash and steel bench made by students from the Introduction to Materials and Construction Class taught by Professor Linda Jewell and Ray Freeman.
The Landscape Horticulture Class from Merritt College taught by Chris Gramp held their final class in the garden on Friday.
Cal Day was on Saturday, April 20th and the garden was open for visitors. About 150 people came to picnic, tour, play and make in the garden. Many came from the campus Cal Day activities and others were from the Kensington neighborhood enjoying the beautiful sunny spring day.
Within the last few days we have gotten over 5 inches of rain. A tributary of Cerrito creek runs through the garden and is impacted by urban runoff. The video is of water blasting through the garden after a big down pour on Sunday morning. We recently repaired the base of the waterfall with volunteers from St. Mary's High School along with our staff, volunteers and EDSET interns from Albany High school. The repair seems to be holding up and was done just in the nick of time.
We found an interesting design in a landscape magazine of an "Underwater" theme garden made with succulents. We have just finished some construction at the front entrance of the greenhouse and thought we would give the design a try. The plants we used are echevarias, sedums, aeoniums, aloes, agaves, euphorbias along with some interesting rocks, sea glass and shells. Our Albany High School EDSET interns Micaela and Carl helped by the planting the beds.
Berkeley High School students from Lucinda Daly's photo class came to the garden in October, and took some stunning photos. Concurrently the U.C.Landscape Architecture Undergraduate students had their temporary installations up in the garden from the Revealing the Landscape project.
The Unseen Landscape: an installation project is done by undergraduates in the Landscape Architecture Design 101 class taught by Daphne Edwards. The students were to choose a site in the garden and design an intervention/installation to highlight a landscape feature or quality. The project is up in the garden until Friday , October 12. boards and models will be in the greenhouse to view after Wednesday, Oct. 10th.
Our 20ft waterfall on the south side of the garden is part of a tributary to Cerrito creek. Over the past several years, the 1970's era creek restoration project has been worn by the drilling forces of the winter rains. The water comes into the garden with such force that it channelizes, undercuts and washes out areas of the creek. This year we had no choice but to fix the waterfall in fear that it would collapse if we got a big rainstorm. Freshmen from St Mary's High School along with their teacher Jeff assisted staff and Blake Garden volunteers to re-stack the base of the waterfall with 80 lb. bags of concrete. Some students ziplined bags of concrete to others waiting below, who stacked and spiked it into place with steel rebar. Above the waterfall, others were taking out excess gravel that had washed down from above, and moved it to regrade the path of the nearby wetland and new grassland. Weeds from the creek bed were added to compost piles that will be used in the future to boost the soil quality of new planting beds for native grasses. Our two EDSET interns, Karl and Michala, from Albany High School assisted with the project. [nggallery id=183]
We continue to develop the wetland and the hillside above. The hillside was planted with Acacia baileyana to prevent erosion. Because it is invasive if allowed to flower and go to seed, we decided to shrub it and replace it gradually with native grasses and succulents that are also good for erosion control. By cutting it back hard periodically it provided us with some interesting material to replace an aging bamboo and twine fence that we put around the perimeter of the wetland to protect newly planted native wetland species. Volunteers and students stripped the acacia branches, developed some mock ups for the fence design and are installing the the branches around the wetland. The branches are tied together with bark stripped from the branches and then soaked in water to become more pliable. This is another example of regenerative design that we use in the garden.
The Greater Bay Area Regional School Garden Network is a regional chapter of the California School Garden Network and is made up of all kinds of different people: teachers, school administrators, artists, gardeners and organizations who support the School Garden Movement. The group meets twice annually to discuss and share information promoting ecological literacy among school children and communities.