March

05-IMG_8402When I look at the pictures of what happened the month of March as an overview I see an overwhelming theme of working together on common tasks, negotiating  shared space and tools while paying close attention to all of our senses.

Listening for the bird song that grew as the month progressed, smelling the varying sweet air as waves of blossoms  passed, watching and charting growth and the  physical labour of weeding, transplanting, seeding and harvesting was what March was all about.

This month also found our small  stewardship team joining with Environmental Youth Alliance for a shared day of family local stewardship, our time spent between Trillium and  Strathcona’s new wildlife garden being created a block away.

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EYA folks helped transplant some of the sedges we didn’t want to their wetland area, and brought up more cattail and juncus in exchange!

A trip to the  Park Board nursery for plant pick up and the new textile garden bed redesigned and  planted.

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40 huechera were planted in the textile bed- its common name is Alum Root… Alum is  a main mordant for  attaching dye to cloth, so we are excited to experiment with this plant that is classed as a bio-accumulator, pulling alum from the soil.

The students work crossed over with the larger community indirectly- students flagged the invasives they found on site that could be removed during springbreak community stewardship time and after the break carried on with the remaining planting in the semi-wetland area.

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A cool damp windy day but we got daylilies planted in the textile bed. Day lilies are the best local rope making fibre plant we have found so far for easy use, beautiful rope and  plentiful plants that are drought tolerant. Hundreds of day lilies have been taken out of the Strathcona Garden, so we are happy to plant some out of the  native species area as well as give some to the school for ongoing class use. The girls decided the plants needed names, so sticks were labeled accordingly… The clip board notes below have a touch of legitimacy added with mud spears and rain drops.

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One of the things I keep stressing to the students is to take the time and measure the plants- I  think this reinforces the process of actually seeing versus just glancing, and I am a big fan of using our bodies as measuring methods as a way of knowing how to use what you already have ‘on hand’ so tools become a bonus for accuracy but not a must. It also serves as a way placing ourselves  and physically connects us to  the plants we are looking at.

March 24

This was a big work day with multiple tasks. Students were divided into groups to work on specific tasks that related to the areas they tended and other planted spaces, It worked well giving each group a task list for them to follow and each group had an adult to assist the process. I gave a demonstration on transplanting and seeding  and time was spent in sit-spots measuring new growth, charting new blooms and we noticed the cherry trees were in full bloom

Tasks included: Group 1- transplanting cattail and iris from an area being used as a footpath, plants given to another group for planting, and invasive removal.

Group 2- gathering seeds still  on stalks, prepping their  space, and sowing seeds.

Group 3-  weeding an area for cattails and iris to be planted, and then planting, finding small yarrow suitable for transplanting to areas that are bare.

Group 4-weeding area for seeding- lots of grass in this area, and seeding pearly everlasting as a wildflower- with seeds donated from another local gardener. Also transplanting iris and yarrow.

and then, March 31st was a great day for harvest of the willow and sedges we will be weaving  in April.