Join us Wednesday in the garden

Join us for a beautiful fall evening in the garden! Wednesday evening, 5pm to sunset.

Finally, a break in the weather… which means new plants!

Ecologically and individually, extreme heat and drought can make life miserable. For me, it is very hard to go out into the heat and intense light to provide the care that plants, especially newly planted ones, need. So, what a relief to feel the air, the breeze, the mist and coolness.

This spring, we ordered small plants to enrich species diversity at Waters Garden and the Riverbank Neighbors Natural Area. I hesitated to “plug them in” because I feared that they would not survive the possible heat, drought, intense sun, and competition from much stronger, aggressive, and more established plants. So we decided to re-pot them with bigger containers and care for them at school and at our homes–with constant attention, watering, fertilizing, bug control, etc. We put some into the ground as a control, to see how they would do. We tried to water and weed these young ones too, but without the persistence and closeness of garden care.

The difference was obvious and huge. Today, we have some big, beautiful plants (some 10 or 15 times bigger) that are ready to be re-introduced to our existing plant community.

The method we use is interesting. We choose a place in the natural area over-dominated by aggressive natives: rosin weed, saw-toothed sunflower, heliopsis, etc. And we remove them in a restricted area, deep down to the roots, and loosen the soil and add amendments (weed-free compost, peat moss, sand) to increase soil water retention and absorption. Then we plant, and protect the plants with fencing and flagging, so that we can keep track, and add water or bug protection if needed.

This is a higher level of commitment, to go through this process and then watch, watch, watch, and care. So that’s one of the more complicated, careful, dedicated tasks on the list for riverbank and Waters Garden. Are you game?? Let us know.

– Pete

Mark your calendars for the Sustainability Market, hosted by Reduce Waste Chicago and the North Center Neighbors Association. Northcenter Town Square will be filled with eco-minded vendors, artists, and organizations—as well as material collections by Reduce Waste Chicago, EcoShip, and Working Bikes!

Click here for more details.