Monday, September 5, 2011

Late Summer Magic

Blue sky. The golden angle of the sun. And a warm tomato sandwich.

Late summer is a time like no other, whether outside watching the fuzzy little butterflies called "skippers" in the garden, or inside the kitchen with some fresh-picked tomatoes. Even if the livin' ain't easy, these kind of days make you want to rise up singin' anyway!

After waiting what seemed like forever to enjoy my first tomato sandwich of the summer, I am delighted at the bounty that is coming in now, as well as gastronomically giddy about the prospect of an unusually tomato-full September.

Another eagerly-anticipated delight is my little sweet corn "field of dreams". This was born from the fact that I wasn't able to finish planting my back garden island bed this spring. Rather than simply lay wood chip mulch over the empty spots, I decided to plant one of my favorite crops, and one that I can't grow at my Magnuson P-Patch plot because of the smart and savvy crows there. It tassled pretty short, but the ears are growing larger every day and I am filled with hope.

A New Landscape for Magnuson Community Center

You may remember hearing about the Magnuson Community Center Bird-friendly Landscape in one of my past posts. This 3000 square foot public garden is a project that I've been deeply involved in (pun intended) since 2007. The Bird-friendly Landscape contains plants and garden features that provide food, water, shelter, and nesting places for native birds, and which are appropriate for urban-size gardens. It is located just across the driveway from the Community Center, inside the historic district of Magnuson Park.

The new project is a Resource Conservation Landscape, which will completely transform the 3000 square feet of sloped beds surrounding the Community Center building. The Resource Conservation Landscape is designed to demonstrate how to control erosion on slopes by building healthy soil with organic matter, using natural materials such as downed logs and local rock to create terraced areas, and planting native trees and shrubs that have root systems with slope-holding ability. The entire landscape will also be very bird-friendly... and we hope that a few of the tree frogs in the Bird-friendly Landscape will hop on over too!

Building the Resource Conservation Landscape will involve collaboration between Magnuson grounds crew staff, Magnuson Community Center Advisory Council members and staff, and volunteers. If you know of a scout troop or campfire group, service learning students, or any other group that may be interested, please pass along my contact information- thanks. And come on by the community center anytime to see both landscapes!
Magnuson Community Center
7110 62nd Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115

Don't Forget to Water Your Garden this Week
We've had almost no rain since July 1st, and the soil is now extremely dry. These last few weeks of very low humidity have been the tipping point for a lot of plants, and caused them to become drought-stressed. Significant, soaking rains could be a month away, and the coming week is predicted to have record high temperatures. Make sure to give your plants a nice, deep, cool drink of water sometime this week, preferably early in the morning.

Fall will be in the air soon, and with it the annual change of sun, sky, and color. The best time of year for planting and putting down strong roots. It's a season that I look forward to each year and love to experience. In the meantime, I'm gonna eat a lot of tomato sandwiches! And I hope that these late summer days will be full of joy and peace for you and your family.

  • National Wildlife Federation Certified Landscape Professional - creating a nationwide "green corridor" of backyard wildlife sanctuaries.

  • Co-Star partner in the Envirostars Program- increasing environmental stewardship in the Pacific NW