Since late May of 2022, CCG has run family-oriented open hours on Friday afternoons from 4-6 pm. These opportunities to rest, revive, and work in the garden will continue until October 21st. Over the last several months, we’ve opened our gates to neighbors wandering by with their toddlers and friends traveling from afar to pitch in at the garden. This page serves as a record of the plants who greeted and nurtured us, the food harvested and consumed, the playtime and the maintenance achieved, all building into another growing season flying by.
Early in May, we cleared beds on the south end of the garden and put in donated annual vegetable seedlings coming from friends, volunteers, and local farms like Edible Uprising. We put in tomatoes, peppers, egg plant, and a range of brassicas like kale and broccoli. If you scroll down to photos from late August at the bottom of this page, it’s amazing how much the garden has grown since Spring. Garden volunteer Azuré Keahi’s vibrant signs on everything from weeding etiquette to the value of biodiversity are a mainstay of the CCG experience.
Later in May we spend time in the L-Lot, a heavily vegetated piece of land that is also home bee hives, rapidly growing volunteer tree seedlings, and a range of wildflowers and dye plants that have self-seeded over the years from prior plantings. This land isn’t suitable for growing food due to industrial contamination, but the raised hugel culture beds built over recent years can host flowering plants with a range of benefits. We cleared a bed for a fresh batch of flower seedlings, trimmed back enthusiastic ailanthus and mulberry sprouts, and constructed a pollinator garden in the center of the lot with plants gifted and donated by friends, volunteers, and local floral and garden designer Flower Scout. Seedlings ranged from zinnia and echinacea to an unusual datura. After playtime and snack time, our toddler brigade hauled water from our soon-to-be-extended hose hook up in the NATURE lab yard next door, having fun while completing the important work of watering in the new seedlings.
Mid-June found us harvesting cherries at the food forest at Freedom Square. Neighbors wandered by, intrigued to see garden volunteer Christian Grigoraskos overhead picking bags of ripe fruit. Folks who passed by left with at least a cup, if not a bag, full of cherries. Some fruit was frozen for potential jam-making, and lots was eaten on the spot by hungry kiddos and their parents. As we picked, we also harvested mugwort, a powerful and prolific plant that volunteers in dense stands all around the Sanctuary campus. Huge bundles of this mugwort are drying in our Carriage House, giving off a spicy scent that might eventually lend itself to wreaths, dream pillows, or smudge sticks.
After a month of peaches, currants, and raspberries, lots of sorrel and other delicious greens, late August brought peppers, potatoes, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumbers, egg plant, producing fruit alongside important pollinator & medicinal plants like bee balm, yarrow, and evening primrose…something new each week. Along with towering sunflowers that feel more like trees than annual plants, and robust grape and ground nut vines, the garden in August is a lush jungle of biodiversity and nourishment, and a playground and respite for all of us who walk through the gate each Friday afternoon. Photos below trace the course of the season, and will continue to accumulate as we work our way towards October!