by Kathy Busick
Tropical Storm Sally cleanup
There may be a hint of cooler weather in the air (Florida’s idea of cooler weather), but most work days are still hot and humid. The rains and winds from TS Sally hit the trees in the area the Girl Scouts planted especially hard. Many had snapped branches and had toppled over. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers Ernest, Scot and Howard and a whole mess of stakes and rope, they are all standing upright again. They took the time to prune all the trees to remove the extra weight that may cause them to fall again.
Koi pond refresh
Even though our volunteer numbers remain low, we continue to tackle different areas to beautify. One of the areas that has undergone quite a transformation is the koi pond with the little wooden bridge. It was “down on your hands and knees weeded” by the volunteers – Jean, Karen J, Paula and me. Ross Becker edged the area and Joe DeBacker and his crew delivered buckets of pea gravel to freshen the area. It is such a popular place for photos that we wanted it to sparkle. When the sun hits that area it is so beautiful. One of our patrons donated a unique colored bougainvillea in a large pot. It adds a pop of color to the bridge. Watch out for the thorns.
Propagation and Plant Sales
Paula continues to propagate many of the cuttings from our pruning efforts as well as clippings she gets from friends and fellow gardeners. She has amassed quite the collection and is eager to add them to the gardens, as well as sell them at our plant sales. The news that the Farmer’s Market will open in a few weeks means we can once again hold plant sales the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. We will be right next to the Lakes Park Enrichment Foundation Table.
“Team work makes the dream work!”
And that is never more true than in the gardens at Lakes Park. Without our close collaboration with the Park staff, we wouldn’t be able to do all that we do. Volunteers worked together to remove an old unused compost area in back of the sheds. The fence posts and wire were removed (easier said than done). Under all the weeds was a pile of gold to a gardener. The composted soil was so rich and worth taking the time to sift and put in garbage cans to store for future use. Soil was brought in, a tree removed to give the other trees a chance to grow, and new plantings from our collection were added. Together volunteers and park staff cleared an area of old, no longer healthy trees to prepare for more appropriate plantings for that area. Hopefully next month I can tell you what we planted.
If you walk the path on the left of the Community Garden and near the water, you will see some big changes. In an attempt to keep the area weeded and soil from washing into the water, we weeded, trimmed, removed bushes and invasive plants and added large rocks to the edge closest to water. We began planting different grasses to hold in the soil and beautify the area. Quite the challenge to dig holes for plants in that rocky, almost soilless area.
Many of the bromeliads are blooming and are quite spectacular. Did you know that they only bloom once in their life time?
There are so many folks who walk through the gardens and take the time to thank us and ask questions! It makes all we do so worthwhile.