A Message from Vidya Tikku, General Manager
Boston community gardeners welcomed spring with a strong showing at our 44th Annual Gardeners’ Gathering last month held at Northeastern University. Nearly five hundred of us gathered to join Mayor Walsh in celebrating our gardeners and recognizing our outstanding achievers of the year. Mayor Walsh was joined by Chief Sheila Dillon, who has provided much- needed access to vacant land and funds for our community gardens through the Department of Neighborhood Development, and Chief Chris Cook who truly champions and brings resources, funding, programs, compost and so much more to our gardens.
Aziz Dekhan, who was our guest speaker this year, is the Executive Director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition. In his address, he shared the successes and challenges faced by community gardens in New York, and the role of community gardens in climate change mitigation through real measurements and green infrastructure. I got to spend the day before the Gathering showing Aziz around our community gardens and introducing him to partner organizations like the Food Project and the Urban Farming Institute. Aziz and I hope to continue our collaboration across the two cities, sharing resources, innovative ideas, and potentially even funding opportunities.
I want to thank every workshop presenter and volunteer, sponsors Herbstalk, Fenway Victory Gardens, The New Garden Society, Agricultural Hall, Russell's Garden Center, and Harvard Alpaca Ranch; exhibitors ReVision Urban Farm, NOFA/Mass, Friends of the Boston Schoolyards, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, COGdesign, City Soil, CitySprouts, City Compost, Bootstrap Compost, and Boston Food Forest Coalition.
Finally, it’s never too early to plan for our 45th Gardeners’ Gathering! If you have suggestions or ideas on potential guest speakers, please reach out to me at vtikku@....
Congratulations to all of the well-deserving winners of the 17th Annual Community Gardening awards!
Hall of Fame Gardener Willie Brown III of the Ed Cooper Community Garden in Roxbury
Hall of Fame Garden Rutland Washington Community Garden in the South End
Most Valuable Gardener Althea Wagman-Bolster of West Springfield Community Garden in the South End
Rookie Garden of the Year Windermere Community Garden in Dorchester.
It was wonderful to honor the CPA grant winners as well; thanks to CPA Director Christine Poff for championing support for our green open spaces.
Thanks to Mark Gardner for the photos!
What's Blooming at City Natives
– Jordan Takvorian, Steward
With a few heavy rainstorms in our wake and warm sunny days becoming the norm, the pots at City Natives are coming to life. The standard springfavorites like Solomon’s seal, bloodroot, nodding onion, and wild columbine are growing rapidly and will be blooming in no time at all. Another charming spring blooming flower is Penstemon. When planted in mass, the white and pink flowers of Penstemon sway in the wind and serve as a siren call to various bees and hummingbirds. Baptisia is another spring favorite with tall spikes of white or purple flowers that eventually morph into hardened seedpods that small children love to break off and shake like a rattle. If you’re looking for something with a bit more heft, feast your eyes upon the Brandywine Viburnum. Aromatic white flowers this spring will yield pink to purple berries this summer and attractive maroon foliage in the fall; truly a treat for all seasons.
For those looking to get their summer blooming plants in the ground this spring we have an ever-expanding selection. Shrubs like Clethra offer myriad pink or white sweetly fragrant flowers throughout July and August. Perennials such as lance-leaf Coreopsis or Ratibida coneflower offer showy yellow blooms throughout the summer that are excellent as cut flowers or can be left in the garden to attract butterflies and other pollinators.
City Natives sales hours:
Tuesdays 9AM – 2PM (April - July)
Thursdays 4PM – 7PM (April – June)
Saturdays 8AM – 11:30AM (April – May)
Full plant lists:
Spring Gardening Tips: Peas
– Michelle de Lima, Engagement Manager
This favorite early crop can give you tons of tasty pods to snack on if you get the timing and conditions right! Here are my suggestions:
- Peas don’t like the heat, so plant before the end of April to give them time to mature before summer really gets going
- If you’re short on time or space, consider a dwarf snap pea variety like Sugar Ann—your harvest will be a bit smaller, but it’ll be earlier too, and you can forgo the trellis
- Provide a tall (5-6 ft.), strong structure if growing full-sized vines—they’re surprisingly vigorous and heavy
- If you miss the spring window, you can try again in late summer for a fall harvest
- Whether or not your peas mature, you can enjoy the shoots in salads and stir fries
- Repurpose trellises for cucumbers after peas are done
– Jeremy Dick, Stewardship Manager
In addition to routine maintenance, in March stewardship focused on pruning, getting City Natives nursery up and running, and getting water to the gardens. Fruit tree pruning work included teaming up with volunteer Eric Sargent and professional Ben Crouch to work with gardeners on their own trees at The Southwest Corridor Community Farm and the Leland Cooperative Garden in Jamaica Plain.
Routine canopy pruning was done at the Berkeley Community Garden and Savin & Maywood Community Garden, as well as hazard tree removal at Savin & Maywood CG and the Paul Gore & Beecher Community Garden. All three projects were completed by contractor Tree Tech, Inc. Timber generated via these projects has been processed for mushroom logs and firewood, and will be distributed to volunteers and neighbors for use.
The greenhouse at City Natives was prepared for the season, including activating the compost heater and rain water irrigation systems.
To end the month, staff coordinated with Boston Water and Sewer Commission to install meters and activate water service to the community gardens.
Garden Tour Volunteers Needed
We need YOU to make our key community garden fundraisers happen! The South End & JP Garden Tours simply can’t happen without a large crew of volunteers. Plus, volunteers can be paired with a friend and get to see the tour for free! Sign up for the South End Garden Tour hereand the JP Garden Tour here, or reach out to Peter or Michelle with questions:pbowne@... and mdelima@...
Build Healthy Soil
Wednesday, April 24 | 6PM-7PM
Woolson Community Garden | 44 Woolson Street, Mattapan
High Yield Gardening
Saturday, April 27 | 11AM-12:30PM
Minton Stable Community Garden | 110 Williams Street, JP
Spring Perennial Divide
Sunday, May 5 | 10AM-1PM
Southwest Corridor Community Farm | 57 Lamartine Street, JP
Wild Edibles to Know and Grow with Russ Cohen
Thursday, May 9 | 6:30-8PM
City Natives | 30 Edgewater Drive, Mattapan
Wednesday, May 15 | 6:00-7:30PM
Eagle Hill Community Garden | 341 Border Street, East Boston
City Natives Plant Sale
Saturday, May 18 | 10AM-2PM
City Natives | 30 Edgewater Drive, Mattapan
South End Plant Sale
Sunday, May 19 | 10AM-2PM
Berkeley Community Garden | 500 Tremont Street, South End
Thanks for helping us achieve our goals! We’ll start fresh next month for the new fiscal year.
To purchase a membership to support the gardens or report your garden’s volunteer hours, please email jdick@... or mdelima@....