Friday, August 22, 2014

Garden party success

It was an absolute pleasure and delight to participate in my friend Megan's first (and hopefully annual) Summer Garden Party. I've known Megan, also known as The Creative Vegetable Gardener, for several years, and have learned a lot from the classes she's taught around town.

We started at Megan's new home (only been there three months!) where 40 people brought their favorite pot luck brunch dishes. People got to know one another as guests arrived on a perfect summer morning. Megan introduced herself and the three other gardeners, myself, Janet and Brian.

Gardener, friend and blogger Megan Cain.

Megan talked about her garden, what they had done and what they plan to do, and then we drove over to Janet's home which is just a few blocks from our house.

Janet gave us a tour of her front, side and back yards. Janet isn't afraid to try something new, and is an avid perennial food gardener, and has lots of fruit trees and bushes throughout her urban lot.



One of the neatest features in Janet's back is a solar photo-voltaic array that doubles as a shelter, and in the summer, she uses it to dry garlic.

Janet's back yard is a lush canvass of annual and perennial food production. Except for the paths, every square inch is growing something edible or beautiful.

After spending an hour in Janet's corner of paradise, we moved one block over and one block down to Brian's home. Janet told us she "doesn't move dirt" to create what she wants. Brian told us "I move dirt, lots and lots of dirt." He's not afraid to dig and dig until the landscape works for him and the plants he wants to grow.

Brian also keeps bees, is about to erect a permanent greenhouse and is also fond of experimenting. While he's trying to figure out what to do with his front terrace, he's keeping it productive with cover crops such as winter rye.
Brian introducing people in front of his house.

Brian and I both collect coffee grounds from the same cafes on Madison's east side. He piles them in a cool and shady corner of his lot, where red wiggler worms turn it into fantastic compost. Like me, he's still not sure what to do about all those coffee filters.

After spending an hour or so in Brian's yard, we moved one more block over and a few more blocks down to our house. I hurried ahead to greet people as they arrived.

Waiting for guests to arrive. The terrace wild flower and butterfly garden is looking great in its second year.

I gave a tour of the front yard orchard, explaining how we sheet-mulched it and what trees and fruit bushes we are growing.
Showing the side yard and perennial herb garden.
There were only two gardeners with chicken coops on the tour, Megan also had one. As I'm seeing more and more coops here in Madison, I'm now realizing we've build more of a palace than a coop :)