Posted tagged ‘community gardens’

Wangari Gardens Spring Kickoff Well Attended

April 5, 2016

IMG_0343Wangari Gardens held their 2016 Spring Kickoff event on Sunday April 3rd and it was a success by any measure. The garden contains 108 individual garden plots. One thing I learned on my visit was that in addition dedicated garden plots (which are inside the fence) there is also a community garden area, a community orchard, and vines have been planted along the fence which produce berries. These community areas are available to anyone who visits the gardens — meaning that if you go to the gardens and there is fruit on the tree, you are welcome to pick it. The eastern end of the garden also includes an apiary which I really like. (Learn more about Wangari Gardens here).

The open house included food, kite flying, and a tour of the garden for new gardeners and anyone who wanted to learn more about how it is organized in general. It was a beautiful day to learn more about one of our area community gardens and chat with neighbors and friends.

Wangari gardens

(From left to right, Ms. Juanita, Commissioner Boese, Wangari Gardens outreach coordinator Lan Nguyen.)

Wangari Gardens Spring Kickoff is Sunday April 3rd

April 1, 2016

If you are interested in participating in a local community garden, Wangari Gardens is having a Spring Kickoff Party on Sunday April 3 from 2-6 pm (poster below). Check out their Website to learn more.

Wangari Gardens currently has 108 plots in the garden.  The have approximately 20 plots available, however there is a wait list for people interested in getting plots. Details on gardens plots can be found here, and people interested in getting a plot can access the application form here!

This year’s kickoff party features:

  • Food and games for kids
  • Live music from the Foggy Bottom Whomp-Stompers
  • Gardening demonstrations
  • Information about becoming a plot holder at Wangari and how to get a free private plot

Wangari Garden Spring Kickoff

Wangari Gardens Fall Festival – October 18, 2015 from 2 to 6 PM!

October 6, 2015

From the Wangari Gardens Web site:

There’s a nip in the air, the leaves are turning, and it’s to get your last harvest in before winter!  To celebrate the end of the season, we are having a fall festival at wangari gardens, park place and kenyon street NW .   RSVP here.

The festival will feature:

  • Food and games for kids including a moonbounce and face painting!
  • Music by local 20s jazz band, the Foggy Bottom Whomp-Stompers!
  • Gardening demonstrations
  • Recognition and prizes for gardeners this season
  • Information about becoming a plot holder at wangari and how to get a free private plot
  • And more!

Come out and invite all your friends!

Wangari Fall Festival

ANC1A Supports Apiary at Bruce Monroe Community Garden

March 12, 2015

At last night’s meeting of ANC 1A, Commissioner Rashida Brown introduced a letter of support for an apiary (aka the place where honeybees are kept) to be added to the Bruce Monroe Community Garden. Support for the apiary was unanimous. According to the presentation, the garden will begin with one hive, which is approximately 12 x 24 x 24 feet which will have a locked fence around it. Signage will also be posted in English and Spanish.

There are currently around 20 apiaries in Washington, with local examples as near as Wangari Garden and the Twin Oaks Community Garden. Below is a diagram indicates the two locations where the apiary may be located at the garden.

Apiary BMCG

 

New Community Garden in Planning for Girard Street

January 15, 2015

At last night’s meeting of ANC 1A, the Commission was presented with a proposal by residents in the vicinity of the 1300 block of Girard Street to turn a closed alley on the block into a community garden. The alley in question is on the north side of Girard Street between 13th and 14th Streets (about 1/3 the way to the east of 14th). The alley appears to have been closed for some time and has a fire plug blocking it at the street.

The garden would be created and built by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and run by local residents. The space currently contains a number of trees and an assortment of vines and other small plants. The plan calls for an arborist to assess the health and species of the trees currently on the site. Non-native, invasive trees and smaller plants will be removed to create the garden. The large, native catalpa tree at the center-east of the lot will almost certainly remain and lend its name to the garden as Catalpa Garden.

ANC 1A voted unanimously to support the project and looks forward to seeing the plan move ahead.

Below is a plan of the proposal.

Catalpa Garden

 

Garden History at Twin Oaks Community Garden

December 1, 2014

Twin Oaks(The Twin Oaks Community Garden, at 14th and Taylor streets, NW. View of southern garden)

Community gardeners in the neighborhood will surely be familiar with the Twin Oaks Community Garden located at 14th and Taylor Streets, NW. It’s currently configured with half of the garden to the north and half of the garden to the south of Taylor Street. Interestingly, the bisected nature of Twin Oaks dates to 1920, when the site was officially established as a community playground. As part of the Powell School modernization and expansion project, the northern garden area will eventually be relocated on the hill above the turf soccer field in the Upshur Recreation Center as the school expansion calls for the garden space to become a surface parking lot for the school. None-the-less, the southern garden area will continue as a community garden along with the new Upshur Recreation location.

I’ve been intrigued by Twin Oaks for some time now. The field house on the site, built in 1934, first attracted my attention as it is a design similar to Park View’s field house, now listed on the National Register. However, when I started to look into the historic nature of Twin Oaks, I quickly learned that the gardens there have their own interesting and important history.

The Washington Youth Garden program began in a modest way at the Twin Oaks Playground in the spring of 1962 by two volunteers at the playground – Mrs. Harold Marsh and Mrs. Martin Vogel. The Department of Recreation supported the gardens and quickly expanded the program – with Twin Oaks designated as the demonstration center and headquarters – to provide an opportunity for inner city children to grow flowers and vegetables and learn from the experience. The youth garden program was co-sponsored by the D.C. Department of Recreation and the volunteer based Washington Youth Garden Council. By 1966 the Twin Oaks center was enlarged to include the abandoned tennis courts on the north side of Taylor Street. By 1977 the program had grown to include three centers and vegetable garden plots at 40 playgrounds throughout the city. The youth gardens that took root throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s transformed communities and the individual participants.

Washington Youth Garden brochure(Undated Washington Youth Gardens brochure, featuring the Twin Oaks Demonstration Center. Image from Washington Youth Garden Web site.)

The goal of the Youth Gardens was to teach elementary school students in D.C. horticultural skills and life skills such as team building, cooperation, personal responsibility, self-confidence and environmental stewardship. After a successful garden program at the Twin Oaks Playground in 1962, plans were made by the Youth Gardens Council to develop some 200 plots in over 90 playgrounds in addition to developing gardens in other lots, yards, and encouraging small projects such as window boxes and potted plants at the beginning of 1963. While the program began under the direction of recreation department horticulturist Frank L. Ford, horticulturist William C. Hash quickly became the Recreation Department’s youth program director. From the beginning, the Twin Oaks Garden Center served as the training center for volunteers and as a demonstration area for the various types of garden projects. The field house was prepared with office space in 1963 to support the administrative and training needs of the Youth Garden program.[1]

Twin Oaks Youth Gardener with radishes, ca. 1970s

Twin Oaks Youth Gardener with radishes, ca. 1970s

The Twin Oaks garden demonstration program was open to children between the ages of 8 and 16. In 1967, about 75 children participated in the program at Twin Oaks – many of whom had never visited a farm. Some children grew enough produce to take home or sell. By 1968, about 800 to 1,000 Washington children were participating city-wide.

The Washington Youth Garden received positive attention outside of the immediate community. It was of interest to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which selected the Youth Garden concept as a model for consideration as a nationwide program to be sponsored by some clubs.[2] Additionally Lady Bird Johnson’s First Lady’s Committee bestowed their More Beautiful National Capital Award to the Twin Oaks Garden Demonstration Center on June 6, 1968, specifically noting that the Twin Oaks program contributed “toward making Washington a more beautiful place for its citizens and the nation.” Twin Oaks was not only the headquarters for the Youth Garden program, it was considered the largest garden site in the Youth Garden program with about 50 plots under cultivation. This made it a logical choice when the program was expanded in 1970 with the first youth garden greenhouse, dedicated on May 15th of that year at Twin Oaks. The greenhouse remains a rare building type owned by the District of Columbia.

Lady Bird Johnson Award

In 1971, a youth garden was established at the U.S. National Arboretum as a special project. The Arboretum garden was tended by 100 youngsters from four elementary schools: Logan, Peabody, and Nalle in Northeast, and Shadd in Southeast. Access to the Arboretum was provided by buses which ran twice a week.[3] Due to D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation budget cuts in 1995, the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) increased fundraising efforts and “adopted” the Washington Youth Garden (WYG) in 1996. Today, the WYG receives in-kind support from the U.S. National Arboretum including land, soil amendments, office and greenhouse space, equipment use and horticultural expertise.

Following the budget cuts that ended the youth garden program at Twin Oaks, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation continued to operate the site as a community garden. Currently, the Twin Oaks Community Garden contained about 45 plots – located on both the north and south parcels – each about 10′x15′ and altogether encompasses almost 3/4 of an acre.

Greenhouse 1970(At the celebration opening the new greenhouse, the children wore Dutch costumes and performed Dutch folk dances as part of the ceremony)

[1] “Youth Garden Projects Start,” The Evening Star, May 10, 1963, p. A-19.

[2] Durbin, Louise. “Our Youth Garden Project,” The Washington Post, Aug. 17, 1969, p. 136.

[3] “Green, Margaret. “Youth Commended for Gardens,” The Evening Star, Sept. 8, 1971, p. C-2.

2013 Season of Gardening at the Old Soldiers’ Home About to Begin

April 12, 2013
Preparing the soil at the AFRH gardens.

Preparing the soil at the AFRH gardens.

With the warm weather, the community garden season is about to begin. In addition to both Wangari and the Bruce Monroe gardens, gardening at the Old Soldiers’ Home is about to begin.

A week ago, equipment was brought in to begin the process of preparing the AFRH garden plots near the intersection of Park Place and Rock Creek Church Road. They are scheduled to be done today so that gardening can begin.

Among the reasons I’m so excited by the start of gardening season are that it is a restful activity similar to going to the country (even though you’re still in the city) and that last year we had a significant amount of surplus produce that we donated to the Senior Wellness Center. I’m hoping this year is as successful.

sss

Tilling the soil at the Soldiers’ Home

Share


%d bloggers like this: