“Somehow” the garden got out of control again, and we have our work cut out for us this year. Canada thistles are poking up in the “wet end,” and there are way too many plantains and orchardgrass and filarees and knapweeds and poison hemlocks.
We are also working on the planned interpretive signage this spring, but more on that will follow soon. Lots going on—new paving and plaza with landscaping are also being installed in front of the Trading Post April-May 2014.Sally checked things out with “new Chris” (who works for Aramark) a few days before the work session and caught the wild plums in full bloom. Chris has been hired to do various landscape-related jobs around the Amphitheatre and Trading Post, and has been revamping the backyard landscape, as well as helping with the parking lot project.
Here’s a gallery showing people at work. Click on photos for slideshow, larger view, full captions.
Attending: Chris and Molly, Jim and Joan, Jim, Rob, Stephanie, Sally, Virginia, Evoo. Mike and Russ from Friends of Red Rocks also dropped in. Thanks to Russ for the group photos!
Labor Day weekend, and no concert. A small, dedicated group of volunteers turns up to pull weeds in the perennial project at the Red Rocks Native Garden! In Sally’s absence most of the summer, it’s clear that the team has been carrying on effectively. The upper shrub bed actually looked pretty well tamed!
With all the rain this summer, we half expected an unrecognizable jungle out there, but in fact the desired plants made themselves visible amid the weeds, quite a few were in late-summer bloom, and we have some clear successes there. Here’s a sample of what’s in bloom this week (click to enlarge).
At the end of the morning’s work, our intrepid band posed with their accumulation of weeds for the traditional photo.
Note the snow on the hillside horizon behind Red Rocks as we checked out the garden in early May. The dried spent flowers of rabbitbrush (left) are the main evidence of a former lively season, and blue flags provide the only color. They also hint at hidden hopes for a new season.
Within a few short weeks, however, as soil warms and days lengthen, the garden springs to life. Susan gathers dandelion greens for a spring tonic, and there’s plenty of work for the weeders. Most of the bright green grass is an unwelcome exotic and will have to go! Native warm season grasses that will dominate and bloom in summer’s heat are still dormant this early in the year.
For a while it was just Jim and Sally plugging away, but in time some of our other regulars turned up. First Cy, first-timer Susan, and Merry, then Chris, Sean, and our two younger volunteers, Keagan and James, getting their garden careers off to a good start.
Thanks, everyone, for braving the heat and making more good progress.
Today was volunteer day for Friends of Red Rocks, and boy did the garden need work! We asked for extra volunteers and ended up with 14 or 15 people most of the morning. A few tough souls even stayed past the normal break time about noon. A few people disappeared before we captured this group photo, and more came later, but hey, it’s a start! Above are, left to right: Jim, James, Sean, Keagan, Chris, Dawn, Jim, Cy, Joan, Neil (Neal?), Steve, Toni, and Merrie.
Doesn’t it look like Joan’s having fun? And just look at that bare patch in front of her! Today’s goal was to get some good native prairie mulch on any bare soil areas we could clear to prevent these weeds coming back before next time. I’d estimate about half the garden got “improved” and mulched, so now most of the plants that should be there can at least be seen. And we now know where we have room to add more of the right plants.
By the end of the morning, we ended up with quite a truckload! These went home with Jim and Joan to be composted.
Thanks, everyone, for great progress on the garden today! See you next time.
Because this blog is starting in the middle of a project that’s been underway for years, below this post, I’m entering “archival” information on our past work days at the garden. These are cobbled together from emails to create a record; I’ll add photos to some of them later.
Don’t read them all at once–it might be too depressing to realize how much and how often we seem to just keep on weeding and weeding and… This information is just here to refer to, so we know what happened when.
Really, there is progress! And I think, in some instances, this review will allow us to see how far we’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished. I’m planning some before-and-after photo sets too, and that will help.
This year we WILL also make real headway on the interpretive signs we’ve been discussing. I think we’re getting to the point of having a stable enough plant collection that we can finally advertise what we’re doing and why native gardens are important.