Mushroom Compost and Community Gardening in Baltimore, MD

 
To these ten little feet, we call it Mushroom Dirt.  Grown-ups call it compost! Picture courtesy of CarlisleFlowers
To these ten little feet, we call it Mushroom Dirt. Grown-ups call it compost!
Picture courtesy of CarlisleFlowers
Shame, shame on us- fried chicken, spicy no less for Sunday dinner.  No veggies except coleslaw.  Hubbie in line for the family style box, movement to my left compelled me to get out of the car.  100 yards away were neighbors from the Radford-Winston area of North Baltimore (near Loyola College ) who were divvying up their vegetables for the week.  Every Sunday afternoon that is what they do, take their bounty from the raised framed rectangles and squares and enjoy their urban raised produce for the week.  This ritual lasts from April to November.  I suspect that it lasts all year long with talk of what seeds they'll use next year, how will they rotate crops, and how will they rotate gardeners cum farmers. There is a hedge between the fried chicken parking lot and this half acre cultivated land.  Doesn't that sound nice, "Cultivated Land" as if the very fact of tilling, seeding and growing bounty gives the land a higher meaning.  Musing aside, children ran here and there.  A spokeswoman for the group pointed to the elevated sprinkler attached to a pole.  The children raced between the mist and what was left of the mushroom compost.  Its color, darker than dark compelled further inspection.  In fact if I wasn't being beckoned to the car, my shoes would be off and running straight for that mushroom dirt too.          

Nature Art in the Park, Leakin Park, Baltimore, Maryland

This is a continuously evolving exhibition from May 19 - November 10, 2013!
Flying Alligator by Fred Merrill, Photo Courtesy: CarlisleFlowers
Flying Alligator by Fred Merrill, Photo Courtesy: CarlisleFlowers
Nature Art in the Park is an outdoor summer exhibition of nature-based art installations along the trails & fields in Gwynns Falls / Leakin Park- and campus grounds of the Carrie Murray Nature Center. Gwynns Falls Park is Baltimore’s largest urban forest. Nature Art in the Park is an independent artists’ endeavor to promote art that acknowledges & honors the natural world and our place in it. We are soliciting artist proposals for nature-based and generally site-specific works to be installed in an urban forest environment and grounds of the Carrie Murray Nature Education Center. To facilitate global community eco arts participation, non-physical, conceptual and documentary nature art elements will also be supported and displayed. General project & site information:  www.NatureArtInThePark.org

Fern Exchange Goes Well

Native Fern Maryland
Native Fern Maryland
This just in (over the wire?).  Friend gives friend fern.  What appeared to be a political blunder this afternoon,  a gardener from outside the beltway gave a gardener from inside the beltway a native fern.  It was a tense scene as the city gardener put her spade into the ground to uproot the fern's crown.  The fern's runners were considered a victory dig as well.  The gardeners promised that there would never be another exchange, that the woody habitat outside the beltway could not be duplicated inside the beltway but felt reasonably comfortable that in an ideal situation, the fern would proliferate very well.  This is live from Baltimore.

Coleus Sunshine

Sunshine Coleus, CarlisleFlowers permission
Sunshine Coleus, credit:CarlisleFlowers
It's Mother's Day weekend and the gardening mother is taken by the non-gardening father to Cylburn Arboretum's Annual Market Day.  We went directly to the hothouse where it was single file down the line of annuals propagated by the City of Baltimore's citizens, friends and staff.  The choice of coleuses was overwhelming.  My husband stood tall and guarded our picks because swooping hands were flying low.  I asked for his advice trying to arrange a tall center plant, a medium size spreading plant and a trailer for my containers.  Yet my dear one spied the hot lick of the day, the Sunshine Coleus.  Going against all the rules I bought three for each planter and will have only a mounded grouping.  They are so gorgeous I'm not sure anything could pair with them.
Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD, Courtesy: Cylburn Arboretum Association
Cylburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD, Courtesy: Cylburn Arboretum Association
Upon leaving (with dollars to spare!), I happily told hubby that these coleuses, brassy bold, were favorites of the Victorians.  He asked if they were annuals.  "Yes," I said.  "Can we get them back?" he wanted to know.  "Only if we come to Cylburn next year.  And hon, (so Baltimorese) I'm so glad you picked them out."  "See," as people admired our cache on the way out, "all gardeners smile at each other.  They don't need to talk about anything else but flowers and trees.
1870 English Victorian Garden, Courtesy, The Flower Museum, London, England
1870 English Victorian Garden, Courtesy, The Flower Museum, London, England
St. Louis Victorian Garden, Courtesy: Missouri Botanical Garden
Victorian Garden, Courtesy: Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO
www.cylburnassociation.org www.gardenmuseum.org.uk

Sunflowers and Safari King

Sunflowers and Safari King
Sunflowers and Safari King
Sunflowers were the American queen at the Waverly Farmers' Market this past Saturday.  Five dollars for 5 stems was the going rate and people were paying it gladly.  We couldn't let well enough alone here, had to introduce Safari King to the Queen and give them a staff and some trailing eucalyptus for their royal majesties.

Sea Oats and Hyssop

Sea Oats and Hyssop
Sea Oats and Hyssop
Went to the Waverly Market in Baltimore this past weekend and what did we find - sea oats.  If you look closely at the picture above you see little green flags like masts waving in the wind.  Reminds one of a Calderesque mobile, something I want in my garden next year.  Following up in this vertical line-up, lavender hyssop (also known at agastache), the tops of lambs' ear, and butterfly bush.