Wednesday 29 June 2011

Summer- are you here to stay?

After an unusually cold, wet spring (it is currently 16 degrees celsius...), we have recently been blessed with a few encouraging days of sunshine.  The garden has responded in earnest...

our first peas

poppies in plum hues

globe radishes

 strawberry debut

 hand-pollinated apples

ripening blueberries


up to our armpits in cover crops of fava beans & buckwheat

California poppies- the cherished volunteers

renegade kale in the concrete...

The garden will be at its height of glory for the 3-day Think & Eat Green at School
Summer Institute next week.  An outdoor classroom of wild delights...

Friday 24 June 2011

a good time had by all...

Thank you to everyone who made yesterday possible, and to everyone who attended our Solstice Celebration.  The clouds parted just in time for a beautiful garden celebration featuring delicious food prepared by our team and inspired by the garden:

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces from our gardening and learning community, including those from the UBC Farm & the UBC Botanical Garden, the Environmental Youth Alliance, the Faculty of Education, including Dean Blye Frank, as well as those from the Faculty of Land & Food Systems and the School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture.  With live music, painting birdhouses, photo installations, and garden tours, it was a wonderful way to share the garden and build our community.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

party tomorrow!

look what we built today!

2 of these beautiful Western red cedar tables were built in preparation for our Summer Solstice Celebration!  Tomorrow 2-4pm- everyone is welcome!

you'll be the first to taste our new spring potatoes just dug yesterday...

as well as other tasty nibbles from the garden including strawberry rhubarb lemonade, kale chips, herbal iced tea, lavender ginger scones, and other homemade baked goodies.
this is our chance to share the beauties of the garden and welcome newcomers to our growing community of teaching and learning:)

hope to see you there!

Friday 17 June 2011

UBC Farm

i'm a little embarrassed to say today was my first time out to the UBC Farm .  and i have to say, it is a treasure to behold.  at 60 acres, it is a rare gem to have a farm of this great intention & quality on a university campus.

i was especially inspired by the Learning Garden where the Intergenerational Landed Learning project, happens.  the Faculty of Ed. projects at The Orchard Garden can learn a lot from what they are doing at the farm.  they have beautiful structures and even a bread oven!

so inspiring to see they have 8 beehives as well as 2 cows and a number of chickens.  i loved hearing Andrew describe the fertilization techniques of the cows as they graze, leaving patties and then the chickens following after them, eating grubs, spreading cow manure and adding their own chicken manure.  

such an efficient way to farm- rotate the animals on the land to be planted:  natural pest management, organic fertilizer, and healthy food for the farm animals- genius!  that's nature in a nutshell.  we have so much to learn from the systems that return to the earth rather than relying on industrialized, mechanized ways.

thanks to Andrew Rushmere & Mark Bomford for the excellent tour!

Monday 13 June 2011

Regent College course in the garden

Veronica Gaylie (UBC Okanagan), along with Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson from Regent College were incredibly generous to bring their class Gardening the City of God, to the garden today.  Veronica gave us an inspiring and thought-provoking talk.  The class is examining theological connections between gardens, cities and food.  Quite a combo- made for a wonderfully diverse group of students with an array of interests & expertise.

We were very grateful for their labors, accomplishing more than we had hoped:
In 2 hours we weeded and replanted lettuce & mustard, started construction on our welcome gates, turned under the soil for our oats & barley (where the wheat failed), turned under soil for our bee forage to be planted tomorrow, hilled a bed of potatoes, and created an amazing salad of lambsquarters, purslane, chives, and parsley.

Good company, good food, and food for thought.

Sunday 12 June 2011

the magic of greenhouses & the art of beekeeping

after only 7 days in the UBC greenhouse, the seeds for the Chinese Market Garden are nearly 3 inches tall!  at approximately 98% germination rate, we are in good shape.  now time to get them in the garden!

on another note, our bees are now settled behind the compost and we have much to learn about them.  on Friday Will gave us a lesson on these honey bees...

i was mesmerized by his careful handling of the bees and amazed by the busy work of the little creatures, so i may not have all my facts straight, but here's what i remember:

honey bees only live about 28 days- when you see them outside of the hive it is probably the last 5 days of their life which is focused on collecting pollen and nectar.

the beekeeper must take care to inspect the hive and make sure there is only one queen- otherwise the bees could swarm and defect to another home with their new queen.

our queen's name is Gwyneth.  we were surprised that she didn't look too different from the workers.

as a beekeeper, it is important to wear all white so that the bees do not think you are a bear...

and here's some of the comb the bees made in just 3 days (!).  notice the lack of honey- that means we desperately need to plant more bee forage for them (work party on Tuesday at 10am!), and in the meantime, Leanna is feeding them sugar water.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Orchard Garden Summer Solstice Celebration

June 23, 2011
2:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: The Orchard Garden, located behind the MacMillan Building (south-west end of Main Mall)
This celebration marks the beginning of a new and fruitful collaboration at The Orchard Garden – A teaching & learning garden for the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Land & Food Systems, and School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.
We welcome all faculty, students, staff and community members to attend our afternoon tea in the garden. There will be tours, music, light snacks & iced teas (featuring freshly harvested goodies!), information on how to connect your courses with this exciting outdoor classroom, and more!
For the flyer please click here.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

learning from the master

Today Josh and I had the pleasure of meeting native plants expert, Frank Skelton and touring his 3(!) beautiful gardens.  Complete with suspenders, tool belt, and knee pads sewn into his Carhartts, Frank is a treasure not to be missed.  His extensive and intimate knowledge of plant biology and ecosystems is astounding, and his passion is infectious.  We are excited to accept his donation of a native clematis for our entry gate and look forward to continuing the conversation as we work towards enhancing our native flora and encouraging a diverse biotic community.
I would have taken a photo to mark the day, but I was too entranced by Frank's stories and anecdotes... :)

Tuesday 7 June 2011

math & bees & reflecting on place...

an exciting day in the garden...

Leanna & Natasha woke up with the sun to drive to Delta and move our new bee friends into their very beautiful new home (designed and painted by Chessa).  We are very excited to have honey bees in the garden and need to continue planting more bee forage for them.

On the north side of the garden, I was returning to my rusty math skills as I worked out Josh's beautiful design for our Chinese Market Garden.  Who says it's difficult to teach math in the garden?  There's so much to draw from...

And tonight I was excited to bring my Environmental Ed. Theory class into the garden to explore Place-Based Ecological Education.  So beautiful to see graduate students scattered throughout the beds sketching, tasting, writing, and reflecting on food, land, and memories.

Sunday 5 June 2011

Field trip to Burnaby: Chinese Market Farms

Super fun field trip to Burnaby today to visit two Chinese Market Farms (growing Chinese and western vegetables):  Hop On Farms & Sun Tai Sang Farm.  Great to see living examples of what we are working to interpret in The Orchard Garden.

Our field trip culminated with an elaborate lunch of Dim Sum featuring chicken feet, turnip cakes, creamy custard buns, spicy tiger prawns, gai lan, bitter melon, and shrimp dumplings, just to name a few.