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Living small is possible… and possibly beautiful.

Rhonda's Balcony

Rhonda's Balcony

This weekend I stayed over at my friend, Rhonda’s, place. My goal was to clean up her balcony and beautify it with some plants and flowers. Here’s a lovely pic of what we were able to do in a 4′ x 7′ space. The bougainvillia is destined to be hung to free up the lovely table, and then we have a pot full of sage, oregano and thyme. The Agapanthus in the background is simply in its element in the beautiful Chinese pot on a stand. It catches the drips from the air conditioning unit.

Small is possible and IS beautiful.

An Agapanthus in a beautiful Chinese-motif planter. Nothing could be more perfect!

An Agapanthus in a beautiful Chinese-motif planter. Nothing could be more perfect!

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98 cents a pound for yellow squash?!!

001I was aghast to find that yellow summer squash is 98 cents per pound at the grocery store today. Yellow summer squash? Nothing could be easier to grow! If you have the tiniest plot of land – or even a patio or balcony – you could purchase a pack of seeds for about a dollar and, depending upon how much you sow, reap HUNDREDS of pounds of squash this summer. Most of that 98 cents for the store-bought squash goes to gasoline, trucking and middle men. Do we really want to encourage this?

My sister, who is a vegetable gardening newbie (but a social media expert) put a small garden in her side yard this spring and is already cooking and loving her home-grown organic zucchini and other goodies. You can too. And you should. There are options too:

  • join a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) and take home a basket full of veggies and fruits every week. Membership can run a couple of hundred dollars per year but when you scrutinize it you may be spending that much on store-bought squash alone.
  • join a community garden and meet like-minded individuals who will encourage you, share with you and teach you.
  • start a garden in your own backyard (or front yard!). Don’t relish the thought of a whole garden? Get with your neighbors and do some “modular gardening”. You grow the squash, cucumbers and zuchini. Someone else grows the tomatoes. Someone else grows strawberries or melons or beans. And then you share amongst yourselves. You get the picture….

We need to do this for ourselves, for our communities, for our environment, for our elderly and, especially, for our kids. Ever spent an adventuresome hour in the garden with your kids? My grandmothers did so with me and they gave me a love and lifestyle that I will cherish forever. Please contact me on Facebook (fan CityFarmer) if you have any questions or need inspiration and resources!

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Newbie Ambassador at Denver Botanic Gardens

Statue in the grass

'So Proud of My Children' statue from Chapungu exhibition

Today was my first day as an Ambassador for the Denver Botanic Gardens. Ellen, the Manager of Visitor Experiences, fortunately was waiting there for me and she gave me a grand tour. I am grateful to work for her. Right off we had a delightful experience. As we were touring the garden a small plane kept circling around with a banner that said, “I [heart] you Maggie. Will you marry me? Love, Ryan.”

Ellen and I kept on our tour and we found the by-now famous Maggie-and-Ryan in the South African Deck. Everyone was applauding. Ryan had staged the whole thing – brought a photographer along and got down on his knees, ring and all. Ellen said, “Well, did she say yes?” She did. I told them well, you’ve made my day!

Ellen let me stay after my shift so that I could take pictures and I had a fabulous time doing that. I have a long ways to go – bringing the taxonomy back from the depths of my memory. But I’m up for it. I’m in my element. See my pictures at “City Farmer” on Facebook.

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Urban Gardening Stops Traffic and Warms Hearts

Beans and bricks at Tiri's Garden
Beans and bricks at Tiri’s Garden

This is Tiri’s Garden and one of my first ventures back into the gardening community after working in the corporate world for some time. Right smack dab in the middle of downtown Denver, Colorado, Tiri’s was built on an empty slab where a building was torn down and a new building was not yet in the works. We volunteers from Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) work together with youth from Urban Peak shelter growing fruits, veggies and flowers to benefit the shelter.

 

The light rail runs along one side of the garden on California Street. The Hyatt Regency Denver faces the intersection at 15th Street and hotel guests watch us from their luxury suites. There’s not a day that goes by when our business neighbors and convention center visitors step into the garden and, stunned, ask what’s this all about?

 It’s about community. It’s about local food. It’s about beans and bricks, and lettuce and love. It’s about one of those things that gives more than it takes: a garden.

The Tiri’s Garden Farmer’s Market will open July 12! Stop by on Wednesdays for food, music and a tour of the garden.

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Same blog. New theme.

Today I’ve decided to change my life and change my blog. I’ll be sharing stories about urban homesteading, community gardens, city farming, edible schoolyards and more.

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