October in the Garden

For me, it can be an interesting time in the garden or out in nature in general. It makes one learn to appreciate other aspects of nature. As we have gotten used to the vibrant greens of the natural world, we switch to the many colors of autumn leaves. Brown and gray enter the scene with little warning. We notice the dwindling populations of insects. As chilly winds blow, leaves fill the gusts.

I was inspired the Kew Gardens to start a similar effort this fall. There, they have a project called Kew 100 to keep track of the growth, blossoms, falling of leaves, and so on of 100 plants under their supervision (they look after over 10,000 trees I believe). Where I work, we are going for a much smaller effort. We want to make the MD10. We want to keep track of 10 trees on our campus and watch when their leaves change, fall, grow back, when blossoms come, and so on (which is an issue since construction has just been approved for my school and the plan is to do away with many trees on the campus).

So far, with the 10 trees we are watching we have seen minimal leaf drop and the changing of color of leaves has not really set in either. The birch is holding out to not change at all, so far. Not wanting to say goodbye to the summer. As for the raised beds, we are working to clear them out now. Peas are the only plants we are pushing for growth now as they were planted about a month ago. We are also planning on installing a cold frame to grow leafy greens such as spinach under. This will help to show the students we can grow local year round.

I also learned a valuable lesson just recently. You know those lessons you are taught “don’t touch the oven for it is hot and will burn you.” ? And you touch it anyways, just to test it. You know the rule, it has been explained to you, but you don’t quite follow it. Well, this was one of those lessons. I have know that a school gardener must keep the garden aesthetically pleasing, in order for the rest of the school to get behind the efforts. And for the most part I followed this.

Over the spring and summer I allowed certain areas to grow “wild” and for the growth to takes its own path. It was out of the way, basically a 10 ft wide border against the fence. In my eyes, it was amazing! Wild flowers, native plants thriving, many species growing. Unfortunately, to the non-gardeners it looked unruly and unkept. So, a crew was hired to remove it all. Sadly, I saw the bee population decline, the butterfly population decline, and the insect population in general decline. This all happened the same week that some species of bees were put on the endangered species list.

I knew the rule and I should have followed it. It is an avoidable issue for the future. Now, I must move on and expand on what I have. More flowers to plant for the spring and hopefully we can expand on the MD10. Happy gardening to all and I hope you realize difference are being made.

Now, since it is October 10th:

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