Gardening for Good 2nd night

Thursday, June 7
We had our second night of gathering for Gardening for Good last night. It was a beautiful night, maybe 80 degrees, and the bugs haven’t come out yet. Rick wasn’t able to attend tonight, he qualified to go to the state Special Olympics, so he was traveling to Stevens Point for this. Laura and JoJo were also not able to make it this week. We look forward to seeing them next Thursday.

Our poor garden was quite dry, and needed a fair amount of watering. Julie was very attentive to her celosia and petunias, some of which had wilted almost to the ground. We need to get some good leaf mulch around them to help keep them cool and moist. We also cut some of the flower heads off so that the energy of the plant could go to the roots.

We also had some critters help themselves to some of the other plants. We lost one broccoli, a hot pepper plant, a tomato, and a sweet pepper plant. Phyllis had noticed that the hot peppers had been bitten off, so she thoughtfully took care of purchasing some new plants. She and Doug got the new plants in, watered, and fenced (foil those pesky critters). We also replanted tomatoes and put up some tomato cages.

The large and sturdy tomato cages were donated by the Troy Kids’ Garden. Thank you all so much.

We had a new supported gardener join us last night. She is a northsider, and her name is Kate. She knew Julie from their weekly Uno club. Kate helped plant some tomatoes and expressed her interest in planting some red onions. Kate likes to eat a red onion every day!

Trish was the workshop host this week, her topic being Birds of Troy Gardens. We started in the Outdoor kitchen, and Trish showed us where a robin’s nest was, and described that the babies has already hatched and left the nest. I loved her story of how when you see a robin with a muddy breast, it’s a female. The reason for this is that the female robin uses the mud as her binding material in a nest, and then she uses her breast to custom form it to her shape.

As we walked the gardens, we listened, watched, and talked about what kind of birds were around to observe. We ended up back by the compost bins, right next to the old train trestle, which now consists of a walking path and many trees and shrubs. We listened to a lovely bird that had a rich melodic song, repeating its phrase 2 times for each of the many variety of phrases he was singing. We never saw the brown thrasher, but he graciously serenaded for us. We were told that the number of brown thrashers are going down, because they like the shrubby kinds of areas, like we have in the Troy natural areas. Often, shrubs are cut in urban areas to keep them from being “too wild”.

We were all caught up in Trish’s enthusiasm for birds. I will admit that I’m not a big fan of brown headed cowbirds. But Trish even had good things to say about them, defending that in spite of their laying eggs in other bird’s nests,  their numbers are decreasing.

Thank you, Trish, for a wonderful introduction to Troy Garden’s birds!

We were lucky to have Yi-Chen from Taiwan come to spend time in the gardens with us tonight. Yi-Chen is an exchange student from Taiwan studying horticulture and environmental education. It was a great night for her to come, since Trish’s field of study is through the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and she works with middle schoolers with her project Wild Warner.

Special thanks to Carol, Phyllis, Rita, Karyn, Mary, Alice, Marge, and Ruthann for participating in our gathering tonight.

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