Creating an Enchanting Fairy Village

fairy elements

Pitney Meadows Community Gardens is lucky to have artist Jess Clauser expanding the fairy village near the pergola.

The project started two years ago in a 4×8 plot and from the start captivated an audience of adults and children. It grew and grew from a plot to a flower border and now is expanding even more. Magic happens.

It is still under construction, but you can already see the imaginative space Clauser is creating.  This summer, houses and fairies will work together in preparation for a fairy fest in September.

What makes a fairy garden especially spellbinding? Mushrooms, branches in unusual shapes, moss, and lots of charming details. Anything from acorn caps to tree stumps can be incorporated.

 

 

 

Art Flourishes in Community Gardens

Sacsnake.jpg

A huge snake made of sandbags covered with concrete and painted provides seating and a setting for imaginative play at the Soutside Community Garden in Sacramento, Calif.

Gardens and art are inseparable partners supporting and enlivening each other.

There’s magic in both.

And in some of the community gardens I have visited, artists have done great work creating masterpieces that bring people in, surround them with beauty and offer them the opportunity to connect with one another and with nature.

Community engagement is what community gardens are all about, right?

I have often said you don’t need to be a gardener to enjoy the gardens. There’s so much more than vegetables and flowers growing and being nourished.

The creative expression can be playful like a maze to wander or a half-wrecked boat to pretend to be the captain of the seas. It can be a shelter of branches that provide a shady tunnel to explore or a sunflower house big enough for children’s programming.

I have seen sprinklers in the shape of great trees, concrete snake seating made of sandbags and painted with happy colors, and welcoming hide-aways such as bean pole tipis.

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 11.13.08 AM.png

Art can be functional and beautiful like this entrance gate to the Peralta Community Garden in Berkeley, California. At some gardens, the entrance gates are sculpted metal flowers and vines. I have seen fences and arches made of garden tools, tile sundials and mosaics depicting hawks, flowers and insects.

I have lots to share from my travels and I’m hoping you’ll share too.

If your community garden has art incorporated into the landscape, please send me a photo. I’d like to start a regular feature showing this creative side of community gardens around the world.

Thank you. Natalie

 

 

Nature Drama in a Japanese Garden

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 7.45.49 AMHere’s the scenario.

This green heron sat very still, half hidden by a stone.  Inch-long fish wiggled very near in the pond but just out of reach of the bird.  The enterprising heron took wee bits of whatever it found on the stone, dropped them into the water and waited.

The found “lure” dropped into the pond rippled the surface. The heron watched. An unsuspecting fish swam to investigate and became lunch.

Did you know green herons use bait to catch fish?

This certainly wasn’t the highlight of Morakami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray, Florida, but it was a fascinating snippet of nature.

The botanical garden grounds are exquisitely manicured and there is a variety of different types of Japanese gardens including six historical gardens.

Much of the lake shoreline reminded me of the Adirondacks with its boulders and rocky ledges. I’m always considering, “What can I take home from this experience?”

In the Adirondacks, the landscape is wild. Here the wilderness was partially tamed through pruning and placement of pathways, wooden bridges, archways and bamboo fencing.

Mostly pruning considering the boulders are enormous and spans of rock ledge extend into the waters where turtles and koi eagerly put on a show.

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 7.45.26 AM

One of the many pleasures of the gardens is the carefully positioned benches set into the scene to give visitors a resting place with long views of expanded spaces and unfolding natural dramas.

There’s a lot to see including art exhibits. And, lunch here is a culinary delight. Check out the website: https://morikami.org

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 7.44.49 AM

 

 

Great turnout at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens’ Fairy Gathering and Sunflower Measuring

Approximately 800 people visited the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens for the 2nd annual fall fairy gathering and measuring of the sunflowers. Many wore fairy attire and the garden was a flurry of fluttering fairies enjoying field games, live music, dance and an appearance by the fairy queen.Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 11.50.04 AM.png

 

Look What Kim Did!

 

Kim F. decorated this chair as a throne for the Fairy Queen who will arrive at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Fairy Gathering this Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Queen will lead children though the gardens weaving her tale sure to delight. She will be followed by Paula, our fairy dance mother, who will dance a fairy dance with everyone who wants to participate.

Surely the queen will love all the preparations the fairy godmothers have done. There will be flower fairy crowns, wings and wands available for purchase. And children will have many hand crafted houses on display.

Raffles of hand-made fairy houses and a centerpiece, a fairy doll, a fairy garden and fairy inspired art works and a beautiful scarf.

Festivities start at noon and run to three p.m.  There will be field games, more games, a food truck from Nine Miles East,  free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while supplies last and live music for all to enjoy.

The sunflowers in the sunflower contest will be measured at 2 p.m. and prizes awarded.

Come to the fairy gathering and be enchanted!

Pitney Meadows Community Farm is at 223 West Avenue in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Sunflower Show at Spring Street Gallery

gallery1This evening, the Spring Street Gallery hosted a reception for a sunflower show to benefit Pitney Meadows Community Gardens.

gallery2Approximately 40 works of art depicting the cheerful, exuberant sunflower were on display and attendance was strong.

Some of the art was created plein air in the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens, 223 West Avenue, where rows upon rows of sunflowers have been in bloom for the past month. And, many still are.

Come see.

Dominic.jpg

Thank you to Maureen Sager and Becky Zeh from the Spring Street Gallery for hosting this event.  Pictured above are images from the reception. The last photo is of Becky Zeh painting the Pitney Meadows Community Farm and a young admirer of her work.

Waldorf Students Illustrate Monarch Butterfly Signs for Pitney Meadows

waldorfsigninstallStudents from the Waldorf School in Saratoga Springs illustrated signs for the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens Monarch Waystation.

The five signs each depict an interesting fact about the butterflies that migrate thousands of miles and who have been in decline due to destruction of their habitat and the use of pesticides.

Pictured here are Michael Whitney, the practical arts teacher who built the cedar sign posts, and Elizabeth Straton, Community Relations.

The sign next to them shows the difference between a male and female butterfly. You didn’t know there was a way to tell a boy from a girl?

Come to the gardens, read the signs and maybe see some butterflies.  The butterfly bed surrounding them contains plants that support the butterfly from egg to caterpillar to adult with an abundant supply of nectar rich flowers that bloom through the season. The garden also contains milkweed, the only plant the monarch caterpillar eats.

Thank you to the students who drew the illustrations. They are beautiful.

Natalie Walsh, Garden Director