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.
Here are three highlights of my recent adventures in California visiting community gardens from Sacramento to the Bay area:
Sacramento: There are waiting lists four and five years long to get into some of the gardens and if you visit, you’ll see why. The pride and care that goes into the city’s Parks and Recreation community gardens is evident in the upkeep, the design and the spirited innovation.
There are fruit trees growing, individual gardener plots, even a small vineyard (It is California after all!) and artful ways of conserving water and engaging gardeners. For example, a sculpted cistern shaped like a ladybug collects water from giant metal flower basins. This is just one of many artful touches.
Santa Rosa: A bilingual garden at the Bayer Community Farm with signage in Spanish and English. This is a welcoming space with garden plots, a large area with a dozen colorful picnic tables, a labyrinth and a teepee trellis house for children. The garden space accommodates young and older with raised beds designed for people with disabilities. One of the nicest aspects of the garden is that it is adjacent to a recreational space that was buzzing with activity as neighbors played sports, skated and rode bikes.
San Francisco: In most gardens your attention is drawn down to ground level where the vegetables, flowers and herbs grow. In Portero Hill Community Garden, located at the edge of a ridge, your eyes look up and out to see a breathtaking city scape. Perched on land that was once the abode of the goat lady of San Francisco, this is a striking garden and so well tended. The gardeners here love their spaces and it shows.
More to come….
BTW- Sacramento is agricultural zone 9. They plant tomatoes in March!
I was recently elected to the board of directors of the American Community Gardening Association.
Their mission is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada.
It is my hope to work with others sharing our knowledge to create an ever stronger network of community gardens from coast to coast. During my cross-country trips, I saw first hand how connecting people and linking our collective know-how helped with important issues such as food security and growing healthy organic produce following sound environmental practices.
There are great folks who are doing wonderful work in community gardens, improving quality of life with opportunities for better nutrition, recreation, exercise, job training, therapy and education.
Launching the Pitney Meadows community gardens was great. In two short years we brought so many ideas to fruition. The gardens flourished. And while all we accomplished is great, getting to know the community was even greater.
You are a wonderful group and I am proud to have been part of the success from the butterfly garden, grandmother’s garden, the food donated to the pantries, the incredible growth, the adult and children education programs, the fairy festivals, the sunflowers and so much more.
I cherish the friendships created and couldn’t imagine not having you as part of my future. Let’s keep in touch as we continue this good work.
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.
I’m happy to announce the birth of our second Monarch butterfly this morning. She emerged just before the rains began.
She is beautiful and immediately made herself at home on this red zinnia.
The Pitney Meadows Community Gardens became a certified Monarch way station last winter and as such provides the plants these butterflies need throughout their lifecycle. Next year, we can start a tagging program that would let us track where our butterflies travel as they make their way to Mexico. If you are interested in this project, let me know.
Thank you to Judy B. for caring for these little lovelies.
The Navy has consistently been a big help in the community gardens and we thank them for all that they do.
Today, we painted the barn, raked the pathways. edged the grandmother’s gardens, weeded and artistically painted a monarch face-cut-out-board for the Fairy Gathering on Sept. 22. There’s no challenge they can’t take on.
Note in the photo above how they wore their sunflower yellow shirts. It doesn’t get better. Thank you.
Yesterday, Emily Burkhard from WNYT News Channel 13 spent the afternoon at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm and did a great segment that included our beekeeper, Jenn Dunn; the plans for the 166-acre farm and the flourishing community gardens.
Burkhard and her videographer, Josh, were at the farm interviewing and enjoying the gardens and butterflies for several hours. During that time, Burkhard learned the process of extracting honey from bee hives, toured the community gardens, spoke with gardeners and asked great questions about plans for the farm’s future that were answered by Farm Director Ken Kleinpeter.
It was fun to be able to share what has been accomplished at Pitney Meadows in just a year.
The videography on the story captures the beauty of the farm and the continuation of its agricultural legacy.