Rain Garden 2011

I know I’ve posted before about this rain garden that grows next to the Ames Public Library (update 2018:this area is gone now, part of the new library addition), but this year it seemed even more beautiful to me.

It’s been HOT here, in the 90’s, heat indexes around 110-115, but this garden still looks so cool, deep, rich, diverse.  As I stepped out of my car to get some close ups, I heard something rustling in the foliage.  Could have been a rabbit, maybe a bird or a mouse, but the environment was so deep and lush, it remained well hidden from me, and probably quite cool.  I wish there were more spaces around town that were planted like this!

Ames Iowa Public Library Rain Garden


Brown and Purple Flower Combination

I saw this combination at WalMart a while back.  I think I kinda like it!

Then when I drove by my old apartment complex, I saw that the famous Westbrook Terrace balcony gardener liked this look too!

   I thought about trying to incorporate this ornamental millet from WalMart on my own balcony, but haven’t gotten it done yet.

Greenhouse Garden Community Garden in Chicago

Here is another community garden I visited with the American Public Garden Association a few years back.  All of these neighborhood community gardens were being supported by the Chicago Botanic Center at the time.    I wonder how many of these gardens are still going strong?

Chicago neighbors named this the Greenhouse Garden

I love picturing a family in the garden after a long hot Chicago day, perhaps after  fighting traffic and the general stress of life, working in the garden, working out their stress and bringing home some tasty produce from the land.  Neighbors talk to each other about the garden, about their day, and children explore broccoli and bugs while engaging in some creative make believe.  Stress relieved, social ties strengthened, growing hands-on knowledge about the environment …all benefits of community gardening!




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Another thing I loved about this community garden was the adult and child sized picnic tables.  Behind the picnic tables we learned that they had a “chopping table”.  All of the waste from the garden, inedible leaves, stems, etc….got chopped up and put in the compost bin.

There were a lot of  berries growing in this garden and  it made me think a lot about edible landscapes.   Here is one summary of the idea behind this movement.   Personally, I think a lot of the stock landscaping plants used by developers are boring, boring, boring.  I am sure there could be some problems if our towns, cities and suburbs were covered with berries, fruit trees and vegetables, but I’d kind of like to have to deal with that, wouldn’t you?!


Bernard Place Block Club community garden

A few years ago I got to tour some community gardens around Chicago as part of the AABGA conference (now known as the American Public Gardens Association).  I think this garden tucked away beside an alley was my favorite.  I wish I remembered more of the stories behind this garden, but mostly I remember the flowers, and how kind and proud  the gardeners were who showed us around.  I didn’t get names and I didn’t ask permission to post these photos, but I would be delighted if some day, some of the Bernard Place Block Club community gardeners would run into my blog and let me thank them for the beauty they added to the world!

Bernard Place Block Club Community Garden
Dramatic and fragrant masses of dill

I was so taken with the beautiful structure of these masses of dill.

Hard working but happy gardeners
The loveliest community gardener
Russion Sage

These gardeners also made dramatic use of Russian Sage.  Did I already use the word “dramatic”?  Well, the whole garden was just dramatic!  Thank you again Bernard Place Community Block Club.  I hope your community garden is still going strong!

A lovely combination