Celebrate Garden Days June 15 at Parkallen Community Garden 1 pm

Bring a picnic and a blanket to the Parkallen Community Garden on June 15, 1 p.m.

Rink Mural Part II Workshop at 2 p.m.  in the Parkallen Community Hall

Garden Days is Canada’s largest garden party, a celebration of the vital role of gardening in our communities and lives. It begins on National Garden Day, Saturday June 15th, 2019 and continues for nine days. Promoted by the Canadian Garden Council, Garden Days encourages local gardens, garden centers, horticulture societies, garden clubs and others to create special reasons for people to visit a garden. Last year, there were hundreds of activities across the country!

This year, we’re jumping on the bandwagon! Please join us on Saturday, June 15th at 1pm to celebrate National Garden Day in the Parkallen Community Garden. Bring a picnic and blanket to enjoy the good company of neighbours, new and seasoned gardening enthusiasts alike. We invite you to enjoy a glass of lemonade and tour the community garden to learn and share in your knowledge and passion for gardens and gardening.

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Tools will be available for those that want to pull a weed or water some tender shoots as our garden landscape will just be getting exciting. Pick up a garden brochure or chat with a community garden member to learn how you can be involved!

For our little people (and those like me that just love a good story), we’ll also have a big basket of garden story books available. There’s nothing like laying back on a picnic blanket in the shade with grass between your toes, while you listen to the Tale of Peter Rabbit and other literary delights.

Looking to leave a permanent fingerprint? The rink mural is being extended to the south side of the rink to become a backdrop for the garden. A workshop to create the initial drawings will be hosted in the community hall at 2pm. Come and add your art to the garden!

See you there!

— Sara Wipperman

May Long Weekend Planting Bees

Gardeners, there are two planting bees schedule on May Long Weekend, the traditional “get your garden in” weekend in Edmonton, when we consider “all danger of frost to have past.”

Help seed the garden
Saturday May 18, 2-4 p.m.
and/or
Sunday May 19, 2-4 p.m.

If you can’t make either date, you’re still welcome to tend and harvest the PCG throughout the 2019 garden season.

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Garden Meetings 2019

TWO GARDEN MEETINGS

Afternoon of Saturday April 27th

Come celebrate and support our garden

Gardener Welcoming Gathering with Snacks

Time: 2-3 p.m.

at the garden south side of the rink

To welcome all those who think they may be interested in helping plant and/or maintain the garden this year and talk about our garden plans, and introduce newcomers to our garden.

 

Annual General  Meeting 3-4 p.m.

Time: 3-4 p.m.

at the Garden OR the location will be posted on the garden shed

Come to listen or join in on a discussion on how our garden is operated.   We will be reviewing garden roles, how we communicate, projects and programs opportunities. 

At the Community Hall 

Parkallen Community Garden in 2018

The Parkallen Community Garden is growing in the 2018 season and you are invited to our 5th annual AGM.
Where: Parkallen Community Hall
When: Friday, May 25th, 2018, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
What: an opportunity to ask questions and give input into plans for the season or simply listen and learn about the garden
Times you’re most likely to find gardeners in the PCG:

Tuesday Mornings 8-9 a.m.
Wednesday evenings 6-8 p.m.
And Sundays mornings 8-10 a.m.
…unless otherwise posted on the shed door

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The Parkallen Community Garden is Growing in 2017

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The Parkallen Community Garden has a new leader: Christine Watts. All ages and abilities are welcome to meet and garden with Christine at directed gardening bees on Saturdays, 2-4 p.m. and on Wednesday Evenings, 7-8 p.m.

As always, visitors are welcome anytime and self-directed gardening is encouraged. Pull some weeds, plant (and label) something, harvest a handful of something to munch on the spot or for your dinner. See what’s coming up.

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Looks for the cheery bulbs planted by the Brownies in 2015 and 2016. We’re still growing in 2017.

Our 2016 Growing Plan

From our April 22, 2016 meeting where we discussed what worked last year, what didn’t, what we loved and what we liked, emerged this 2016 Growing Plan:

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2015 Community League Showcase Award

Marlene Wurfel attended the 2015 Edmonton Federation of Community League’s Showcase Gala this summer to accept a spotlight award on behalf of the Parkallen Community Garden and the Parkallen Community League.

Award accepted by Marlene Wurfel for the Parkallen Community League on behalf of the Community Garden's All-Ages Gardening Projects
Award accepted by Marlene Wurfel for the Parkallen Community League on behalf of the Community Garden’s All-Ages Gardening Projects

The all-ages gardening projects at the Parkallen Community Garden were 1 of 5 outstanding projects showcased by the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues at their gala. The showcase included a story by CTV News’ Dez Melenka.

Wildlife Gardening at the Parkallen Community Gardening

Wildlife gardening means providing the conditions in your green space that are attractive to animals such as birds, butterflies, and bees.  All animals need food, water, and a safe place to raise their young. Insects, which we need to pollinate our plants, and bats which pollinate and control pests, are not exceptions. Over the past several years, the Parkallen Community Garden has been adding feeders and nesting boxes for beneficial animals.

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Above is a wren house (yet to be occupied), a watering station for birds and insects, and a large bird feeder with mess-free birdseed.  Food + Shelter + Water = Wildlife Gardening.
The Parkallen Community Garden neighbours our outdoor community hockey rink.

Bat House by Bob Danner

16 feet high on a lamp post that lights our rink in the winter, we’ve hung a bathouse.  It’s been constructed especially for this location by a local bat enthusiast and conservationist, Robert Danner.  Little Brown Bats (our local species) are mammals and need a safe place to nurse their newborn babies in the spring time. A bat house serves as a nursery for moms and pups.  There is a roof over-head but no floor — they enter from below and hang on to the rough interior surface with their claws. They huddle together for warmth and companionship. Bats only occupy a bat house in the springtime. Bat colonies over-winter elsewhere.  Little Brown Bats eat mosquitoes, among other insects.

To answer some FAQ’s – No, the house doesn’t come with bats.  After discovering the house, if they like it, local bats will move in next Spring or the Spring after that. Bats and people have been peacefully co-existing for all of human history, and bats have only recently developed a reputation for being scary and unclean.  Little Brown Bats are extremely shy and would never attack humans or pets.  They are wild animals though, and belong outside, not in our homes.  Common sense tells us to never approach a sick or dead bat, and not to handle it’s feces.  Learn more about bats in Alberta from Alberta Conservation.

the owl house

This is our owl house, which we hope will be attractive to a Saw Whet owl.  We’ve seen Great Horned owls in the neighbourhood, but they wouldn’t nest in a house like this.  Great Horneds like the crotches of trees.  Note that this nesting box has a large, owl-sized opening.  If a local owl likes this home, she may lay her eggs in it next Spring.

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We’ve lined the inside with wood shavings.  Thanks, Robert! And hung it as high as possible under the eaves of our Community League, facing South.  It’s a warm, protected location with a fairly clear view and a good swoop zone.

seth installing owl house

Thanks, Seth for installing it!  We know that’s an unlikely an owl will use this home, but an owl house was high on a list of must-haves according to Parkallen School kids.  You might like to see a baby saw whet owl on You-Tube.

Bee hotel at the Parkallen Community Garden, or Bee Condo

We’ve also created a nest box or bee hotel for wild bees.  Unlike honeybees, wild bees are solitary.  They don’t swarm or sting, they are most likely to flee or retreat from a human.  They’re very safe and are, in a healthy ecosystem, all around us. A wild mother bee would occupy a single tube (like the hollow stalk of a flower) to hatch her babies in.  She needs a shelter to house her young, who she fetches pollen for all Spring.  Like the other nest boxes, this one would be inhabited only when the mothers are raising babies, and not throughout the year.  It doesn’t come with bees — but if they like it, they’ll use it to keep their babies sheltered and safe.  Our garden needs pollinators to make food for us.  Diverse pollinators and a diverse, stable food-supply go hand in hand. Learn more about building a bee hotel and about solitary bees from the National Geographic Society.

house with restrictor

This nesting box may be a home for a native songbird, such as a a wren or a chickadee.  Sparrows (a non-native species) are very aggressive nesters and good at crowding out native songbird species in Edmonton.  Sparrows are like the dandelions of the bird world.  This birdhouse has a restrictor over the hole.  The hole-size restrictor will hopefully make the nesting box unattractive to sparrows, and perfect for chickadees or wrens.  Native songbird species could really use a leg-up in YEG.  When you’re building or buying a birdhouse or nesting box in Edmonton, remember, the hole-size matters.  Do some research to attract the right bird to your yard.

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Above is another nesting box for a native songbird hung high in a pine tree at the Parkallen Community Garden.

Wondering how we got these boxes up?  We had a little help…

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Thanks to the City of Edmonton for a lift when we needed one.  And…

Brent in Pine Tree

Thanks to all the Parkallen Community Gardeners who helped with the installations and especially to Brent Flesher (above) who will continue to monitor the nesting boxes.  Thanks to the World Wild Life Fund for purchasing the nesting boxes as part of a Green CommUnity Award to Parkallen School.  Thanks to Linda and Kathy at Parkallen School for their help administering the grant money.  Thanks to the Parkallen Community League for supporting these projects in our community, and especially Anne Pratt for leading our community consultation.

These wildlife gardening projects and this blog post were created by Marlene Wurfel, Parkallen Community Garden Director. These nestboxes will not save the environment and the species they are meant to help out.  But to build, install and maintain these nesting boxes for wild wings, I’ve learned so much about what wildlife needs in our urban landscape. It’s my hope that these projects will continue to teach Edmontonians about what our urban wildlife needs to survive and thrive.

Drop by the Parkallen Community Garden where visitors are welcome any time to see our “Nesting Boxes for Wild Wings” projects.  Check out our bee condo for solitary bees, bat box for nursing moms and pups, owl box and bird houses for native songbirds.

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