Cal Day was on Saturday, April 20th and the garden was open for visitors. About 150 people came to picnic, tour, play and make in the garden. Many came from the campus Cal Day activities and others were from the Kensington neighborhood enjoying the beautiful sunny spring day.
We applied for a grant through UC Berkeley’s sponsored TGIF (The Green Initiative Fund) Program and received funding to build a new compost area that would enable us to use the front loader to turn the compost piles rather that physically turning them by hand.
The staff members at Blake decided on a site location and design. Student interns and volunteers helped with the construction under the guidance of Mike Frappier, our staff stone work expert.
This project has enabled Blake Garden to: dramatically reduce green waste, recycle material on site, increase efficiency of compost production, reduce risk of repetitive stress injury, eliminate $3000 in green dumpster fees, and save more than 250 hours of labor.
All of the grant project posters will be displayed on Earth day at the 10th Annual Sustainable Summit hosted by the Chancellors Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS) April 22 2:00-3:00 at UC Berkeley Campus in Sutardja Dia Hall with other events ongoing until 5:00. Public is welcome!
Within the last few days we have gotten over 5 inches of rain. A tributary of Cerrito creek runs through the garden and is impacted by urban runoff. The video is of water blasting through the garden after a big down pour on Sunday morning. We recently repaired the base of the waterfall with volunteers from St. Mary’s High School along with our staff, volunteers and EDSET interns from Albany High school. The repair seems to be holding up and was done just in the nick of time.
We found an interesting design in a landscape magazine of an “Underwater” theme garden made with succulents. We have just finished some construction at the front entrance of the greenhouse and thought we would give the design a try. The plants we used are echevarias, sedums, aeoniums, aloes, agaves, euphorbias along with some interesting rocks, sea glass and shells. Our Albany High School EDSET interns Micaela and Carl helped by the planting the beds.
We have been collecting rainfall data since 1965 here in the garden. Rain year begins July 1st and ends June 30th. We are looking forward to this years rain.
Download xlsx file:
Blake Garden Rainfall Data 1965-2012 xls file
The Unseen Landscape: an installation project is done by undergraduates in the Landscape Architecture Design 101 class taught by Daphne Edwards. The students were to choose a site in the garden and design an intervention/installation to highlight a landscape feature or quality. The project is up in the garden until Friday , October 12. boards and models will be in the greenhouse to view after Wednesday, Oct. 10th.
Our 20ft waterfall on the south side of the garden is part of a tributary to Cerrito creek. Over the past several years, the 1970′s era creek restoration project has been worn by the drilling forces of the winter rains. The water comes into the garden with such force that it channelizes, undercuts and washes out areas of the creek. This year we had no choice but to fix the waterfall in fear that it would collapse if we got a big rainstorm. Freshmen from St Mary’s High School along with their teacher Jeff assisted staff and Blake Garden volunteers to re-stack the base of the waterfall with 80 lb. bags of concrete. Some students ziplined bags of concrete to others waiting below, who stacked and spiked it into place with steel rebar. Above the waterfall, others were taking out excess gravel that had washed down from above, and moved it to regrade the path of the nearby wetland and new grassland. Weeds from the creek bed were added to compost piles that will be used in the future to boost the soil quality of new planting beds for native grasses. Our two EDSET interns, Karl and Michala, from Albany High School assisted with the project.