Plants make their own food (sugars) through photosynthesis but they also need nutrients to grow. These nutrients/minerals come mostly from the soil. There are 16 of them. The chart lists the nutrients and highlights them on the periodic table of elements. There is a the good way to remember them. Use the mnemonic, a memory aid located at the bottom of the chart.
After getting over 6 inches of rain we decided to plant. Native plants were purchased. The group of ASLA students and LA 122 students from the plant identification class at UC Berkeley’s Landscape Architecture Dept. set them out according to our planting design. A small group of students and volunteers worked on terracing an eroding hillside with cardboard to block the weeds, jute netting to hold the cardboard down and support mulch from slipping down the hill and then redwood branches from a recently downed redwood were staked in to hold the bank. We’ll plant red twig dogwood, a appropriate riparian shrub, through holes cut through the mulch, netting, and cardboard. As the materials rots the dogwood will be dropping their roots into the soil and hold the creek bank from eroding.
With the new ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant path completed, students from the UC Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Dept, ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architecture) student chapter came to the garden for a design workshop and came up with a planting plan of California native plants which they are going to plant. But first we had to clear ivy, blackberries, and poison oak from the site, as well as open up the view by pruning some of the redwood trees in the area. We are waiting for the rain before we start planting. Hopefully that will be very soon. A step will be designed and built out of redwood that leads to the greenhouse. Plants and materials will be purchased with a money from The Green Initiative Granting Fund.
With the new pathway to the head-house almost completed there was a concrete wall that seemed to need something. The area was too narrow to plant so we decided to put something on the wall: a mosaic made with broken china from the Blake house with additional broken tiles from Albany High School Art Dept. and from Urban Ore, a warehouse filled with recyclable materials. Our four Albany High School interns from the EDSET (Environmental Design, Science Engineering and Technology) program helped by designing and building along with other volunteers from the garden. The result: a stream of bird, butterflies, flowers and people edges the path that crosses the creek.
Students from the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department from U.C. Berkeley came to the garden for a charrette, a design workshop, to design the new handicap ramp area. The design is currently being created with all the input that came from the charrette along with other comments from students familiar with the site but unable to attend the on-site design workshop.
Area artist Keiko Nelson has installed a temporary sculpture in the reflective pool in the redwood grove entitled “Inner Landscape”.
A topographical model of Blake Garden was made and donated by students in U.C Berkeley Landscape Design 101. The model aided the students in developing their project “Revealing the Landscape” that recently was installed in the garden. The model will be a great addition as a teaching tool for future students and for visitors to get a sense of our terrific hillside garden.
Friends of Five Creeks Weed Warriors returned to Blake Garden to continue with the eradication of blackberries, Algerian ivy and other invasive species that threaten to take over our beautiful redwood trees. Some interesting finds in the dry creek and surrounding area- several tennis balls & a partial dried out carcass of a gopher .
The Mini Maker Faire was held Sunday at Park Day School and Studio Art Center in Oakland. We were asked to come and give a demonstration. Our demonstration was making origami pots out of non toxic newsprint (San Francisco Chronicle) and starting California native flowers seeds in anticipation of the winter rain.