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Archives for April 8, 2014

Things To Do In London Today: Tuesday 8 April 2014

If you’ve not already done so, you can subscribe to these daily listings and have them delivered to your inbox at 7am every morning. Alternatively, subscribe to Londonist Daily to hear about events further in the future. And help spread the word to your friends who haven’t discovered us yet!

History of the bus at London Transport Museum

History of the bus at London Transport Museum


BLOOD: Today’s opportunities to donate blood are outside County Hall in Waterloo, Brewers Hall in the City and the rear of Rye Lane Chapel in Peckham. See site for terms and conditions

FILM FESTIVAL: Let’s All Be Free Film Festival begins today at Ritzy Brixton, aiming to encourage people to discuss the different ideas and perceptions of freedom in different cultures. Various prices, prebook, until 10 April

SILVERSMITHING EXHIBITIONThe Festival of Silver organisation is curating an exhibition of contemporary furniture and modern silversmithing, with various pieces available to buy. Takes place at the Goldsmith’s Centre near Farringdon. Free, just turn up, until 12 April

LORD MAYOR WALK: The Lord Mayor’s Appeal has organised a guided walk around the city and Mansion House. Learn about key figures in the history of the City and see the building still used for banquets today. £20 (£10 goes to Lord Mayor’s Appeal), prebook, 10.20am

LANDSCAPING LECTURE: The Landscape Institute holds a talk about the future of landscape architecture. Speakers are  Tom Armour (Arup Landscape Team) and Sue Illman (Landscape Institute President) £10/£8, prebook, 6pm

POP-UP VEGAN FOODThe Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston is hosting a pop-up vegan cafe with guest chef Kate Abilgaard. £12 for 3 courses, prebook, 6.30pm

LONDON BUS HISTORY: Head to London Transport Museum for an illustrated London bus journey through time. Find out how we got from 20 motor buses in 1905 to 8,600 serving the city today. How did the double decker become as iconic for London as the gondola is to Venice? Why are London buses red? Did a bus really jump Tower Bridge? £10/£8 (or £15/£11 to also get tickets to a talk by Travis Elborough on 29 April), prebook, 7pm

ENTREPRENEUR DISCUSSIONWhat is the DNA of an entrepreneur? This is the topic up for discussion at The Royal Institution. The panel includes entrepreneurs Hilary Devey CBE and Luke Johnson, and researcher Andrew Green who is looking into the science of entrepreneurship. £12/£8, prebook, 7pm

SPEAKEASY: Drink Shop Do in Kings Cross has a Speakeasy evening, with stories performed against the clock, on a theme chosen by the audience. Authors attending include Essie Fox, Naomi Wood, Jason Hewitt and Claire McGowan. Free, just turn up, from 7pm

UPCYCLING WORKSHOP: Serendipity Tea Rooms in Streatham hosts an upcycling workshop. Learn how to make a scarf out of a t-shirt and decorate it using traditional Ugandan methods. £25, prebook, 7pm

LIVE MUSIC: Jonny Cola and the A-Grades play at Barfly in Camden to celebrate the launch of their new album, Spitfire. Think Glam, Ziggy Stardust, and loads of eye liner. Support acts are The Featherz and Hotgothic. £5, prebook7pm

1980S IDENTITY: Jon Ronson was the keyboard player with the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band in the late 1980s, but few people knew his true identity. Now he presents his one man show, and memoir, Frank. At King’s Place. £12.50, prebook, 8pm 

Good Cause of the Day

NOWportrait is an initiative to get strangers talking through the medium of photography. The idea is that you grab your camera, take a photo of a stranger as they go about their day, get talking to them to find out their story and background, and share the photo on social media sites. Check out the Facebook page to see some of the stories shared so far. The photos are being compiled into a book, which will go on sale in aid of mental health charity MIND. There are also plans to hold an exhibition of the photos, and have them auctioned in aid of MIND. If you’re interested in getting more involved, there are various roles up for grabs — see the Facebook page for more details.

London Connection Puzzle

A new London connection starts today. Your first clue is JENNY. Please wait for the second clue tomorrow before guessing at the London connection.

From the Archive

With the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park having reopened to the public, it’s only fitting that our minds are turning to thoughts of all things sporty. A year ago we published Part P of our Where to Play Sport in London series. Turns out polo isn’t just for princes and pilates isn’t just in Primrose Hill.

London Prizes

Every Friday in April, we’ll be picking one email subscriber at random to win a Londonist-themed goody bag. So if you’re reading this on our website, sign up to our 7am newsletter for your chance to win. If you’re already subscribed, let your friends know — particularly the ones who are likely to share the prize if they win.

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Owaka going forward with landscaping plans

There was a good attendance at a public meeting/workshop held at the Owaka Memorial Hall on Tuesday 1 April to discuss landscaping plans for the town.

The meeting/workshop was organised by Owaka Going Forward, the local community committee which plans to enhance the township as directed by the community.

Proposed landscaping plans have been on public display for the past two months and Tuesday’s meeting/workshop was an opportunity for the community to let Owaka Going Forward know its thoughts.

Owaka Going Forward Chairwoman Aileen Clarke said that there was a diverse group of about 40 people in attendance who showed some real passion regarding the ideas proposed to date.

Mrs Clarke said the workshop involved groups writing down their ideas on the landscaping proposals presented. The responses will now be collated and given to the landscape architect to present a plan that best represents the wishes of the general community.

The landscaping plan would then become part of Council’s Draft Reserve Management Plan for Owaka which would go back out for another round of public consultation in June 2014. This process is the reason why it has taken so long to get to this point.

Mrs Clarke said that while there was a thorough process to go through, the Owaka Going Forward Committee wanted to ensure the enhancements best represented the community’s vision, and with as little impact as possible on ratepayers.

Owaka Going Forward was formed after a series of six public workshops back in the winter of 2012. At these workshops it was decided that the Waka would be the identity/theme of the town and that the entranceways to Owaka required enhancement. It was also identified at the time that the township had no Reserve Management Plan in place to guide Council and to secure the use of the reserve areas as the community wanted.

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Inland Water Agencies Team Up to Teach Conservation, Efficiency at Free Festival

The following was submitted for publication by the Eastern Municipal Water District:

Districts throughout Western Riverside County will play host to the 12th
annual Community Water Conservation Festival on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

free event will be held at the Big League Dreams Sports Park, located at 2155
Trumble Road, Perris. The festival will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

During the event, residents can learn about a
variety of topics, including retrofitting outdoor irrigation equipment to
become more water efficient, Inland Empire Garden Friendly plants and water-wise
landscaping ideas. A number of master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions.

will be available to give information about weather-based irrigation controllers,
moisture sensors, rain barrels and high-efficiency toilets and drip irrigation

participating District will have information about rebate programs available to
customers and raffles will be held throughout the event. The first 100 people
in attendance will receive free water-saving items.

will also be many activities for children throughout the event, including an
appearance by Curious George. A children’s show will be presented at 11 a.m.,
and there will be face-painting, removable tattoos and popcorn. Dewie the
Dragon, Zoie and Admiral Splash also will be in attendance to help entertain
and educate children.

our state in the middle of a record drought, it is important that our agencies
work together to ensure our customers have every opportunity to learn to be
efficient with their water usage,” said
Stacy Rodriguez, EMWD’s Conservation Program Supervisor and Committee Co-Chair
for the event. “This fun, interactive event will provide entertainment for
children and will provide families the opportunity to learn how to conserve
water in their daily lives.”

festival is presented by: Eastern Municipal Water District, Elsinore Valley
Municipal Water District, Rancho California Water District, Western Municipal
Water District, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Bureau of
Reclamation, the State of California Department of Water Resources, Southern
California Edison, Southern California Gas Company and the County of Riverside’s
“Only Rain Down the Drain” pollution prevention program.

event will include raffles throughout the day, during which a water-efficient
toilet, rain barrels, drip kits and smart irrigation controllers will be
presented as prizes.


more information on the program, visit

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A stroll through the past of museum’s garden

The history and evolution of the Washington State Capital Museum landscape came to life Monday, a warm spring day befitting the topic.

Delivering the story was the accomplished tag team of museum manager Susan Rohrer and South Sound historian Drew Crooks, the original project director for the Delbert McBride Ethnobotanical Garden, which has graced the museum grounds since 1996.

Rohrer dug deep into the history of the Lord Mansion and its landscape, home to the museum since 1942. Crooks explained how the garden was established in memory of McBride, the museum’s former curator emeritus and an ethnobotanist of Cowlitz and Quinault tribal descent.

Built in the South Capitol neighborhood in 1923, the Lord Mansion was the home of Clarence J. Lord, a powerful banker and one-time Olympia mayor, and his wife, Elizabeth.

Most people with a passing knowledge of Olympia history know that longtime Olympia architect Joseph Wohleb designed the home as a Spanish Colonial-style villa with stucco walls and a red tile roof. But who knows the landscaper?

It was Fred Cole, a Seattle-based professional trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London.

Established in 1759, Kew Gardens is a 300-acre botanical research and education center and a major tourist attraction, with the world’s largest collection of living plants and a staff of 700.

Cole was a “Kewite,” one of the many commercial landscapers working around the world in the early 20th century who shared a common educational lineage.

In her noon talk Monday at the museum Coach House, Rohrer shared a copy of the original landscape plan prepared by Cole, which understandably featured a strong English garden theme with plantings of heather, rhododendrons, azaleas, cherry trees, berry shrubs and a holly hedge that remains today along Columbia Street.

The putting green on the south side of the mansion might have been requested by Lord. There were fish ponds and a kitchen garden on the grounds, which also included mature Douglas fir and Western red cedar trees that stand guard at the northeast corner of the property.

After Lord died in 1937, Elizabeth Lord and their daughter Helen Lord Lucas donated the mansion to the state, suggesting it should be the state museum. The museum opened in 1942 and the state took over maintenance of the grounds, which had fallen into disrepair after Lord’s death.

In the 1970s, the Friendly Flower Club of Olympia created a Pioneer Herb Garden on the south side of the mansion. Members of the club took advantage of the weather Monday to do some weeding and make plans for the 2014 growing season.

The ethnobotanical garden grew out of a popular 1991 museum display of South Sound Native American culture titled “Traditions and Transitions,” Crooks said. When a patch of root rot forced removal of several Port Orford cedars from the southeast side of the property, the space became a logical place for the garden.

The garden features some 30 species of native plants that Western Washington tribes used, and still use, for food, medicine and other daily activities.

Relying on volunteers and donations, the garden remains a work in progress, Crooks said.

Late spring and summer is a popular time to visit the garden, which borders the holly hedge in a area where Cole originally designed an herb garden.

Monday was a nice day to visit the garden. The brilliant flowers of red currant plants reflected the sun, beckoning hummingbirds to drink their fill of nectar. Oregon grape plants, some topping 8 feet tall, had their yellow flowers on display.

Salmonberry bushes were in bloom, and a cluster of white tri-petaled trilliums were in full regalia, tucked in the shade under giant conifer trees.

For the record, I spotted seven trilliums in bloom Sunday during a walk in the back pasture at Horsefeathers Farm. I also envied the ethnobotanical garden’s patch of kinnikinick, which is far better contained than the unruly hedge trying to spill into my driveway.

Monday was a pleasant stroll through the past and present landscaping of the State Capital Museum. Maintained by the South Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society, the ethnobotanical garden is free of charge, open year-round and accessible to all. And if you care to volunteer at the garden, Crooks said you’d be more than welcome.

John Dodge: 360-754-5444

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Redefining beautiy in home gardens

By Lynne Smith

Posted Apr. 5, 2014 @ 3:36 pm


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Carpinteria Beautiful’s 17th Annual Home & Garden Tour Saturday, April 26 …

The excitement is building, as the days get longer and everywhere around you spring is in full bloom. In Carpinteria, that means one thing: Carpinteria Beautiful’s 2014 Annual Home and Garden Tour. Always the last Saturday in April, this year’s home and garden tour is all about inspiration, creativity and celebrating the small community with a big heart. For 17 years this self-guided tour through some of Carpinteria’s best homes and gardens has been a wonderful venue for those who love amazing architecture, décor and landscaping.

Each year the Home and Garden Tour focuses on bringing you a variety of homes and landscapes to enjoy and stimulate the imagination. This year we are welcoming guests into five very unique homes and one expansive seven-acre landscaped oasis. We can’t give all of our secrets away, but we can give you a small glimpse of the diverse lineup of homes and gardens that will make up this splendid day. Three of the homes are located within the downtown area of Carpinteria. Each home uniquely showcasing the diverse lifestyles and exceptional character that makes up our small town. A Nantucket style beach vacation retreat, a Spanish Mediterranean home with a one of kind mural done by local artist John Wullbrandt and a new construction home that is an open-concept family home with lots of whimsical charm and an exquisite use of modern materials. Our other three properties are all located in the foothills of Carpinteria and offer some of the most

stunning views of the Rincon surf point, the mountain ranges and valleys. You will be treated to a tour of a historic 1928 ranch house and a Post-Modern home that houses a wonderful collection of paintings, sculptures and photography. You will want to have your notebook in hand and your most comfortable shoes while exploring our featured landscape property. Strolling this property you will be enchanted by the array of tropical plantings, and authentic poolside Tiki Hut and even a formal rose garden and expansive views of mountains and ocean.

According the Donnie Nair, Chairperson for the Home and Garden Tour, “Everyone has their own unique method for exploring the homes, and we certainly do not put any restrictions on the time you spend at each location or the order in which you want to explore the properties. We hope people will plan to spend the whole day exploring the town of Carpinteria having lunch, shopping and touring this year’s extraordinary homes and gardens.”

The event is $30.00 per person and the ticket includes a detailed map and brief description of each home and garden. You will also be treated to homemade cookies and our secret recipe lemonade during the tour. Tickets go on sale April 1 at the following locations throughout Carpinteria: Sandcastle Time, The Cotton Company, Porch, Curious Cup Bookshop, Susan Willis, Carpinteria Lumber, and Roxanne’s A Wish and a Dream. You can also purchase tickets at the Carpinteria Farmer’s Market every Thursday throughout April. You may also purchase your tickets by mail, send check and a return postage envelope to PO Box 1294, Carpinteria, CA 93014.

Get your tickets early as this event does sell out!

Carpinteria Beautiful is a non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible. All proceeds benefit Carpinteria Beautiful’s many community projects throughout the year. To learn more about this event or see what Carpinteria Beautiful is doing to keep Carpinteria clean, green and beautiful, please visit the Carpinteria Beautiful website: Follow us on Facebook @ for the latest updates on the Home and Garden Tour, including features and photos for this year’s tour. Contact Committee Chair, Donnie Nair by calling 684-9328 for more information.

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Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

(Family Features) The benefits of having your own backyard vegetable garden are plentiful, and can include significant lifestyle impacts, such as healthier eating habits, money saving perks and more.

A Relaxing, Healthful Hobby
Looking for a hobby that allows you to contribute to the health of your family? Take up gardening. Beyond producing nutritious foods, it can help you teach your family about local agriculture, all while basking in the tranquility of the great outdoors. Though starting your own home garden can be intimidating, there are a few simple steps to get you started. Once developed, it can yield fruits and vegetables from early spring and into the fall.

1) Do Some Research
Find out what vegetables grow best in your area and when is the right time to plant and harvest. Many local university extension programs have this information readily available online. For each plant, consider the amount of water needed, how much sunlight is required and if it should be started from seed or a transplanted seedling.
2) Choose a Good Spot
Keep in mind vegetables need at least six hours of sun each day, so plant away from the shade of buildings, trees and shrubs. Planting close to your house may make you more likely to bring your harvest right into your kitchen, and will help you remember to weed and water. Including rain and irrigation, your garden needs at least one inch of water per week. Make sure you can easily access a water supply nearby. Some products, such as an Ames NeverLeak hose reel, provide convenient hose storage and can easily reach all parts of your yard. Be sure to choose a level area of your yard so when watering it will not pool in lower areas.

3) Clear the Area
Use your garden hose or a string to mark the area for proper placement of your garden. Use a sod lifter or garden spade, keeping the area level and removing as little topsoil as possible. Next, use a round point shovel, such as the True Temper True American Round-Point Shovel, to dig into the soil about 12 inches, breaking it up and removing clumps. To encourage proper drainage and escape light freezes in early spring and fall, construct a raised bed by creating a border with wood slats and filling in with soil.

4) Prepare the Soil
Use a rake to create a smooth finish and remove debris or stones on the surface. You may want to add manure, compost or soil additives to provide additional nutrients in the soil.

5) Plant Your Seeds
Determine if you will be starting your plants from seeds or transplanting small seedlings. Be sure to research how much room each plant will need and plot the layout of your garden. Dig V-shaped furrows using a warren hoe or the edge of a garden hoe. Carefully distribute the seeds in the furrows evenly and in accordance with the instructions on the seed packet. Cover the seeds and pat down gently, then water thoroughly.

Use this information for a fruitful harvest this gardening season. For more tips, visit or

Photo: courtesy of Getty Images (Mother and Son) 

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Do this, plant that: Productivity tips in the garden

Every day that I’m not on the road, I look out my office window toward the garden, and walk the property at least once or twice. My mind never stops turning with all the projects and to-dos I see for my landscape. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

My dream is to someday experience the term coined a few years back – “staycation.” The concept applies to the notion of staying home in an environment that is so pleasant, you feel like you’re on vacation. In theory, I love the idea. But in reality, it’s another story. Fortunately, for the lawn and garden, there are some pretty helpful ideas along with a number of undemanding plants that can get us a few steps closer to a truly relaxing staycation in our own little corner of the world.


These are a few of my favorite tricks for getting a little bit closer to nirvana.

– Soaker hoses: Keeping up with watering can rob many hours of precious free time. An easy way to cut down on this time consuming event is to make sure your plants are getting water right where they need it by using soaker hoses. These porous hoses allow water to seep out slowly and deeply. Roots have time to absorb the moisture and there is less risk of over-watering.

– Automatic timers: Simplify watering duties even more by using automatic timers. Use these in conjunction with soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems and put your watering woes on autopilot. The timers can be set to come on automatically from several times a day to once a week. Then, whether you leave home for weeks or want more carefree time in the hammock, you won’t have to worry about your plants or lawn not getting watered.

– Mulch: Usually the most dreaded task in any garden is the weeding. One simple solution to cutting down on the amount of weeds your garden will have is to use mulch. A three-inch layer will block the sunlight most weed seeds need to germinate. The added benefit of mulch is that it keeps your soil cooler, cuts down on moisture loss and helps suppress disease. It even looks great and really shows off the plants.

– A garden mailbox: Even the most organized gardeners find themselves running back to the shed or garage for that must-have tool for the job at hand. Placing a mailbox or similar storage box in the garden can eliminate those unnecessary trips back to the tool shed. Fill the mailbox with your most important small tools and you’ll always have them close at hand. Consider adding a trowel, plant labels, waterproof pen, twine, scissors, pruners, insect spray and bottled water. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.


When it comes to high-impact, low-maintenance plants, here are three of my favorites. Just keep in mind, even the least demanding plants deserve our attention every now and then.

– Knock Out roses: This is the un-fussy rose. If you’ve been intimidated by growing roses in the past or are tired of the work necessary to keep them disease and pest-free, this is the rose for you. Knockout roses are prolific bloomers and are very resistant to black spot and mildew problems typical of so many other roses. Provide full sun and well-drained soil and this rose will reward you with months of carefree beauty.

– Daylilies: They’re so easy, you can practically lay a daylily on the ground and watch it grow. Daylilies are beautiful and deer resistant with thousands of varieties in a rainbow of colors. They bloom all summer and return the next year thicker and fuller than before. The only work you’ll have to do is to divide them every 3 to 5 years.

– Hostas: If you’re looking for a showstopper for the shade garden, hostas are it. From miniature to massive, these plants known for their bold foliage are available in thousands of varieties. Hostas offer many shades of green, from lemon-lime to blue-green and every shade in between. The bonus with this easy care plant is that some are highly fragrant and all do well in containers. Unfortunately deer resistance is not one of its strengths.

Joe Lamp’l is the host and executive producer of Growing a Greener World on national public television, and the founder of The joe gardener� Company, devoted to environmentally responsible gardening and sustainable outdoor living.

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Secret gardens: UVA’s pavilion gardens harbor history – C

Here’s a fairly well-kept secret about Charlottesville: If you walk uninvited into one of the gardens just off UVA’s Lawn, in the Academical Village, you will not be breaking any rules. They are open to the public.

You wouldn’t necessarily know this, because the gardens are surrounded by Thomas Jefferson’s famous serpentine walls; the design does not especially seem to invite passersby. This is no accident. In the beginning, the pavilion gardens were “an extension of those residences,” said Mary Hughes, University landscape architect. “In the early configuration, you could only enter from a pavilion or a hotel”—that is, the larger buildings along the Lawn and the East and West Ranges. “There were no outside gates like now.”

Jefferson determined that the gardens would be enclosed by walls and would connect the pavilions, which still serve as faculty residences, to hotels, which were dining facilities. As at Monticello, he intended the gardens to be “completely integral to the experience of the house,” said Hughes. “Beyond that he left no particular instructions.”

And so, over the nearly 200 years since the complex was constructed, the gardens have reflected a variety of purposes and aesthetics, changing along with the times.

In the early days, faculty residents tended to be hands-on with their gardens. Each was allocated not only the garden immediately outside the pavilion, but also five acres for raising vegetables and 10 acres of pasture. To fill their walled gardens, some professors sought out ornamental trees and shrubs. And, frequently, they built things. “A 19th century household required outbuildings,” said Hughes—“kitchens, privies, smokehouses. The garden areas started filling up with these buildings that you want close to your house.”

No two gardens in the Academical Village are alike. At Pavilion Garden VIII, for instance, intimate flower beds mingle with the main garden of crepe myrtle, rose of sharon, and chaste trees. An hourglass path is lined with oakleaf hydrangea and roses, while the lower bank of the landscape see goldenrain trees and a formal orchard. Photo by Robert Llewellyn

With the advent of indoor plumbing and electricity, the gardens began to shift away from utility and toward pure enjoyment. These days, they are more public than ever. The Garden Club of Virginia restored the gardens in the mid-20th century, and UVA now maintains them as public spaces. They are planted with native species and others that we know were available in Jefferson’s day.

“It’s a blessing and a curse for the residents,” said Hughes. “There’s no maintenance, but it’s not yours to manipulate.”

In the case of Pavilion IX, whose residents—Nursing School Dean Dorrie Fontaine and her husband, Barry—are profiled on page 45, the garden is a welcome presence, and easily viewed from two rear porches. It also plays host to impromptu picnickers as well as weddings and other formal events. Like other pavilion gardens, its design is an exercise in sometimes extreme historic preservation.

Photo by Robert Llewellyn

“If something dies, we replant with the exact same plant,” said Hughes. A small, otherwise unremarkable ash tree in the Pavilion IX garden amply illustrates this point. On the spot where it now stands, the pavilion’s first resident planted an ash tree in 1826. Later, the pavilion was home to William McGuffey, who—according to legend—tested stories for his famous McGuffey Reader by reading them with children of other UVA faculty under the ash tree.

Known ever afterwards as the McGuffey Ash, the tree became a giant, shading most of the garden. “In the late 1980s,” said Hughes, “the tree had become so decrepit that it was determined a hazard and removed”—but not before tissue samples had been sent off to Cornell University for an attempt at genetic cloning.

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Photo by Eric Kelley

This failed. However, a cutting from the McGuffey Ash was successfully grafted onto rootstock from another tree. “In the late ’90s, we replanted,” said Hughes. “It is progeny of the original tree.”

Other species in the Pavilion IX garden include tulip bulbs (hundreds of new ones went in this winter), boxwoods, and peonies. With the Garden Club’s restoration in the ’50s, landscape architect Alden Hopkins designed the lower section, below the dividing wall, as an edible garden. “The beds are laid out in a more utilitarian, rectilinear fashion,” said Hughes. A central path is flanked by rows of Albemarle Pippin apple trees, and figs and pomegranates are tucked into the curves of the serpentine walls.

Revision of the gardens is ongoing. Hopkins’ restoration was partially based on an engraving that, it turns out, shows a version of the gardens that never actually existed. Archaeological evidence will continue to surface. Yet one thing is a constant: Strolling, lunching, or lounging with a book in these walled spaces, on a sunny day in April, is a true pleasure for Charlottesvillians—all of us.

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Photo by Eric Kelley


Continue the tour

An exploration of the great outdoors doesn’t need to stop at UVA’s Pavilion gardens. Charlottesville is bursting with rich botanical history, and the upcoming Historic Garden Week provides an opportunity to discover some of the most beautiful spots outside of Jefferson’s serpentine walls (and a few
within them!).

Founded in 1929, Historic Garden Week originated as an effort to save some of Jefferson’s trees at Monticello. The Garden Club of Virginia financed the campaign by organizing a flower show, and the tradition has blossomed into a week-long event that still funds the preservation of historic gardens like the ones at the Little Mountain. This year
from April 26 to May 3, Historic Garden Week features more than 250 gardens, private homes, and historic landmarks across the state.

Tours in the Charlottesville area will take on a historical perspective. In addition to a special lecture at Monticello and open tours at UVA (including the pavilion gardens), guests will have the opportunity to visit the house and grounds of Esmont, Morven, and Albemarle’s Redlands, as well as areas of Bellair Farm. Each of the homes will exhibit stunning homegrown flower arrangements arranged by one of 3,300 Garden Club of Virginia volunteers, making this event the largest ongoing volunteer effort in the nation. And according to the Director of Historic Garden Week, Karen Miller, the flower arrangements are breathtaking. “When you walk in, it’s like you are stepping into the pages of a magazine,” Miller said.

The tour doesn’t stop there. If you’re inter-
ested enough to hop in the car, Richmond’s historic Byrd Park and Maymont’s 100-acre garden are featured, along with private homes and landscapes in Gordonsville and Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro.

Even for novice gardeners, the event offers something for everyone, including a chance to rediscover Charlottesville from a different perspective. As Miller put it, “Who doesn’t want to be in Charlottesville on a Sunday looking at beautiful homes and gardens?”—Stephanie DeVaux

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5 Steps—How to Start a Community Garden

For our ancestors, community gardening was the ONLY form of gardening, but as the landscape of our territories have been whittled away, so has our sense of communal responsibility and communal effort to feed ourselves.

Bringing gardening back to our communities has a number of obvious and not-so-obvious benefits: first, it is a great way to give ourselves dignified access to culturally appropriate foods and it’s a wonderful way to pool resources and strengthen community bonds. That much should be obvious. But did you know that community gardening might also reduce crime rates? One community garden in Philadelphia transformed their neighborhood by revamping and cleaning up an empty lot to house a beautiful community garden. Their efforts had a ripple effect and soon everyone was looking after their property—and their neighbors’—with more care.

And that’s not all: Community gardening gives elders in the community a voice and a chance to share their knowledge while teaching our youth the importance of sustainability and being sovereign—inter-generational exposure of cultural traditions is vital to our communities! Community gardens may also help your community grow traditional foods in a traditional way—something we don’t get from the supermarket.

Spending time in a garden or green space can also help reduce seasonal allergies, stress and air pollution. If built to include a composting station it can also reduce the amount of garbage taken to the landfill every week. And if they are involved in the gardening process, kids (of all ages) are more likely to eat their vegetables.

With all of those benefits, what are you waiting for! Here is how you can start your own community garden in five easy steps:

1. Organize a Meeting

Where will the garden be (find a place with at least 6 hours of sunlight and access to water)? How much are dues? How many plots and what size? What should be planted? Who will be involved? Who will benefit? Is there the possibility of funding or sponsorships to help cover the costs?

2. Form Committees

Who will be in charge of securing funding or collecting dues? Who will buy the seeds? Who will construct the plots? Will there be youth activities or a youth garden? Who will organize the planting and harvesting? Or is it all up to the individual plot owners?

3. Make Rules and Post Them

Involve the community in making the garden rules and the community will follow the rules. When are dues? How will the money be used? Will there be regular meetings? Are individuals responsible for the tending and harvesting of their own plots or is the garden an entire community effort from beginning to end? Will tools be provided to share or is everyone responsible for their own needs? Will the garden be organic?

4. Prepare and Develop Site

Clean the site, create a design or arrangement for the plots, build the garden beds, build a tool shed, and build a compost center. You may want to plant ornamental shrubs around the parameter of the garden to help make the garden look beautiful. You may also have to consider deer fencing or other steps to keep animals out of the garden. Don’t forget to plan pathways in-between all of the plots! Pathways that are able to accommodate wheelbarrows are highly suggested.

What considerations for traditional farming and gardening practices do you need to make? Do you want to honor the ancestors in the design of the garden somehow? 

5. Stay in Touch

One of the purposes of a community garden is to strengthen the ties that bond a community. Be sure to create a phone tree, email list and/or put up a bulletin board to help members stay in touch when they need to. Also consider planning monthly workshops aimed at teaching the community how to garden, weed, harvest and maintain pest control without the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides. You can also plan seasonal foraging expeditions for traditional foods– and don’t forget to plan a harvest festival!

Darla Antoine is an enrolled member of the Okanagan Indian Band in British Columbia and grew up in Eastern Washington State. For three years, she worked as a newspaper reporter in the Midwest, reporting on issues relevant to the Native and Hispanic communities, and most recently served as a producer for Native America Calling. In 2011, she moved to Costa Rica, where she currently lives with her husband and their infant son. She lives on an organic and sustainable farm in the “cloud forest”—the highlands of Costa Rica, 9,000 feet above sea level. Due to the high elevation, the conditions for farming and gardening are similar to that of the Pacific Northwest—cold and rainy for most of the year with a short growing season. Antoine has an herb garden, green house, a bee hive, cows, a goat, and two trout ponds stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout.

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