New flower boxs

Gilbert Park Garden

We have new gardeners caring for our garden now, Grow Portland!

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Here is what is going on!

Working with a small team of school-based Americorps volunteers (via Metropolitan Family Services), we did a lot of clean up-organized the shed, disposed of, donated, or repurposed items that had accumulated over time. We also began reclaiming in ground beds from weed infestations, and demo’d several aging raised beds.

This month, working with a volunteer group from the Portland Timbers/Thorns Stand Together Week, we cleared an area of the garden to begin installing new, ADA compliant raised beds. This was an especially moving event because several of the volunteers, including mascot Timber Joey, have been involved with garden improvements at GP over the years, and shared how much they love coming to help out in the space!  Grow Portland staff returned today to finish the last part of Phase I-cleaning up and resurfacing where the old beds were so we can install new ones.

We prepped and cut lumber to build 10 beds (1 is complete). We will be building in phases as space becomes available. We expect to have at least 4 growing beds ready for planting overwintering starts in the next week. I expect the others to be complete by mid to late September. As the weather cools, we will turn our attention to pruning and clearing the native garden.

Our Education Director, Djamila Moore has reached out to DDSD (via Ventura Park/Holly) to explore creating some family engagement opportunities in the garden while we are distance learning. We are still working through what is allowable. Here are some of her thoughts:

“a quick overview might include some of the following (all of them at socially distanced stations monitored by our staff with materials that are either taken home by families or sanitized between groups):

  • Hands-on gardening (fall planting, watering, weeding, seed saving) either to maintain the school garden or for families to take home small potted items.
  • Exploration and scientific observation of the garden through scavenger hunts.
  • Nature art activities focused on plant parts (such as flower petal or leaf collages, nature sketches, bouquets, etc.).
  • Possibly produce tasting stations if that felt comfortable within safety protocols.

Our team will be brainstorming more specifics once we know if this is a viable option and based on what would be best for your school community.”

Jennie Marable

Operations Manager-Grow Portland

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