Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving!

The Urban Jungle is moving this Spring -- more news and updates to follow.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Community Garden Update

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Last Fall I received notice that we had to clear out the Community Garden as the city was FINALLY going to decontaminate the soil and we were going to be able to grow some of the those veggies that need more space to grow. Being the dutiful and dedicated gardener that I am, the perennials were dug up and brought home where the lilies survived and thrived and will one day be brought back to the community garden.

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   Unfortunately we are now almost to the month of July and the work has not been completed, although I am really happy that they have done the expansion of the space and it will now go all the way to the street. I have been in contact with local politicians concerning the work and there has been no consultation or feedback solicited from the garden members and I hope that the new garden will be more accessible to more people (including those with limited mobility) and that next year we can finally get back in and have a truly organic gardening space to work our magic.

Catching up with this planting season

Things were quiet in the Urban Jungle over the winter months and with a ton of family commitments things are getting back on line. Here is a bit of a progress report since last Fall.

DSCN4578  All of the flower beds in the back have been expanded and given a good healthy shot of organic soil, and all the planting was done in mid May (just after the Queen’s Birthday) and although we had a bit of late frost, everything survived quite well. The composter was shifted closer to the house and the whole side bed was maximised for planting.

 

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The weeping crab apple tree was in glorious bloom this spring and was even bigger and more beautiful than any previous year. I think the past couple years of heavy snow have helped with that.

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The entire back corner around the blue spruce was reworked and the gazebo covering the Oasis was changed out for something more resistant and permanent. As you can see things are prepped but not planted yet, just the perennials are coming up and some of them were divided and moved around to help fill in the new beds. The vines were fussed with all around the garden and extra support given where needed.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Introducing Spaz

Life has this strange way of giving you surprises... and the other week we had Spaz arrive in to our lives and it looks like the little beast will be hanging around.

It's kind of reminiscent of last year when Romeo arrived, and you might notice that there is a certain resemblance between Spaz and Angelina (very similar markings) and they look like they could be related.

The other kitties are slowly warming up to having another beast around. Romeo has been the easiest (which is no surprise he seems to have one of the temperaments that is more easy going), Houdini is not bad as long as the new guy understand who the boss is, and our little girl is still not happy with the whole thing and will take some more time.

It's been just over a week now and things are slowly starting to come together and there is a tad less hissing going on.

Spaz is a real charmer... and it's almost impossible for me to say no to a baby (he is just over 5 months according to the Vet) and he has been worming his way into our hearts here at home. Like our previous stray that arrived and never left, the new boy has been eating like a pig and sleeping for hours at a time. Yesterday he slept almost the entire day and we chalk it up to the stress of being outside and starting to catch up on some nutrition. The little guy has huge rabbit feet (like Houdini) and we have the definite impression that this is going to be one monster of a kitty as well.

As mentioned, he has had his first visit to the Vet (his follow up for his vaccinations is at the end of the month) and next month he will be going in to get "fixed" so we don't have any male kitty issues at home. I am pretty sure that things will even out over time and that Angelina will come to love and accept him, it took a while but she finally came around to Romeo and he is one of her best friends now. Time will tell.

Romeo checking things out

Our little love monster has come a long way over the past year and has a great relationship with the other 2 beasts, all while staking out his own territory.
Romeo is probably one of the most independant kitties that I have had to date and he is often exploring the neighbourhood but always comes home as soon as he hears us (or the sound of us shaking food) and is a real charmer.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Community Garden Update

The community garden plot is still around, it's just that we didn't use it last year due to the contamination issues presented by the Public Health Department. It was decided that we would come back this year to plant flowers (and hopefully have a real garden plot available next year if the city can find a solution) and here is a view of the beginning of the season. You can't believe how much of a disaster the space was after leaving it unattended for one year. It took a huge day of work to clear all the weeds and grass that had taken over and it was no easy chore to try to turn all the soil. Since the composting portion of the garden is not currently in use, I ended up filling almost a dozen huge bags with garden debris to make room for planting.

Since this is a flowers only garden (nothing edible can be grown in the soil and container gardening is not terribly popular in a garden environment) I planted a variety of perennials that can easily blend in to the flower beds at home (they will have to be moved when they decontaminate the garden) and added a ton of annuals.

I was also lucky enough to get a sizable donation of different plants and flowers from the Loblaw's Garden centre for the whole community garden that we used to brighten up the space and try to keep the garden alive and vibrant while waiting for the city to find a solution.
Kate and I took the plants and divided them up amongst the gardens in the front 2 rows that face the street. We are trying to make the garden look attractive from the street even though it is hardly being used.

We have gone from over 40 people to less than 10 in the space of 2 years and it is heartbreaking to see the first Community Garden in Montréal in the process of slowly dying.

Hopefully our efforts will give us hope for next season, the city says they may have a solution and I hope that this vital resource is kept alive, there are still tons of people interested in having access to these kinds of resources and they are becoming an endangered species. You would think that in this day and age that we would want to ensure that we have enough green spaces in our cities and encourage the residents to be part of the solution.
This is the end result of our work for the Garden this year. We managed to take our space and transform it in to a beautiful garden that was well visited by all the neighbourhood butterflies and bees. There were many times that I would pass by to water and would discover one of the local cats hanging out in the flowers (more than likely after butterflies or humming birds) and there was at least a bit of nature and some pretty flowers to admire.
I still have high hopes for next year and hope that we have a real solution and can re open the garden to the previous and new gardeners who want to take part in this kind of activity. I miss the camaraderie of my fellow gardeners and how beautiful the garden looked when all the plots were well taken care of and people could grow their own food. It was always such a trip to see all the different vegetables and plants that were growing and I discovered lots of new plants that I had never seen before.
I do miss having those fresh veggies to eat like carrots and beets that I unfortunately don't have the room to grow at home. Here's hoping there is a creative solution for next year.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Angelina taking 5

Angelina taking 5 and relaxing beside the deck as she waits for either one of the pesky squirrels or some hapless Butterfly to come by. She is always dainty and ladylike as she waits.
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Houdini & the Apple Tree

Houdini loves "his" Apple Tree and it's a regular spot for sharpening those claws (sorry tree), playing around and climbing the branches.
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Morning Glory

This year the Morning Glory has been as big and beautiful as ever, and the beautiful flowers are lighting up the Urban Jungle each morning with their vibrant shades of purple and pink.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Foot path

A friend of ours recently moved and we gave him a hand with doing his own little oasis and garden, and in return he gave us feet ! He had 4 lovely stepping stones in the shape of feet that took up too much of his space (we converted it into a small garden) that we brought home and installed as the "Foot path" to the Oasis. It was a lovely exchange and I couldn't be happier with the result.
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Tropicanna Gold

Last year was the first try with some Canna plants in the jungle, and this year there was a new variety that I wanted to give a try. Since mid July we have been getting a continual supply of beautiful orange flowers that are a bright shock of color against the pale green.
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Shots of Color

I love how the red in the Swiss Chard jumps out with the vibrant red Dahlia beside it. It's just goes to show that even mixed and eclectic gardens can be as much a feast for the eyes as they are for the stomach.
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An Oasis in the Jungle - Another perspective

Here's a look towards the back of the jungle from the inside of the Oasis. As you can see it's great to have the walls of vines that surround the yard, and with the fountains and greenery it's like being elsewhere, truly an Oasis in the city.
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An Oasis in the Jungle - 1 perspective

Here's a lovely view of home from inside the new deck area (the oasis). It has been a great pleasure to have the new space (and to better utilise part of the garden area for our benefit). Now if only the weather would cooperate a bit more it would be even better.
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Changing views

The lovely thing about gardens is how they change and evolve over the season, and as you can see the view just off the kitchen is a feast for the eyes at this time of the year. It's hard to believe how stark and bare it can look in the winter and in the space of a couple of months have so much life.
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Summer veggies

The great thing about gardening is getting the fresh herbs and veggies. The climbing zucchini is growing like crazy and there are tons of blooms and babies. The other night I gathered up peppers, eggplant,zucchini, tomatoes and beans (and a ton of fresh herbs) to make dinner. You can't get fresher than that!
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Goose Neck

This lovely plant that I tried out this year has been producing some very pretty white flowers. No surprise with the name as the shape of the flowers is exactly that, like the neck of a goose or swan and very elegant.
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A view from within the jungle

From the back of the garden, a lovely view of the deck off the kitchen. On the right is the Rudbeckia, on the left are the magic beans and in the middle is the deck.
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Rudbeckia

I planted some Rudbeckia this year and it is doing great ( I can't believe how quickly and tall it grew) and the flowers are a very pretty yellow and I see the similarity with other coneflowers such as echinacea. It will be nice to see how it fills in over the upcoming seasons.
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Echinacea

The Echinacea is even fuller this year (it has been a great year for the plants with all the wet weather) and there are a ton of flowers and butterflies around the yard.
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Overview

I got a nice shot of the main garden area (and you can see how the vines are everywhere) from up on the 3rd floor of the apartment building. The lower left hand corner is the deck and gazebo off of the kitchen and you can see the new deck area in the middle of the garden.
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Garden Visitors

I am not sure if this is some kind of Finch or Warbler (if anyone does know, it would be fun to know) but these birds love sunflowers -- and have been zipping around the jungle for the past few days eating the sunflowers and making some pretty music. They have been driving the cats batty!
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Sunflowers!

This year we had a bumper crop of wild sunflowers (they are the result of feeding the birds and squirrels) and there was a good dozen that popped up around the staircase. The nice thing is seeing them and then watching the birds and squirrels make quick work of them.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Quick Tour of the Urban Jungle

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I thought it would be fun to try to put some perspective in the space and try to give a better view of our little green corner of the universe. It's not the best quality, but an interesting experience and hopefully enjoyable!