Happy Holidays to all our gardeners and friends.
Your Garden Management Team hopes that this time of year brings you happiness and the joy of the season in our beautiful garden.
We celebrate Garden Year Two, an accomplishment given all that has happened in our world these past two years.
2021 was a year of change and growth in the garden. While getting together in the garden this year was curtailed, many things were happening behind the scenes.
Your Garden Management Team continued with monthly meetings by Zoom working with FVT management and Ryan Construction to grow the garden by twelve new raised bed plots. This project turned out to be larger than we anticipated. Ryan construction took care of the addition of new irrigation and procuring lumber for the plots and building the plots.
The Garden Management Team took on the job of procuring new soil for the additional plots and for replenishing our original 55 plots. Soil procurement was a challenge. We realized the soil used in year one was not of the quality we had expected, so we reached out to various sources both here in the valley and up in Show Low. Acquisition was slow due to struggles with getting truck drivers and ensuring the soil met our requirements. New soil was additionally amended with pelletized chicken manure.
By far the biggest challenge we faced was the labor to remove all soil from existing beds, mix the various new soils and fertilizer using the Kubota tractor and then refilling all beds. After trying to find contractors to handle the soil, and not succeeding, the ground crew at FVT pitched in and unloaded and reloaded all of our plots. We are very, very grateful to them.
At the same time, a new Communal inground planting bed was built. This is a bed for all to enjoy and use. To start it has been planted with a selection of plants with the hope that as times goes on volunteers will support the Communal bed with more planting and care.
The new garden year kicked off with a Meet and Greet in early October and there have been several educational sessions held with all gardeners invited.
The large mural wall seen as you enter the garden from the east is ready for art. The Garden Management Team is inviting interested Artists to contact us so that you may be included in the Art in the Garden Committee who will solicit and approve mural proposals. Other forms of Art in the Garden would be wonderful, and we solicit your input for this as well. Also, a new sign for our garden is being manufactured and should be ready in January.
You may have noticed that the remaining wall sections have been re-stuccoed and will be painted in the next several weeks. A section of this part of the wall is also finished smoothly in order to be a second Art Wall.
As we continue to grow, we want to offer more social and educational activities in the garden. To that end two shade structures are in process. A 12×14 shade structure adjacent to the rose garden has been designed and is waiting for Tempe planning approval. A second shade pavilion, 16×20 in size, is planned adjacent to the west shed in the middle of the garden. Preliminary design has been done and will be sent for architectural drawings. Following that we will have selected contractors bid on the project with completion possible before summer.
In spring 2022 we will be planting a small orchard to the east of the communal garden, probably 10-12 trees. Also, between the communal garden and the orchard, a meditation garden with an arbor and hummingbird/butterfly planting will be an additional area for all to linger in and enjoy.
The memorial rose garden has proved to be very popular. All roses in beds one and two have been sold. Additional roses will be available in bed three in January/February.
The garden is flourishing, tomatoes, kale, fall root vegetables, sunflowers, artichokes, salad vegetables and more are growing robustly. Gardeners and visitors are always out and about enjoying the beautiful growth and roses. It is truly a joy to be able to participate in our garden.
If you would like to learn more about volunteer activities in the garden, or, want to plan and sponsor a garden event please contact the Garden Board through the website.
Wishing all of you and yours a very Happy New Year.