Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Go to the Rocky Mountains (Estes Park) for Free!

Do you have a 8-18 year old who loves the outdoors? Are you available between July 7-13, 2012 to go to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado? Then, you should encourage your son or daughter to write a no-more-than 3 page essay to apply for the 3rd Annual Tufts Scholarship. Hurry – you only have through March 30th. And make sure your son/daughter writes the essay – not you. As a teacher, I can tell you that it’s pretty clear when a student or a parent does the homework for school.  Here’s more information and a link:

NWF and the Tufts Family are seeking nominations (from students between ages of 8-18) to apply for the award.
The award winner and a chaperone will attend a week long educational adventure with the Family Summit Inc program.  This year the nature adventure will be in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Students need to submit an essay along with a completed nomination form by March 30th to be eligible.  You can learn more and download the nomination form at:
www.nwf.org/craigtufts

The Fund finances an annual award that recognizes an individual between the ages of 8 and 18 who displays an interest in the natural world, aiming to foster that interest and encourage a lifelong path of environmental study. The Fund provides an opportunity for a young person to experience NWF’s mission of inspiring individuals of all ages to care about and protect wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Good luck, and I hope someone from Austin, Texas wins. (Or my nieces in Wisconsin or nephews/nieces in California!)

Advertisements

Lovely Trees

I will soon be unveiling a project for at least – Kinney Avenue – or even better – the entire Zilker neighborhood. My project will involve trees, and this precursor post  is also about trees. Lovely Trees.

Picture of red bud trees surrounding a pond

by Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, NPS

In the New York Times delivered this morning, this is a wonderful photo series by Mitch Epstein called “How to See a Tree.” Check out the slideshow “Trees in an Urban Jungle.”

If you are interested in how Epstein made some of these photographs, there is also an interview with the photographer, Mitch Epstein, and Tree Stalker.

Enjoy!

Keyhole Gardening … Sustainable During Droughts

Wow, this article about Dr. Deb Tolman’s (Landscape Architect) keyhole gardening idea is amazing. She describes how to build a raised 6ft. diameter garden sustainably. The garden is built from found materials (rock, concrete, timber, even an old boat etc.) and filled with cardboard, newspaper, phone books, and some soil and compost. A 1 ft. diameter feeding tube in the middle allows you to add compost and water as needed. She adds about a gallon of water daily (you probably create that much excess rinsing vegetables or brushing your teeth) and some more during extreme heat (like last summer).

What’s more amazing is how much produce it produces! (veges and fruits!) A family of 10 can live off 3 keyhole gardens.

“It works well in places far drier than we are here on the edge of the Hill Country,” says Tolman, who discovered the technique five years ago. The sustainable gardening method was developed by a humanitarian aid organization in southern Africa, where resources are scarce and the climate unforgiving. There, three keyhole gardens can feed a family of 10 all year long, reports the BBC.

It’d be cool to see some of these gardens in Zilker. And added luxury is no more bending over for gardening! You can stand straight up as you harvest.

 

 

 

Leaf for a Leaf … Reading and Tree Program

Let me begin by saying I saw a Red Bud tree blooming yesterday, February 7th, on Kerr St. I’ll let you do the roaming to find it. Red bud trees will be mentioned later in this post … but now to my topic!

Combining two of my favorite things in the world: reading and gardening – is the Leaf for a Leaf program sponsored by the Austin Public Library, TreeFoks, Austin Parks and Recreation Urban Forestry Program, and Austin Energy.

Attention tree lovers of all ages, the Leaf for a Leaf program promotes borrowing library books to reduce the number of trees that are cut down to make paper. Learn to improve the air we breathe, minimize environmental impact, and enhance your surroundings. The program celebrates trees in the late fall through the early winter because it is the best time to plant them in Central Texas. This year Leaf for a Leaf takes place from October 29 through March 3. Make sure to participate in our Leaf for a Leaf reading contest. Turn in a card at the Twin Oaks Branch, 1800 South Fifth Street, for every five books you read. The more you read, the better chance you have of winning a big prize. So what are you waiting for? Start reading a leaf for a leaf now!

Photo of reading log entry cardI saw a display in the Twin Oaks branch library today. It’s not too late to start keeping track of your reading to be entered into the final drawing for prizes. While I’m not 100% convinced by their premise to decrease the number of books printed and reduce trees cut down (how can I when my husband is a book publisher and author?), I am 100% supportive of checking out books at the library. In fact, I have been in a monthly book club for more than 4 years and I have never bought even one of the books for the monthly book club meetings. I am committed to getting my books from the library. Sometimes I check-out the actual book, sometimes an audio book version, and lately, a Kindle book version read on my iPad. Anyway, that’s enough about reading …

And now let’s turn to gardening. The finale event of Leaf for a Leaf is an event at Ricky Guerrero Park (click for map), which is located just south of the Twin Oaks Library. See the details below. At this event, not only can you help mulch trees at the park, it looks like you can also receive a free book bag, a red bud sapling (one of my favorite trees – I have planted 3 of them in the last year at my own house, though mine are not blooming yet), and mulch.

March 3 at 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Tree Celebration Finale @ Ricky Guerrero Park, 2006 S. Sixth St.
Bring the whole family to show some love for the trees at Ricky Guerrero Park. Join the Library and Parks Departments to mulch the park’s trees. There will be snacks, hands-on book and tree themed crafts for kids and adults. Everyone who attends will walk away with a free book bag, sapling and mulch. Austin Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry experts will be on hand to teach you how to care for your new tree-to-be. Additionally, turn in your Leaf for a Leaf frequent reader cards to be entered into a drawing for exciting prizes! You must be present to win.
This is your chance to also reap the benefits of all the reading you are doing. Turn in  your reading logs, and you’ll be entered into the drawing. See you there on March 3rd.
%d bloggers like this: