Yesterday [April 10] in honor of coming Earth Day, The Nicholson Memorial Library System and Loving Garland Green, representing the Garland Community Garden, partnered to bring a gardening event to children in Garland, Texas.


Andrea Leon, Children's Librarian at Nicholson Memorial Library, and Jane Stroud, board member Loving Garland Green, and I were the official hosts. The event was held outside on the porch of the downtown Nicholson Library.


As always, with my many gardening interactions with the children of Garland, they were great--polite, attentive and intelligent. The age range for this group was 5 to 9.   The library is a wonderful place with lots of resources to add to the education of a community.  Although books to borrow are its main products, the library offers many more opportunities for fun and learning for people of all ages.  For example, in May, Loving Garland Green will be back to the library to lead a container gardening event for adults.

At the event yesterday, the children learned all about peas and container gardening. Some of the takeaways for them from the event included: a two-gallon pot with a month-old pea plant growing in it in addition to three seeds they planted during the event in the pot; a pan to keep it from leaking on the floor when watered; a trellis made of an upside-down tomato cage; a packet of goodies that included a zip-lock bag with snow peas and sugar snap peas; instructions for care of their plant; a pea recipe book prepared by Andrea that included a recipe for pea cookies; a journal for keeping track of their pea plant as it grows also designed by Andrea;  an information sheet about the Garland Community Garden.


During the presentation, the children learned they can grow just about any vegetable from a five-gallon bucket--provided it is the right size and has good drainage holes and the soil is properly amended.  They were also introduced to books that teach children more about gardening.  After they planted their seeds, Andrea passed out stickers of rainbows, butterflies and flowers and the children decorated their pots.  It was interesting to see their designs emerge on the pots.  Although the children had the same sticker resources to choose from, there was not a design on a pot that was like another--just more evidence for the fact that we each have something unique to bring forth to the world. 


It was a great day and once again an honor to interact with the children In our community.  In closing, I leave you with this garden riddle: 

How is a seed like a book?

Answer:  BOTH CONTAIN INFORMATION.  The seed provides all the information needed to produce a plant and it is specific to a topic. This is sometimes referred to as genetic coding.   For example, a pea seed will never instruct the development of an oak tree.  A squash seed will never grow a tomato.  The same may be said for a book.  It too contains information specific to a topic.  You'll never learn how to repair a car by reading a cookbook for making desserts.


2023 promises to be a great year at the Garland Community Garden!  Urbanites who visit the garden can learn a lot about how to grow some of the food they eat.


If you visit the garden, you'll see for yourself! It is filled with signs that. provide instructions that you can snap a photo of with your phone and take home to build your own garden. Lots of new additions, new beds and new garden structures.  This year our garden will feature many non-traditional formats for growing food in an urban environment.  For example, we have no less than seven potato towers. These are three-foot talk wire cages, 2 feet in diameter that are filled with soil, straw and potato eyes.  In a space of 2 feet square you can grow many potatoes.

We will also have a structure that enables the gardener to grow tomatoes upside down.  Thus in a space of only two feet, the urban gardener can grow four tomato plants, and at least five basil plants.  We hope you'll come and see for yourself.


Tomato plant growing from a tower on a deck growing in only four square feet.

Think vertical!

You can grow a lot of plants if you grow them up and, in a container, instead of spreading them out in a traditional garden plot. For example, last year from May to the end of October, I grew over $800 worth of okra in 8 five-gallon buckets.  One key is to grow vegetables that your family loves to eat.  Another key is to grow vegetables that are easy to preserve.  For example, Okra is very easy to freeze:  wash, chop and put in freezer bags.  Yet another tip is to choose vegetables that you like that are expensive to buy in the store.  For example, the yellow buttery Yukon potatoes are more expensive (and tasty) than the Idaho potatoes.

You don't need an expensive tower.  You can build your own grow towers our of straw, chicken wire and soil.  Potatoes are a crop that grows well and prolifically vertically. I already have a post showing how to grow lots of potatoes in a pot on this blog in my January posts.  These instructions you can also find down at the Garland Community Garden.  You can take a snap shot of them with your phone if you like.


Speaking of Vertical . . .

Loving Garland Green was recently gifted a plant tower by Jane and Bob Stroud.  I'm very excited about  putting it to use.

Garden Tower 2™, 50-Plant Composting Vertical Garden PlanterThe “World's Most Advanced Vertical Garden Planter”

The composting 50 plant accessible vertical Garden Tower® for organic balcony and vertical gardening by Garden Tower® Project. 

100% UV stable food-grade high-purity HDPE plastic, and backed by a 5-year manufacturer warranty.  Recently named the “Worlds Most Advanced Vertical Garden Planter”, the Garden Tower® 2 features food-grade USA-made HDPE (non-toxic, BPA & PVC free plastic) components, FDA-approved dye, and UV-protection antioxidant package for health, durability, and recyclability.  

Here is the description of the tower:

  • The rotating Garden Tower® 2 is a composter that grows 50 plants in 4 square feet nearly anywhere.
  • Turns waste kitchen scraps into organic fertilizer to grow organic produce.
  • The Garden Tower® vertical garden planter and composting system replicates a natural ecosystem allowing plants to access nutrients recycled through organic composting processes.
  • Easily grow nearly any vegetables, herbs or flowers organically.
  • An organic and resilient 6 cubic foot vertical soil-based alternative to expensive and difficult hydroponic systems.
  • Proudly 100% Made in the USA using 100% UV stable food-grade high-purity HDPE plastic, and backed by a 5-year manufacturer warranty.
  • 43 inches  tall & 24.5 inches wide. 36 lbs. (~220 lbs. with moist soil)


Think Intensive Planting!

Plants do need space, but not nearly as much as some may believe.  For example, if you plant a tomato plant in the center of an 18-inch square and stake it well, it can be surrounded on the perimeter by other compatible plants.  One big garden rule:  Do not plant peppers near tomatoes.  Square foot gardening is one method of urban gardening that takes advantage of the intensive planting format.  Four by four foot raised beds are divided into 16 one-inch squares.  The Keyhole Garden which also takes up a lot less space than the traditional row garden also takes advantage of intensive planting.






BRING A NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEM. [canned goods; milk that is packaged for non-refrigerated shelf life; boxes of raisins, etc.  Think homeless without a stove or refrigerator like you have.] All the food will be donated to the Good Samaritans of Garland. 


One of the many friends of the Garland Community Garden, Rich Resser, has secured hundreds of beautiful canna rhizomes from a company that sells them.  The season for planting Cannas ends the last day of August so the dealer is unable to sell them.  Planting near the end of August still gives them the 10 to 12 weeks they need to establish before the first frost in our area which typically comes around November 16.  Your bed of Cannas will come back year after year.

You will have the contented feeling that comes from being an active part of your community and . . .

  • - as many free canna rhizomes as you want.

  • - the opportunity to learn about the relationship between cannas and pollinators.
  • the opportunity to learn about the magic of the Garland Community Garden:  Our Little Free Library and its new annex; information about hemp, a plant that is now legal to grow in the USA; you can see and even taste an edible weed; and more.

  • - Free information about what to plant in your fall garden; how to plant cannas; all about hummingbirds; how to get a license in the state of Texas to grow hemp; and how to plant a small field of wheat and then turn it into flour.


We will be set up in the shade of one of the large old trees by our turquoise picnic table that Good Sam’s of Garland donated to us.  It is always cool under the protected canopy of a large old tree.

The Garland Community Garden is located at the junction of Brand and Naaman School Road. The entrance s up at the eastern end of the property where all the construction equipment is.  Just drive on in and park where you see other cars parked.  Rain check day on Sunday 1-4 PM.


Update from the Garland Community Garden - July 28, 2022


Libraries are great places where knowledge is stored and shared with communities.  In the past few years the concept of library has been expanded.  We now have free little libraries all over most of our cities. People build them and put them up in their yard. I know of  at least three right here in Garland.    Typically, they look like the photo above.  However, the one we have at the Garland Community Garden is unique.  It was donated by the folks in the nearby Flamingo neighborhood. It was crafted from a metal box that once dispensed newspapers. The concept is a 24/7 library right in your neighborhood where you can come and get books and also leave books that you have enjoyed. One of the principles of the Little Free Library is that by providing greater, more equitable book access in neighborhoods worldwide, we can strengthen communities and influence literacy outcomes.  Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota.Their mission is to be a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries.  There are over 150,000 little free libraries all over the world.



Audrey Barbakoff and other members of her community wanted a place for people to share and donate vegetable, flower and herb seeds.  Barbakoff who works as a librarian on Bainbridge Island, Washington,  thought that the public library was the perfect place to house a seed library.  In 2014 the group and the library staff teamed up to build a seed shed right behind the Bainbridge Branch Library.  Residents bring their seeds to the library and the staff organize, label and store them in the shed where people are free to take what they need.  According to Audrey, the seed library is sustainable in all ways because it encourages people to grow locally and connect with what they eat.  It's socially sustainable because people are coming together to pool resources.  Borrowing something is also economically sustainable. 



Darla Bradish, a property manager in Bremerton, Washington heard about the Little Free Library movement and imagined a similar concept, but with food.  It's hard for some seniors to get to food banks so why not make food available in neighborhoods she thought.  She got her program, 'Kitsap Neighborhood Little Free Pantries" by her county public health department She then created a Go Fund Me account and a Facebook page to solicit donations and volunteers.  The success of her project led to the local corrections department offering to build her more pantry boxes.



Liz Matthews loves taking on do it yourself home improvement projects but doesn't like buying tools and only using them once. She turned to her neighbors and decided that everyone could save a lot of time and money if they shared tools.  She created a Facebook group where 400 of her neighbors exchange tools such as drills, weed whackers, pressure washers and more.  "Not only have I found every tool I've ever needed, but I've also been able to share with others and meet some new lifelong friends," she says.  "It encourages safety and pride in our 'hood, and that's what this is really all about."

I think I will build a seed library for the Garland Community Garden this fall. 


Update from the Garland Community Garden
April 9, 2022


We want people to visit and enjoy our garden.  I hope our garden sign strikes a happy compromise in communicating that we do not want visitors harvesting our produce and at the same time showing compassion for those who may visit who are in need of food.  Thus, we provide the name and address of the Garland Good Samaritans, a local food bank that Loving Garland Green shares 50% of our produce with. 


We hope you enjoy the peace and beauty of the garden. Our mission is to raise community awareness of the benefits offered by urban gardens.

If you are in need of food, please contact Good Samaritans of Garland 972-276-2263 - 214 North 12th Street Garland, TX 75040.  We donate 50% of the food we grow in this garden to them.

  • Please do not pick our produce. Members of Loving Garland Green work hard to grow these vegetables.
  • Please take your trash with you when you leave.  We do not have City trash pickup.
  • Please be aware for your safety.  We are a wildlife habitat and share our space with other creatures, including snakes.
  • Please do not plant anything or harvest seeds without permission.  972-571-4497



Members of the Garland Key Club at the Garland Community Garden helped Loving Garland Green clean up around the perimeter of the garden - August 7, 2021


What a great Saturday morning!  Eleven members of the North Garland High School Key club arrived at 9AM and worked until noon--that’s 33 people hours.  When you add the five Loving Garland Green members who were able to attend, that’s another 15 hours for a grand total of 48 people hours in our community garden today. And can you tell the difference! Working together makes all the difference.  Just imagine, if cutting all this brush was done by one person, it would have taken them 48 hours to do the job that we did in three hours.


Key Club is an international organization, sponsored by the Kiwanis (another great service organization) and created to connect high school students to community through service.  Key Club members volunteer and help others through both community service and fundraising. They contribute to charitable causes and volunteer for organizations such as UNICEF and Bow-Dazzling to help others in need.  They do lots of good for the people in our community.  Later this month they will be helping senior citizens clean up their yards.


The North Garland Key Club’s passion for service has led them to become one of the top 25 Key Clubs in the Texas-Oklahoma district.  If the job they did today at the Garland Community Garden is any example of their outstanding work, we certainly hope that they are able to continue this trend.  As usual, I was impressed by their sweetness and wonderful manners!  Over the past 15 years I’ve worked with Garland students of all ages--from First grade through seniors in High School.  The story is always the same: an encounter with bright, interested, polite youngsters who are fun to spend time with.  Thank you for your work accomplished today. 


Update from the Garland Community Garden June 11, 2021


Where to begin?  I’ll start with the pumpkin story.  Last Wednesday, June 2, I decided to start a Ruth Stout compost garden plot.  I rescued two pumpkins my neighbors had left by their garbage bins.  I threw them into a compost bin at the garden, then covered with leaves and a little soil. One week later they had sprouted!


So, I separated some and replanted them in the compost heap.  But there are so many! So, I transplanted some more to pots. And now we are coming to another Garland Community Garden story-- a sharing table.  We have 112 tomato plants already in plots at the garden and some are left over.  They look a bit peeked but with a little TLC they will thrive and give you tomatoes before the summer is over.  There are also a few jalapeno pepper plants, a cucumber plant and some watermelon plants  If you can give them a good home, come and get the ones you need.  The transplanted pumpkin plants are there too.  If you have plants to share, bring them to our table.



Today I delivered produce from the Garland Community Garden to the Good Samaritans.  Our delivery today included green beans, kale, Swiss chard, cucumbers and blackberries.  Next week we should be able to start delivering tomatoes.


I ate my first tomato this year.  It was a beefsteak tomato and totally delicious!  There are more to come and to share.  Below is photo of the plant and a photo of one of the tomatoes.  This year I’m growing all my produce in pots.


[That's a good metaphor for people too.]. We are so fortunate to have people who stop by to pull weeds, in addition to our regular gardeners.



 Update from the Garland Community Garden June 4, 2021


Many tend to think of world hunger as being “over there” across an ocean or two.  It is. But is also likely to be right in your own neighborhood, and certainly in the city where you live.  I was confronted with this reality myself when I went home for my 10th high school reunion years ago.  One of my classmates confided in me that she often only had bread for lunch--two slices of bread put together to look like a sandwich with something in between.  There she was.  I had grown up with her first grade through 12th and I never knew that she had hunger as a constant companion all that time we were growing up together.

I thought about her this morning as I delivered some produce from the Garland Community Garden and saw one of the volunteers from Good Sam’s.  I love the feeling of being connected to others who are playing a part in eliminating hunger. It helps me to quell that voice inside that tells me I may as well give up -- there is no point in trying because the problem of hunger in the world is so huge.

Around the world, 690 million people regularly go to bed hungry, according to a 2020 report from the United Nations food agencies. Globally, about 8.9% of the world’s population — 690 million people — go to bed on an empty stomach each night.  And no, as individuals we can’t single-handedly solve this problem, but working together, community by community, we can.

Those who garden at the Garland Community Garden donate 50% of their produce to Good Sam’s. This week our offering included 1 gallon page of Swiss Chard, 8-quart bags of mint, 10- quart bags of kale; 4-quart bags of green beans; 5 peppers, 7 cucumbers and two-gallon bags of basil.  Next week we will likely be adding a lot of tomatoes to our delivery as well as blackberries.





The photo shows a coming attraction to the garden.  One of our three young pear trees (three years old) has 10 pears!  The other two have none--go figure.

This morning I just filled 15 one-gallon bags with Swiss Chard and Kale  and 3 one-gallon bags with basil.  Each bag is two servings of super healthy food.  Thus, a total of 30 servings of greens. Charlie will deliver the bags in a few minutes to the Good Samaritans, a food provider in our community.

This is noteworthy because all of these greens came from four five-gallon pots that I have on my plot at the garden and at my home. The mission of our organization, Loving Garland Green, is to show (by example) the value of growing some of the food you eat and sharing it with others as we donate 50% of our produce to non-profit food banks in our area.  Even if you have limited space such as a small patio or deck, or perhaps a sunny room, you can grow lots of healthy things to eat.

Everything is growing like crazy at the garden.  I think this will be the year of the tomato for the garden.  I’ll get down there and count (in between the monsoon showers) but I’m fairly certain that we have close to 100 tomato plants down there in the various plots and many of them already are loaded with green tomatoes.


We just added another new young member to our active gardeners.  Her name is Emma Spalding who recently moved to Garland from Kentucky.  I signed Emma up on Sunday  and by the end of the day she had already made and planted her garden plot!  Emma is going the natural way:  no border and leaves mixed with the soil.  So far, all three of our latest members over the past two months are young and have created their own new plots where there once were none!


I got a call last week from Isabella Ignacio from North Garland High School Key Club.  She was calling to offer volunteer help to the garden from the club. School is out in June and in July Isabella will be coordinating with Matt Grubisich, Director of Garland Parks and Recreation, and Loving Garland Green to mulch a large pile of brush down at the garden.



Will there be a Monarch in the Garden today?  You'll never know if you don't come on down and help us celebrate our 7th Anniversary!

It may be a little soggy until 10:30 AM But we will be celebrating in the Garden as Planned!

Here in Texas things always dry up in a big hurry.  By 10:30, the grass will all be dry and by noon the ground should be hard as a rock.

Hope to see you in the garden.  But if you can't make it today, you can visit the garden any day of the week as we are open to the public.

Come on down!

Visit our website at


Permaculture Principle 11:  Use Edges and Value the Marginal


When we founded Loving Garland Green in October of 2013, we set the permaculture principles as our ideals to aim for as stewards of the Garland Community Garden.  As such, we use no pesticides other than insect soap down at the garden. We also have an agreement with the City that they will not use pesticides or herbicides on their property that directly adjoins the garden.

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly using the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.

Membership in Loving Garland Green for most of us includes following the 12 principles of permaculture.   You can find them on our website at

The eleventh principle is one that is not always readily understood and more than once I’ve explained it to people because it is an important principle to observe in nature.  We can learn from our observations and then to use this knowledge as leverage to bring changes that conserve energy and maximize existing potential.  

As a culture we rarely use or even think of edges as any more than boundaries that separate different parts or areas.  As for “valuing the marginal”—more often than not, we view marginal as unstable and dangerous and run from it at full throttle.

David Holmgren, one of the co-founders of permaculture as a discipline is often quoted as saying:  “Don’t think you are on the right path just because you have plenty of company.”  That statement is a good principle in and of itself (even if it is not specifically one of the 12 permaculture principles).  And yes, almost the entire world can be wrong and historically have been more than once.  We all need to remember that. Ignorance can often manifest and spread like weeds to the far corners of the earth. The number does not increase the value of the weed.  If anything, it only makes it more noxious.

In nature, the place where two eco-systems or habitats meet (e.g. woodland and meadow) is generally more productive and richer in the variety of species present than either habitat on its own. In ecology this space is called 'ecotone'.

This observation of nature is central to the idea of using edges as a design method. The logic is simple. If the most productive bit of woodland is the edge, then design it to have a bigger edge.  Makerspaces that I've written about lately can be considered as putting permaculture principle 11 into action.  The makerspace is a way to widen the narrow edge occupied by skilled workers through the creation of spaces that make their tools and expertise available for teaching others.  The unskilled workers bring their own life experiences to this edge or space and thus new ways to use the tools and new possibilities for creation of new objects emerge from the merging of these two different worlds of the teacher and the student.

Intuitively, at least, we show some propensity to use edges and value the marginal.  For example, many people in the world desire to live near or on the edge where the water meets the land—lakefront properties, beach properties, and riverfront properties.  That we value such edges is reflected in the prices that we are willing to pay for these edge properties.

But it is peculiar how we can have such an understanding at one level that indicates a deeper understanding of the underlying principle and then turn around and totally disregard the principle in other applications. 

No better example of this than the way we have laid out our streets—particularly in residential areas.  If anything, the grid pattern which most residential developments follow totally ignores the edge and how it could be used to enhance the quality of any residential development and the lives of the people who live there. 





[RAINCHECK  date is Sunday April 25th 1 to  5 pm]

We will require masks at this event.



“Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting sick, scientists are still learning how well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Early data show the vaccines do help keep people with no symptoms from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.

We’re also still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people.

For these reasons, even people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recovered from COVID-19 should keep taking precautions in public places, until we know more, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing your hands often.”


We have scheduled this event as a come-and-go event from 9pm to 5pm.  We don’t anticipate any more than 30 people (if that) to be present at any one time in the garden and we ask all to social distance at 6 feet or more.   


We will have three tables (each well-separated in the garden):  One will have free plants.  If you are a gardener and have extra seedlings to share, we invite you to bring them to share with others.  One table will have literature from the City of Garland and from various Garden clubs in Garland who want to participate.   One table will feature bottled water and our guest book.


Below is a photo of the second bed we installed at the garden.  Talk about faith: We began installing beds before we even had water at the garden.  For the first month we hauled it there in five-gallon buckets from our homes.

Bamboo: It’s A Grass and it’s all over Garland, Texas! and you can find it at the Garland Community Garden.


Lots of surprises and things to learn in our Community Garden--about plants and other cultures in our community too!  Be sure and stop by the Garland Community Garden April 24 from 9AM to 5PM.  We are celebrating our 7th Anniversary.


Bamboo belongs to the grass family Poaceae. The long straight stalks of this giant grass can reach up to 100 feet tall depending on the species. Bamboo in more temperate climates is usually less than half that size, but tropical bamboos can reach staggering heights. The stalks are jointed and hollow, often growing in thick stands.

The above-ground portion of bamboo is called the culm (Latin for stalk is culmus). It consists of the main stem, leaves and inflorescence. The sections of the main stalk are broken down into culms and interculms, commonly described as nodes and internodes. These internodes are hollow, and the nodes are solid. These hollow sections of stalk between the nodes are normally airtight and have many uses.  NOTE:  Because they are airtight, one should not throw bamboo on a campfire as it can explode.

Most of the bamboo in Garland spreads by a rhizome root system and thus can be invasive.  Thus, it requires sensible management.There are two types of bamboo root systems; clumping and running. Running bamboo spreads by rhizomes and can be invasive.  We have bamboo growing all over Garland--particularly in areas near our creeks.  Bamboo has hundreds, perhaps thousands of uses.  In the 1880s when the USA was still a plant-based and not petroleum-based economy, Thomas Edison fired up a factory for making filaments for his light bulbs using black bamboo for filaments.


Yes, bamboo is edible.  I got this education from members or our Asian community 6 years ago in the spring of our second year of the garden. People began to arrive and ask me if they could harvest the bamboo shoots. 

Unlike tropical climates, the season for eating young shoots in most of the United States is limited to spring, because the closer to the equator one gets, bamboo send up shoots nearly year-round. Even so, for such an important vegetable staple in other parts of the world, I’m amazed it’s not a big commercially produced vegetable here in the United States.


Just one cup of shoots, after boiling, has cellulose, fiber, trace minerals, amino acids, 1.84 kcal of energy, 1.84 g of protein, 2.3 g of carbohydrates, fats (saturated, unsaturated, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), 14 mg of calcium, 0.29 mg iron, 4 mg magnesium, 24 mg phosphorus, 640 mg potassium, 5 mg sodium, 0.56mg zinc, 0.024 mg thiamin, 0.060 mg riboflavin, 2 mg folate and various other vitamins. Like most vegetables, many vitamins and nutrients are cooked out when boiling, therefore finding or growing species that are safe eaten raw is beneficial. (Bamboo is not one of them. It needs to be cooked because of its slight toxicity.  My Asian friends tell me that boiling for 20 minutes does the trick.)

Bamboo is an important forage crop around the world for various animals, both wild and domesticated. Almost 100 percent of the giant panda’s diet consists of bamboo. Gorillas, elephants, rats and chimps also eat bamboo. We could feed some of the animals in the zoos around Garland in the spring with all the bamboo we have growing wild in our city. 


Yes, bamboo can only be harvested in the spring here in Garland, but it can be preserved and enjoyed year-round. 

If you want to preserve bamboo shoots, as many people do worldwide, there are various methods such as: fermentation alone or fermentation and then dehydration; pickled; salted; seeds or sap made into beer or wine; and bamboo rice (bamboo seeds) or white rice infused with bamboo extract.  Bamboo helps sustain millions of people worldwide with food, shelter and various other uses.

Bamboo is harvested just as the tips of new growth are poking up about six inches from the ground.  Using a sharp knife, the harvester cuts off close to the ground.  After taking it home, the tough sheath is peeled off, revealing a yellowish white inner layer.  This inner layer is then prepared by boiling for eating or preserving for eating later.



I don’t recommend it in Garland, just yet.  In order for a grove to be safe for the public, it needs to have wide paths cleared for walking and I would recommend some sort of snake repellent for the area.  But being inside a bamboo forest is a wonderful feeling. It’s a feeling of being wrapped in the blanket of nature.  I’ve been in the ones in Vietnam and I’ve also been in the one at the Garland Community Garden.  For our local garden I wore safety glasses and boots (for snakes and stubble).  Unprepared groves are not safe for the general public as your eyes could get scratched by the leaves and you might come across a copperhead here in Garland.


Come Celebrate Our 7 Year Anniversary with Us!



All day Saturday April 24 we will be celebrating our 7th year Anniversary! We haven't decided exactly what events we will have. Although a Girl Scout troop will bring rocks they have painted to place in a special part of our garden. The public is welcome to come and go--even if no one is in the garden. We will have a guest book for people to sign and let us know what the garden may mean to you. So many of our citizens come and go in the garden that members of Loving Garland Green don't even know who they all are.

A couple of years ago I went down to the garden to work and there was a young woman pulling up weeds in a bed. I didn't know her so I went up and introduced myself. I could see she had been crying. She apologized and said that she hoped it was OK for her to pull weeds. Her grandmother who lived out of state had died that morning and she was a gardener. The women had fond childhood memories of her and felt closer to her down at the garden that morning pulling weeks.

The garden is a very informal and special place. You don't have to be a gardener to enjoy it. We have chairs scattered throughout and a picnic table. Everyone is welcome. We share 50% of our produce with local food banks.

To give another example of how/why we have no idea of all the people who enjoy this garden, yesterday a man came down with his compost for the week. I had never seen him before. For almost three years on Saturday or Sunday he has been donating his vegan leftovers for our compost. Yet I was meeting him for the first time.

I hope you'll drop by on April 24th.



This photo was taken on April 2, 2021.  In six years I don't remember blooms appearing before the first week in May.

It's hard to believe that a year has passed since I last updated our Loving Garland Green site.

As. you may know if you are on our mailing list, Jane has decided to join the ranks of the regular members and I will be the interim President until some brave soul steps up to the plate and takes over leadership.

Call me at 972-571-4497 with questions you may have about the garden.




Note:  Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all our scheduled activities are on hold.  But the Garden is a great place to visit during this time of self- isolation. We rarely have more than 5 or 6 visitors in the garden at any unscheduled time.  Many report that it is a peaceful healing place to visit.  All are welcome.

Members of Loving Garland Green have already been busy!    Beginning on January 3 we planted fifty tulip bulbs.  This is our third year to participate in the Journey North Tulip Garden and Climate Change Study.  Each fall and winter people across the Northern Hemisphere plant Red Emperor tulip bulbs in Journey North Test Gardens to help monitor seasonal change in a scientific way. ... Local climate affects where, when, and how plants grow. Over time, the timing of plant growth can be used as an indicator of climate change.  This year four of them emerged February 7.  In prior two years tulips emerged January 27.

March 6 we helped the students at Park Crest Elementary School here in Garland Texas put in their spring garden.  It was a fun all day event in which we planted over two hundred vegetable transplants. Loving Garland Green were in charge of planting the vegetables. Other groups at the event hosted additional activities for the children.  Reba Collins, a naturalist from Keep Garland Beautiful, presented discussions on pollinators and the roles they play in our food production.  Last year Reba and the children installed a large pollinator garden beside the vegetable garden.  It includes mostly native perennials that are already beginning to come back.  There was a tasting table where children were encouraged to taste different kinds of food (prior to corona virus awareness).  Also we had a group of perma-culturists there who showed the students how to regrow vegetables and compost.

Planting at the Garland Community Garden

Many of us got our plots planted just before the Texas monsoon began.  Below is a photo I took on March 12 after I planted lettuce, basil, kale, Swiss chard and cauliflower.  Already my bed had kale. celery and oregano growing in it.


Plant Sale:  April 4 at the Garden!  9 Am to Noon.

Since our plant sale will be out doors and there are never crushing crowds--never more than 10 people at any one time.  It will be OK.  IF you arrive and there are more people than you want to be around, you can wander in the spacious garden and enjoy the fresh air.

Tomatoes and Herbs that Charlie and I are growing for our donations to the plant sale.

Yard Sale:  April 10 and 11th - Corner Bellwood and Naaman School Road

As usual we will have everything under the sun.  All will be reasonable priced.


Note:  In the event of any revised public health ordinances, of course our events would be postponed until a later date.


Loving Garland Green joined forces to participate with Keep Garland Beautiful and The City of Garland's Neighborhood Vitality Department  to host the 'WE MAKE GARDENS' station at the GARLAND AREA MAKERSPACE BLOCK PARTY November 3.

It was a great turnout of approximately 200 people.  The theme of the WE MAKE GARDENS station was winter gardens,  The emphasis was:  Yes, you can grow flowers and edibles in North Texas in the winter.  For give-aways we features pansies, a beautiful yet tough flower that even continues to bloom in the snow.  Reba Collins from Keep Garland Beautiful chatted with visitors about the value of native plants and their give aways included native flowers.  Nancy Tunell, from the City of Garland informed visitor about all the great opportunities to improve your neighborhood including the planting of gardens.  We were pleased at the interest and the number of visitors to our station.

Some of Loving Garland Green's Give Aways:  Pansies and Swiss Chard.  Also not pictured were more pansies, Swiss Chard and Mustard.  All of these plants, including the pansies are edibles that grow in the winter here in North Texas.

Betty Roberts, President of Keep Garland Beautiful (on the left) chats with Jane Stroud, president of Loving Garland Green.


Reba Collins, Master Naturalist, talks about the value of native plants with a visitor.


Nancy Tunell, from the City of Garland's Neighborhood Vitality group talks to a visitor about neighbors and the value of community gardens.


Nancy's table also featured a reminder of the Neighborhood Summit coming up this Saturday.  Hope to see you there!


Liz Berry, President Emeritus and one of the founding members of Loving Garland Green takes a name from a young assistant for the drawing for the plants.


One of the winners of the pansies at the WE MAKE GARDENS station at the Garland Area Makerspace Block Party.



Here is a garden tip from our friends at Terroir Seeds.

Do you know how to keep your basil growing strong until the fall frost?

If left to its own ways, basil will burst into flowers about now, with almost every stalk sporting buds that will soon bloom and stop your supply of basil leaves, as the plant’s energy is redirected to flowering instead of leaf production.

The way to stop this and extend the glorious fresh basil season is to pinch the buds off, keeping the energy in leaf production.

The top photo shows where to pinch the buds from the stem, and the photo below shows what a few buds look like.

Don’t throw those buds away! If you smell them, they have a wondrously dense basil aroma that is perfect for perking up summer salads, boosting fresh-made mayonnaise, or adding anywhere the heavenly aroma of fresh basil will be appreciated.




I wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Here are two upcoming events in Garland for July:

July 12th  Last FREE "Sounds of Summer" Concert on the Downtown Square, 7 - 9:30 pm (including fireworks!). Havana NRG! ("New Breed of Latin Band"). Last week's concert by Memphis Soul was outstanding, and the Square was packed with happy families, vendors, lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Don't miss out!

4. July 13th Urban Flea Downtown Square (9 am - 4:30 pm), then FREE "Movie in the Park: SPACE JAM" at Central Park(starting about 9 pm).  More Info.  


First of all Charlie fixed the handles on our water faucets.  YEA!  Now they are both free and there is no more danger of pinching one’s fingers—AND you don’t even have to bend over to turn the water on.

Charlie is one of our founding members.  He can always be counted on to lend a hand.  If you think is he saying "Aw don't take my picture, you would be right.  Next are the faucets he fixed with some help also from Pat Patel, a new and very active member of Loving Garland Green.

and speaking of water, here is one of the watermelons coming along in the garden.  Next to it is an example of what happens when a cucumber goes unnoticed and keeps on growing.  That specimen is about three feet long. I left it there for folks to contemplate.

Below is a more normal sized cucumber from the garden along with some carrots.  Carrots are easy to grow in pots.  just scatter some seeds, water and be patient.  It takes about 2 and 1/2 months for them to mature.  You can grow them on your patio.  Experts say to thin them.  I say "Don't bother."  They will grow anyway.  Their lush green tops make nice display and many people eat them . I, however, find them a tad on the bitter side.


Below are Pat Patel's Indian Squashes.  Pat tells us they are delicious and they are said to reduce cholesterol.  I look forward to tasting one.


More Gardeners for Garland

I’m happy to report that yet another Garland family has decided to steward a plot at the Garland Community Garden.  Meet Ashley and Anthony DeLabano and their two darling children were assigned a garden plot Sunday afternoon, May 19.  They are the fifth family to join us this spring.  Garden awareness is on the rise in Garland!  Community Gardens are popping up all over the place. We now have the Saturn Hills Community Garden, Fresh Connections, and Good Samaritans are putting in a garden at their place. 

Our schools are putting in gardens too.  I know there is one slated for the fall near Centerville.  Parkcrest elementary has a great new garden that was just installed last fall.  Linsey Gilbert, School Nurse at Parkcrest was the mover and shaker who brought this garden to life and inspired a team of adults from the community to help her.  In addition to parents of the students at Parkcrest, we also had two naturalists—Reba Collins and David Parrish who helped to plan the garden.  Reba directed the design and installation of a lovely pollinator bed that borders the main vegetable garden on the street side.  David directed the installation of a Blackland Prairie section that borders the garden on the other side and along the top.  Nancy Tunell, from our Neighborhood Vitality Department, and I from Loving Garland Green assisted with the vegetable garden.  Of course the students planted the vegetables.  Over the summer, parents, neighbors and adults on the team will keep the garden watered.  It takes a village to make a school garden.



Our tomato plants are all growing like crazy!  I didn’t count but many of them already have large well-developed green tomatoes.  Another phenomenon:  we have really healthy watermelon vines—a first for our garden.  Also we have yellow squash.

(I know I shouldn’t brag but . . .)  This is also the first year for squash for all of us except the Drakes who last year got a few before the squash bugs moved in.  It seems that every year is different in terms of what grows well.

Tiger lilies are blooming.  Native common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is over 4 feet tall and the cacti in the medicine wheel are blooming.  Our seedlings of Native Antelope Horn milkweed and also called "green milkweed" (Asclepias viridis) that we planted last week is holding its own in spite of all the heavy downpours we've had.

Tiger lilies are blooming.  We don't know where they came from.  None of our members recall planting them.

Cacti in the Medicine Wheel is blooming.  It's hard to believe all this began just three years ago with three cactus leaves.

Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridis) seedlings.  At maturity these plants will only be about two feet tall.

First Generation 2019 Monarch Caterpillar


The garden needs some tender loving care.  I'm going back down there this afternoon to replace some of the straw that has washed away by our latest deluge of rain. Yesterday we discovered three monarch caterpillars in one of our three common milkweed patches.  I rescued one of them shown in the photo above.

The Story of Milkweed and Monarchs

It's a well known fact that Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) will only deposit their eggs on a milkweed (Asclepias) plant and that Monarch caterpillars will only feed on milkweed leaves.  But guess what?  There are over 100 species of milkweed plants in North America and over 30 of them are native to Texas. 

Native Plant Enthusiasts recommend against tropical milkweed 

According to some, not all milkweed is created equal.  Many native plant enthusiasts are against tropical milkweed, a native to Mexico.  One of their main objections is that the tropical milkweed lasts until the first freeze and in some zones will last through the winter.  This entices monarchs to overwinter in Texas and Florida when they should be going on to the highlands of Mexico for the winter. 

However native milkweed at the Garland Community Garden was all dried up by the first of August last year--about two weeks prior to their first arrivals around mid August.  It takes five generations of monarchs to complete the cycle to get them to migrate to Mexico in the fall.  The fifth generation is the one that is genetically programmed to fly to Mexico and semi- hibernate for about six months and then start the new first generation the following spring.  The first four generations are genetically programmed to die 2 to 6 weeks after they eclose.  In Texas and Oklahoma we need to especially make sure there is milkweed--in the spring for the Monarchs to deposit the eggs of the  first generation and then again in the fall for them to deposit the eggs for the last generation of the year.

Thus many of the monarchs arriving in North Texas  beginning in mid August through September are the fourth generation who are looking for milkweed to deposit their eggs for the fifth generation. If it were not for the tropical milkweed we also had at the garden, there would have been no milkweed for the monarchs. Thus I still intend to plant tropical milkweed in the garden this year. Of course I will cut it down at the end of the first week in October.  I don't want any fifth generation Monarchs hanging around.

I don't know why, but our native milkweed was all gone just before the Monarchs began returning in mid August last year. Perhaps it is the species.

It might be because our stand of common milkweed was only two years old.  I'll watch it closely this year.  If the native milkweed lasts until the end of September, then I'll recommend to the club that we stop planting tropical milkweed.  If not we will plant tropical milkweed again next spring as we will not leave the monarchs to fend for themselves.  Our mission is to support monarchs.  This fall we will also plant seeds of other species of native milkweed.  Native is of course always preferable; however, some food is better than no food.

We Might Remember that Our Native Plants Are Evolving Too

Like people and critters plants also evolve/adapt to survive the onslaughts of urbanization with its herbicides and pesticides.  Who's to say what's happened to our native milkweed and its survival strategies?  Honestly, I don't think people know but perhaps there are some studies on that somewhere.

From my own personal field observations, all our native milkweed was gone by August 1 and the fourth generation Monarchs visiting the Garland Community Garden in late August through September of last year would have been SOL if it were not for tropical milkweed.

Asclepias syriaca often called common milkweed, is another species that grow well all over Texas.  This is the variety that we have growing at the Garland Community Garden.  Currently we have 250 Asclepias Syriaca in three different plots.  This is their third year.

Milkweed in the Medicine Wheel at the Garland Community Garden.  Native Americans  used this plant for various medicinal purposes.

Asclepias syriaca flower buds - Garland Community Garden


Saturday APRIL 6, 2019

Garland Community Garden

Brand & Naaman School Road

10 AM to 3 PM

NOTE:  If raining in the morning may be postponed until the Afternoon.
If raining in the Afternoon, stop by from 1 to 4 PM on Sunday April 7.



TOMATOES—70 small seedlings for sale $1.00 each

MINT – 20 pots of mint $2 each

BEE BALM – 20 plants for your pollinator garden. Perennial $2 plant
SUNFLOWERS - $1 each

MEXICAN TARRAGON – great perennial addition for your herb garden Lovely yellow blossoms from mid July to late October Leaves used as seasoning on chicken and fish.  Only four plants at $4 each

ASTER – beautiful perennial blooms August to October  $2 a plant

OBEDIENT PLANTS – beautiful perennial flower- This herbaceous perennial plant is up to 4' tall and blooms from late summer to early fall 1 ½ months



KALE $2 plant

ARTEMISIA  $2 plant




I was down at the Garland Community Garden today--didn't find a four-leaf clover, but I felt lucky nonetheless.  it was a beautiful day and I was heartened to see six gardeners working away.

Earlier this morning I helped some folks unload horse manure down there and went down to check on our tulip bed which i part of a citizen science project tracking climate change in North America.

The tulips were planted on January 8, 2019 according to instructions we received from Journey North. All 50 tulips we planted came up.  The first ones began to emerge by February 11.  By February 22, all 50 tulip bulbs had emerged.   March 2 saw our first bloom.  By March 11 all 50 were in bloom.  Today I took the final snapshots shown below.  On March 17 all are in full bloom--almost read to shed their petals.

March 17, 2019

March 11, 2019


Once again Loving Garland Green, stewards of the Garland Community Garden, are participating in Journey North’s international citizen science project with tulips to measure climate change across the globe. On January 5 at 4PM they planted 50 Red Emperor Tulip bulbs.  Garland is now officially on the Journey North's map as Jane Stroud, President Loving Garland Green recorded the planting of 50 Red Emperor bulbs at the Garland Community Garden on Journey North’s website. Hundreds of people across the Northern Hemisphere plant tulip bulbs in Test Gardens. They will record when and where tulips will emerge and bloom in their own gardens and across the globe.  The database of this information will in turn help scientists in better understanding the impact of climate change.

Tracking the Spring Season

The database of this information will in turn help scientists in better understanding the impact of climate change.  When citizen scientists report from their garden — planting, emergence, and bloom — the record appears on the Journey North Test Garden map. One garden at a time, tulips emerge as the map tracks the wave of spring across the Northern Hemisphere.

Opportunity For Learning

This citizen science project is also a great opportunity for learning for school children.  At least one local Garland elementary school, Parkcrest Elementary, is participating in this project at their school.  They are planting tulip bulbs in their school garden.  Along with the tulips there will be an associated curriculum and related lesson plans.  For example, students will dissect a tulip bulb to learn all about its inside story—the specialized plant storage structure that contains everything the plant needs to survive winter and grow in the spring. Members of Loving Garland Green are planning a Tulip event for students at the Garden as well.  This event will take place in mid-February—about the time tulips start peeking up through the earth.

A Few Interesting Facts About Tulips

Did you know that tulip petals are edible? They have an onion taste. It's hard to imagine, but people also made tulip bread and tulip wine. The Dutch are responsible for the breeding of today's tulips and are the leading exporters of the bulbs - around 6 billion bulbs annually.

A period known as "tulip mania" occurred in the1600’s in Holland. It is now regarded as the first economic bubble collapse. At its high point, bulbs were used as a form of currency.

Tulips are sweetly scented! And no wonder! The meaning of tulips is generally perfect love. Red tulips such as the emperor tulips are most strongly associated with true love, while purple symbolizes royalty.

You are invited to join members of Loving Garland Green and participate in the first Wings for Our Community event.  “Wings” was born as a fundraiser concept for the Garland Area Makerspace. Loving Garland Green, stewards of the Garland Community Garden, are supporting us in testing Wings.  Our idea is to put wings all over Garland. People can pose with the wings and donate money to help manifest a space for the Garland Area Makerspace.

As our concept broadens and becomes more community inclusive, it has occurred to us that any nonprofit in our community can also have their own wings.

Each pair of wings will be unique to the maker/artists, but they will all loosely follow a format of being 8 feet tall and with feathers for their outer edges.  The body of the wings will consist of related objects.  For example, Garden Wings, shown above has various representations of organic matter.  Soon we will have a pair of “Maker Wings.”  These wings will feature people and tools.

The idea behind "Wings" is remembering and recognizing all the wings we are given in the form of people and tools that enable us to soar to heights we might otherwise have never been able to.   At this event, each person who wants to will be given a lantern and an LED candle to put inside the lantern and attach to a structure in the garden. These lanterns are in remembrance and gratitude for people in our lives who have provided wings for us to soar.

There will also be markers at the event for those who want to write the names of these people on their lanterns.


Note:  If it's rained more than an inch in the last 48 hours, park on Kingsbridge and walk down to the garden.

WINGS IN THE GARDEN - a participatory art installation in the Garland Community Garden -- Do something out of your box, even if it feels silly.  Visit the Garden and take a friend with you for a great photo opportunity._

You can have fun in the Garden--even in December!

In the coming week we will have a blackboard near the sign.  You can write your message and take your photo with it.  We will also have a plastic box by the blackboard with chalk, wipes and a guest registration booklet.  Hope you'll stop by.  The garden is resting now but if you open your eyes you can still see life going on everywhere.

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday.



From Earlier Days this Year in the Garden!

Monarchs mating in the Garland Community Garden - October 8, 2018

Photo by Jane Stroud

According to information from the University of Minnesota, mating monarchs can remain together for 16 hours or longer, and it is only at the very end of this period that sperm are transferred.

The tiny beginning - Monarch egg on underside of native milkweed leaf. Only about four days later it will be a caterpillar.- Garland Community Garden  -  September 26 - Photo by Liz Berry

Females lay their eggs most often on the underside of the leaf where the caterpillars  when they hatch cannot be seen by flying birds and insects from above.   A female Monarch will lay up to 500 eggs--one at a time. The egg is translucent oval-shaped and tiny.  Compare the size of the egg to the thumbnail of the person holding it.   

The total time frame for one butterfly’s life cycle (one generation) is about 6-8 weeks…egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It grows inside the egg for about 4 days. It then munches milkweed and grows as a monarch caterpillar (larvae) for about 2 more weeks. The caterpillar’s life inside the chrysalis (pupa) lasts about 10 days and its wonderful life as an adult butterfly lasts from 2 – 6 weeks.  Monarch butterflies may take as many as five generations to make it from Mexico to southern Canada and back again.  The last generation of Monarchs each year that migrates to Mexico live up to five months.  They are the ones who make the return trip to the USA and Canada and these are the ones who make the first generation of the new year.

However, the oldest monarch we know of is  Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.  Born on April 26,1926 Elizabeth Windsor is the oldest monarch in history, at age of 92.  She took the crown on June 2, 1953 when she was 27.   :)


Monarch Caterpillar - Rescued from the Garland Community Garden - September 20, 2018 

Caterpillar in the photo above is in its fifth instar.  The intervals between molts are called "instars".  After this one has eaten his final full of milkweed leaves, he will crawl to the underside of the lid above him, assume a "J" position and begin to transform into a pupa.  The total time for being a caterpillar is about 14 days.

Now the Caterpillar has morphed into beautiful green pupa.
Photo courtesy Jane Stroud

It will take the caterpillar about 10 days inside the pupa to transform itself in a beautiful Monarch butterfly.

Tagged female monarch, ready for release. - photo by Liz Berry
Charlie's Garden -Perspective I

Tagged female monarch, ready for release. - photo by Liz Berry
Charlie's Garden -Perspective II

Tagging and Rescue

Members of Loving Garland Green rescue caterpillars from the Garland Community Garden and also from our own gardens at home.  We put them in well-ventilated plastic containers and then tag and release them when they mature (eclose) into Monarch butterflies. In the wild less than 5% complete the life cycle from egg to butterfly.  When rescued and allowed to develop in a protected environment, 95% are able to complete their lifecycle.

Our nonprofit organization also tags monarch butterflies in the wild as they pass through our North Texas area on their way to the Mexican highlands.  Information on these tags assists researchers from Monarch Watch in learning more about the Monarch.  In the past 26 years over 1.5 million monarchs have been tagged.

(Note:  in the photo above, tags for seven Monarchs were already used.)

People who see a tagged butterfly dead or alive are requested to contact Monarch Watch and report the sighting. Ideally the butterfly is netted alive and the tag code recorded before releasing the butterfly.  Even if the Monarch is not alive, please call and report that as well.

First Line:  Email address for Monarch Watch.
Second Line:  Name of Organization 
Third line: telephone number
Fourth line:  a unique alphanumeric code identifying the monarch. 

There will be only one code for each monarch tagged.  The people tagging have record sheets where they record the code to identify the butterfly, date it was tagged; sex as F or M; whether it was reared or tagged in the wild; City, State and Zip.  When they have completed their tagging efforts (usually by the end of October) They send this information to the researchers at the University of Kansas.

 Come Visit the Garland Community Garden and You can be a Monarch too!

Get a friend to take your photo as a monarch.



Imposter in the Garden August 8, 2018

Jane and I had a busy morning in the garden this morning.  For the past week we've been seeing an increase in the number of all kinds of butterflies but primarily Gulf Fritillaries, Monarchs, Queens and Viceroys.   In my own yard I've seen several yellow swallowtails too.

This morning near the milkweed in the pollinator bed, Jane discovered what we at first thought was a monarch caterpillar, but on closer examination we saw that it had three sets of filaments (those antennae like protuberances on their backs that some incorrectly refer to as tentacles or antennae).  The Monarch caterpillar only has two sets of filaments but the Queen has three sets.  The poor thing was away from the milkweed on some tall Bermuda grass. Half of one of its filaments was missing.  I decided that it should be rescued so I brought it home with me.  This is my second caterpillar rescue for 2018.  In the spring I rescued a Monarch caterpillar and let it go as a female Monarch butterfly.  I'm sure there will be many more to come in addition to tagging adult Monarchs.  Last year Loving Garland Green tagged 100 monarchs.  This year we ordered 200 tags.  Tagging in North Texas begins around Labor Day.

The photo above shows a Monarch caterpillar with its two sets of filaments Photo by Monika Maeckle

Above is a photo I took of the Queen caterpillar.  He/she is now safely ensconced in a condo with plenty of milkweed leaves to munch on. I will say that the Queen doesn't seem to eat nearly as fast or greedily as the Monarch.



Nicholas Kircus in the Garland Community Garden July 24, 2018

The spirit of volunteerism touches hearts—both the young and the old.  Nicholas Kircus is among the community volunteers who help to keep our Garland Community alive and well with his labor.  Nicholas, an honor student, has been coming to the garden at 7:30 in the morning and working for an hour before football practice pulling the relentless Bermuda grass from our beds.  Without volunteers like Nicholas, our community would not have nearly so many nice places like the garden and public services such as the Good Samaritans—most volunteers work behind the scenes unseen providing valuable assistance the rest of us never see.

It is especially heartening to see our youth involved in community volunteerism as the patterns we set in our youth are often with us throughout our lifetimes.  Nicholas is a young man who appears to be living a life of balanced responsibility and discipline.  After he leaves the garden between 8:30 and 9 AM, he goes on to football practice at North Garland High School.  Nicholas, a senior this year, plays center for the team.  I asked him this morning if he had picked out a college to attend after he graduated.  He has narrowed it down to two:  Texas A&M and Oklahoma University.  In addition to caring about his community, Nicholas is also an honor student.  Either school will be lucky to have such a responsible young man among their student body.




Liz Berry holding two solar-powered ultrasonic repellent devices at the Garland Community Garden - July 10, 2017

Tuesday Additions to the Garden:  Supporting our "Send them Back to the Woods" Policy

In keeping with our garden policy as a national wildlife habitat we are already preparing for the fall when snakes and mice (food for snakes begin to seek refuge from the cold in compost and brush piles.  Yesterday (Tuesday July 10) Jane and I installed two solar-powered ultrasonic repellent devices at the Garland Community Garden. We will be inserting many other brands of these devices at the garden.  These devices are safe for use around pets and children.  They have no troublesome chemical or nuisance pesticides, no trap resulting in dead animals to deal with.  This particular device sends out vibrations and sounds every 30 seconds which are said to effectively repel snakes, mice, moles and raccoons.   We want to keep the critters in the riparian area that border the garden, in between us and the creek.





Symbolic Monarch Migration Teacher Packet

Measuring the Value of a Community Garden and Its Stewards 

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Become a Monarch Butterfly

Update on Plants in the Garland Community Garden

Garden Pests

Crop Rotation and Cover Crops

Upcoming Pole Bean Planting Class - April 13

Three Citizen Scientist Monarch Projects slated for the Garden!

Our April 1 plant sale was a great success!

We have been encouraging Citizen Scientist Projects in our Community.

We have been busy testing soil.

We have been conducting garden tours.

We have been meeting Garland Residents in the Garden.

We kicked off our own Citizen Scientist Project.


The Beans produced and produced!

Now we are looking forward to some English peas.


Signs at the Garland Community Garden

We’ve been experimenting with signage down at the garden for almost three years now.  I think we’ve finally hit upon a good solution that will hold up well through all seasons—we are using rocks and concrete. An example of our new signs is shown above.  This one is for our bean patch, which will feature Fort Portal Jade, Purple Hull Pinkeye, 1500 Year Old Cave Bean, Gold Marie Vining, Blauhilde, Pigeon Pea, Jacob’s Cattle (all grown from rare heirloom seeds) and speaking of beans . . .

Meet the Bean Man

Have you heard of John Withee (1910-1993)?  He grew up in rural Maine.  Every Friday his family chore was to clean out the bean hole and start a fire in it.  This pit in the Withee’s backyard was used an earth oven.  When the coals in the pit got hot, a Dutch oven was placed in the coals and then dirt piled over it.  The beans baked in the pit for an entire day. Then they were eaten for the Saturday evening meal.  Leftovers were eaten on Sunday.  If there were any remaining beans from Sunday, they would be spread on bread with mayonnaise and eaten for school lunches.


Jacob’s Cattle—the best beans for baking according to the Bean Man.  This variety is available through Baker Seeds and organizations such as Seed Savers Exchange

After living in crowded urban areas with little yard space for years, in the early 1970’s, Mr. Withee moved to a place in Massachusetts where he had a little land.  Thus he decided to create a bean hole in his backyard and invite a few of his friends over for a “bean bash.”   According to John Withee, the best beans for baking are called “Jacobs Cattle.”  As things turned out, he could not find any beans of this variety so he had to substitute a less desirable variety.

It was this event that stirred his interest in seed saving and became what was to be a 20-year quest for different varieties of beans.  He amassed nearly 1,200 varieties of beans and formed an organization called ‘Wanigan Associates”—a network of bean growers who helped him maintain his collection of 1,186 species of beans.  The entirety of Withee’s collection of bean species today is at Seed Savers Exchange’s Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa.

[Read the full story of the Bean man at Seed Savers.]


Gardeners To Do List for November in North Texas



Continue refrigerator chilling of tulips and Dutch hyacinths in preparation for late December/early January planting.

Plant pansies, flowering kale and cabbage, dianthus, cyclamen, violas, and other cool season annuals. Plant daffodil and grape hyacinth immediately after purchase.

    • Divide and replant perennials such as Iris and daylily.



Prune evergreen trees (as needed) such as magnolias, live oaks, and wax myrtles to minimize possible ice damage.

    • Cut back dormant perennials such as lantana and salvia after the first freeze.

Trim back tropical plants such as cannas, banana and elephant ears after their foliage freezes down.

    • Do major re-shaping of shade trees as needed after the first freeze when plants go dormant. This is a good time to remove mistletoe that stands out on bare limbs.


Plant Care

Mulch leaves on your lawn. Shred excess leaves and add to planting beds or compost pile.

Replenish finished compost and mulch in planting beds, preferably before the first freeze.

  • Harvest pecans after mid November.

Fertilize new fescue and ryegrass lawns at one half the rate recommended.

  • Apply your favorite fertilizer to pansies and other winter color plants to promote strong growth if needed.

Harvest fall vegetables before the first freeze.

Remove and drain garden hoses from outlets and cover faucets to prevent freeze damage.



We are pollinator friendly!

Pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food that we eat. We are lucky that we even have any left considering some of the horticultural and agricultural practices over the past 75 years.  


A lot of folks don't realize that here in North America we have over 4,000 species of native bees.  Unlike the honeybee which was brought to North America by European settlers, most native bees of North America are solitary, not social.  The bumblebee, one of our natives is the only native bee that is social, colonizes and lives in groups.  Our gentle-natured native bees are extremely more efficient pollinators than their European cousins.  For example, one tiny Mason bee pollinates as much as 100 foraging honey bees. 


Did you see a Monarch?  Report your sighting.  Click on the Map below and follow the instructions.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Map

What can you do to help the Monarch?

The Remarkable Story of the Monarch from Garland Texas

Building a Monarch WayStation

List of Milkweed Native to Texas

Milkweed Alley

Milkweed Seed Is Expensive


Learn All About Milkweed!

Re-establishing the presence of Milkweed is critical to bringing the Monarch back from the brink of extinction.  Fortunately for us, Brianna Borders and Eric Lee-Mader have written a definitive text titled: Milkweeds--A Conservation Practitioner's Guide.  This 156-page text surely must be among the most informative texts on the topic.  It is available free as a download from the Xerces Society website.  This text covers information on plant ecology, seed production methods, and habitat restoration opportunities.

Native seed producers, restoration practitioners, land managers, monarch conservationists, gardeners, and landowners will all find this guide valuable.

To download a pdf of the report, click here.Screen_Shot_2016-01-21_at_1.04.14_PM.png

About the Xerces Society

The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs. Butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, worms, starfish, mussels, and crabs are but a few of the millions of invertebrates at the heart of a healthy environment. Invertebrates build the stunning coral reefs of our oceans; they are essential to the reproduction of most flowering plants, including many fruits, vegetables, and nuts; and they are food for birds, fish, and other animals. Yet invertebrate populations are often imperiled by human activities and rarely accounted for in mainstream conservation. The Society uses advocacy, education, and applied research to defend invertebrates. 


The butterfly is but one of many important insect pollinators.  In fact, the bee is perhaps one of the most important.  Unlike the butterfly and many other insects pollinators whose acts of pollination are incidental to their gathering nectar, the bee deliberately harvests pollen and takes this protein rich substance back to the hive to nourish its young.


Many do not realize that the honey bee is not native to the USA.  It was brought here by European settlers.  However North American has over 4,000 species of native bees.  The only native bee that is social is the bumblebee who make their nests in the ground.  

The bee uses it proboscis (long straw-like tongue) to transfer pollen to its pollen sacs. 

Learn about elderberries and then add some to your edible landscape.  

Recently we discovered an elderberry bush near a pawpaw tree down at the garden.  Elderberries are an easy to grow shrub that  you can include in your edible garden.  According to Charlie Nardozzi of Edible Gardening:  

"The dark purple berries contain vitamins A and B, and more vitamin C than oranges. They are also high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. In fact, elderberry fruits have historically been used to treat many ailments, such as respiratory problems, colds, and flus. Plus, they are tasty when used in juices, jellies, jams, teas, pies, and wine. You can use the umbrella-shaped, elderberry blossoms for making a delicious fritters or even champagne." 



Loving Garland Green will be working with others to bring a makerspace to our community.  Makerspaces provide the opportunity for people to work with the latest technological tools such as 3D printers that they might not otherwise have access to.


Featured Garden Bed Formats

Sustainable is key to our gardening practices.  Diversity is another key that fits into just about any activity promoted by Loving Garland Green.  We display many different formats for garden beds down at the Garland community garden:  square foot beds; keyhole bed; hugelkulturs; containers; and more.




Education--A Key Component for Loving Garland Green Members

Sharing our own personal enthusiasm for urban gardens and its promise for the health of our residents as well as the health of our local economy is our gift.

Over the past year members of Loving Garland Green have participated in several community events where we have made presentations regarding gardening techniques and the importance of urban dwellers growing at least some of their edibles. (See our project updates below for more information.)

There is lots of opportunity down at the garden.

Currently we have approximately 3,000 square feet of garden beds, of which some are still available to those who are interested in gardening at the community garden.  The sizes of the beds range from small to large.  If having a garden plot sounds like too much work for you, then we invite you to plant something in a container and bring that down to the garden.  We have lots of room for containers.  The only "work" involved is that you must agree to visit the garden once a week to take care of your plant.

The best way to learn more about us is to attend one of our meetings.  We meet every first and third Monday from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at 216 East Kingsbridge Drive Garland Texas 75040.  We would love to meet you.

Why would someone want to belong to Loving Garland Green?

That's a good question and one of the best answers I can think of is:  "because that person understands the extreme value of gardens--particularly gardens that grow edibles."  




If you would like assistance on where what when to plant, check out these free handouts from our website:

Vegetable Planting Guide

 Growing Grapes in Garland

Hops in the Back Yard



Square Foot Gardens

 All American Gardens

Cook's Garden

Kitchen Herb Garden




Who is Loving Garland Green?

We are a dynamic group of people who are dedicated to increasing the number of urban gardens in Garland. We have joined together to form a nonprofit organization. Membership in our organization is open to the public as are our meetings and related documents. There are limitless ways to increase the number of urban gardens in a community.  MORE