Posted on 19. Jul, 2012 by pamela in ELLE/Aveeno/SF @ Franklin Elementary, G3 Associates, G3 Blog, G3 Community, G3 Design Studio, G3 Partners, Los Angeles/South Bay, School Yard Habitats, Surfrider Foundation, Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens, Watershed Friendly Gardens
New G3 Associate and Surfrider West Los Angeles Ocean Friendly Gardens Volunteer, Tom Rau, organized a weed and feed (food for the mycorrhizae, that is) work session at Elle/Aveeno/Surfrider Ocean Friendly Garden at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Monica, CA. This session helped train the incoming parents and teachers who are active on the Franklin Elementary Green Team, and who will be maintaining the garden going forward.
This OFG is always a little surprising, as only truly hardy California native plants survive the somewhat brutal treatment with kids traveling off the beaten decomposed granite path, dogs allowed to run free through the planters, and even vehicles occasionally running over or parking on sections of the garden! It really is a testimony to the idea of using California native plants in those exposed and distressed urban situations like public, commercial, and school yard landscapes.
If there is one lesson, it is to plant copious amounts of Eriogonum grande rubescens (Red buckwheat) for a guaranteed year-round show of color. This garden was built by a community of women in a project supported by Elle, Aveeno and Surfrider West LA/Malibu, but the actual planting day took place after two days of torrential rain. When everyone showed up for the event, the clay garden soil was saturated and sticky, clumps of kikuyu grass were being mixed into the mulch used for the sheet mulching, paper for covering the grass was dissolving as soon as it made contact with the mucky soil, and plant tags got mixed up so that the yellow-blooming plants were placed where pink ones should have been, and vice versa. In short, it was an environmental disaster for a project that was designed to preserve and develop Living Soil.
Though, to remember the work day correctly, everybody had a smile on their face, despite the thoroughly dirty task! It has taken most of the past two years to recover from the day it was built. Kikuyu very nearly overtook the whole front planter area. One section was abandoned by the team early on as nut sedge took hold and proliferated in the recuperating soil conditions.
Battle lines had to be drawn. The path served as a DMZ and the Green Team became more faithful in its organized work days. Now, just a couple years later, the garden is ready to be assessed and replanted in areas that have taken the worst abuse. The Green Team is confident and trained in removing the weeds, keeping the annual native visitors (like Eschscholzia californica or California poppy), amending the drip irrigation system, and locating and spreading fresh tree trimming mulch.
Did we mention that the garden is looking great too?
You can visit and keep track of changes at the Elle/Aveeno/Surfrider Ocean Friendly Garden at Franklin Elementary School at 2400 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90403.