Beauty In Community Gardens
Beauty in Community gardens consists of:
- the presence of happy gardeners who add life, movement & a
- an organized group of garden beds that are well maintained, in
good repair, uncrowded & weed free
- garden structures that defines the areas of the garden, are
elements that can be used for artwork & create a framework for
planning year-round visual appeal
- artwork that enhances the plants & garden's design, adds
colour & texture
- the presence of children who inspire us to see the beauty in
small things as they become a new generation of gardeners
- a powerful aid in preventing vandalism
Specific Actions to take:
- Include flowers, both ornamental and edible, in garden beds
throughout the garden and along the garden perimeter. Choose
flowers have aromas, a variety of colours & interesting
- Develop garden structures such as perimeter berm gardens,
gathering areas with tables & seating, garden beds of differing
sizes, shapes, heights, kids play areas, scuptures, murals, signage
about the garden and artifacts such as an arbour or pergola
- Install welcoming signs, wide & level accessible pathways
with defined edges, bench seating, artwork that enhances the garden
- Inspire child friendly gardens with rocks painted like
ladybugs placed by children to play with while they are within the
garden, Fairy gardens, Puppet shows, spring egg hunts in the
garden, Scarecrow building, Pumpkin patch picking
Enhance the visual appeal of garden
- Birdhouses that can be painted and set at different heights
throughout the garden
- Fasten colourful plant containers securely to a fence or
- Use very heavy large colourful pots as garden focal point
- Attach solar lights out of arm's reach
- Add fruit shrubs around the garden
- Firmly fix wind chimes to add colour and sound but at a
distances from residences close to the garden
- Install a freestanding trellis that will not move in the
- Add plant signs to garden beds & art boards
Create consistent garden maintenance:
- Schedule routine maintenance of garden bed frames and other
structures every 5 years to ensure these elements are not
- Ensure that the water supply is turned on early in the spring
& stays on as long as possible as out falls are getting
Control urban wildlife by:
- Raising beds & enclosing them attractively to control
- Plant tasting beds for 4 & 2 legged wildlife to munch
- Install motion detectors connected to lights
- Plant barriers of prickly roses, sea buckthorn, gooseberries,
barberry & raspberries
Find long term practical solutions to quack grass in
pathways & garden beds
- Don't compost weed seeds and those plants with rhizome
- Take out grass and replace with mulch
- If keeping grass pathways, mow it very short
- Remove weed roots by sections
Making the Garden Beautiful Discussion March 18,
The goal is ensuring that gardens look attractive no matter the
season. Soil that is being actively worked and improved looks
attractive at almost any time of the year and conveys the
perception of an active garden being cared for year round.
To keep them looking interesting no matter the
- Consider plants that add structure and/or green past the usual
growing season. For example, sow cover crops in the autumn
such as fall rye. These cover crops then germinate
really early in spring. The growth of the cover crop improves
the soil until planting season. Then you till them under to
provide nitrogen and other nutrients and improve soil texture. Post
signs to tell everyone why the cover crop is being grown.
- Sow an early spring cover crop such as field peas, alfalfa,
buckwheat, or crimson clover that will germinate quickly, and
with the same result of improving the soil.
- Ensure that the garden is well put to bed in fall with beds
cleared of all plant material, other than those chosen for winter
interest or plant material that is feeding the wildlife such as
sunflower heads and upright seed heads.
- After adding compost to the beds in fall leave the soil in beds
either left as clumps for winter freeze/thaw action or smoothed out
for a early seed sowing surface.Alternatively, mulch beds with
leaves, straw, compost and cover with a row cover to prevent
winter erosion of soil. Post signs to inform
the community. Not having enough compost is a perennial
problem for community gardens, but there is a new player in
town. Hop Compost is producing organic
compost from the waste from local food restaurants.
- Establish and label perennial plantings that green up early and
provide earlier harvests such as rhubarb, perennial onions,
horseradish, stinging nettle, comfrey, and hardneck
- Consider planting a perennial cover crop in pathways such as
Dutch White Clover. It will green up earlier, choke out
weeds, provide blooms and nectar for pollinators and stand up
to foot traffic.
- Include colour in the form of annual flowers that serve to
attract pollinators as well, and may be used as edible
flowers. Examples are nasturtiums, marigolds, pansies
- Install sturdy, useful and attractive supports for plants
such as painted trellises and tipis that also serve as garden
- Establish attractive, safe pathways including stepping
Mid-season bare spots in garden beds once the
crop has been grown and harvested look unplanned, uncared for,
degrade soil and attract weeds.
Specific actions to take:
- Plan succession crops to transplant in once the first crop is
harvested. For example, grow lettuce early and then transplant in
cabbages. By the time the cabbage needs the space the lettuce will
- Learn to harvest early, thoroughly and when produce is at its
peak and before it can become diseased or less attractive .
- Plant disposable plants that either come into their prime
before or after the main harvest is done; such as spring flowering
bulbs, annual flowers, and cover crops,
For potatoes that need to have their foliage yellow and
fall over before harvesting:
- Instead of devoting a whole bed to potatoes, either grow
them communally in a shared garden bed because they need a lot of
space or use potato grow towers. These towers add structure and
interest to a garden bed and also contain the sprawl of the potato
Diseased plants infected by pathogens or infested
with insects or weeds are unsightly and spread problems to other
parts of the garden / neighbourhood.
Specific actions to take:
- Learn what a weed looks like in various stages of growth for
early removal, before they become well established.
- Learn what common pathogens are part of our environment,so they
can be recognized early and treated promptly.
- Learn to recognize signs and symptoms of insect damage, and how
to tell which insects are beneficial.
- Often pathogen or insect damage comes after environmental
damage from storms. Learn to use techniques to minimize
damage from our weather.
Top issues that cause gardens to look
- Weeds in beds,pathways, growing through mulch and in
surrounding areas outside of the community garden.
- Not enough variety of plant species being grown.
- Produce aging in the garden beyond its prime ripeness without
- Lack of welcome signs / murals on hard surfaces or signage
throughout the garden.
Top suggestions to improve our gardens appearance and
- Plant more varieties of plants for all the gardening seasons
within beds and in communal shared garden areas.
- Add more colour. Paint hard surfaces, provide plaques,
signs, decorative rocks and plants.
- Vary heights of plants garden beds and structures in the
- Decorate garden beds and the garden for the changing seasons
including Halloween and winter.
- Create a winter decorating scheme and incorporate winter
activities in the garden.
- Make sure you have a design to plan and enhance the garden from
year to year.
- Use plants that are not necessarily edible but add visual
interest and beauty.
- Organize community garden tours for gardeners to visit and get