Flowers, Food, Community: CTG Season Premiere

Last week, long lines formed to fuel up, including hummingbirds, butterflies and tiny pollinators on my Turk’s cap and rain-prompted Oxblood lilies, always a September treat.
Turk's cap nectar Oxblood lily pollen Central Texas Gardener
Oxblood lily and Turk's cap nectar and pollen Central Texas Gardener
At the Mueller Community Garden, lots of bees harvested Sylvetta arugula, leaving the spicy leaves for the gardener’s salads.
bee on arugula Mueller Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Butterflies and others landed in a raised bed of native frogfruit and aloes.
frogfruit and aloe Mueller Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Other pollinators headed to Mueller’s rain lilies that popped in a street-side wildflower meadow.
insect on rain lily Mueller Food Forest Central Texas Gardener
In spring, native wildflowers populate this public food forest strip of young fruit trees.
Mueller wildflower prairie food forest Central Texas Gardener
Mueller Food Forest trail Central Texas Gardener
Gardeners are even growing right up front. This okra didn’t miss a beat in the 100-degree caravan, much to the bees’ delight.
front yard vegetable beds Austin Central Texas Gardener
This week we’re thrilled to present horticulturist, speaker, and author Brie Arthur, who shares her passion to end food deserts, right at home.
Brie Arthur Central Texas Gardener
Author of The Foodscape Revolution and the 2017 American Horticulture Society’s Emerging Horticulture Professional, Brie and husband David pepper their North Carolina homestead with all kinds of food, including grains right in the front yard!
The Foodscape Revolution Brie Arthur Central Texas Gardener
Brie well knows a gardener’s pitfalls, especially when starting out. In The Foodscape Revolution, she combines practical, hands-on details with personal stories of trial and error and designs to unite food, flowers, and perennials. Along with planting guides for cool and warm weather crops, get her techniques for threshing wheat and preserving harvests.
The Foodscape Revolution planting zones Central Texas Gardener
Watch now to catch Brie’s revolutionary energy!

Fungal disease can be a problem on our fruit trees during extended periods of humidity or rain. Mo Saiidi’s two-year-old Mexican plum tree got a case of peach leaf curl, according to Texas A&M AgriLife fruit specialist Jim Kamas.
peach tree curl on Mexican plum Central Texas Gardener
Jim also diagnosed quince rust on George Horn’s Kieffer pear tree. Daphne explains what to do.
Quince rust on Kieffer pear Central Texas Gardener
As we head into fall planting, it’s time to take stock of our seed collection. For us visually-oriented gardeners, Trisha charms up organizing with hanging ribbons to arrange by flower, food, or succession planting. At a glance, it’s so easy to see what goes in this weekend, and what a great project for kids!
seed storage cute ribbons craft Central Texas Gardener
Native perennial Copper Canyon daisy is about to hit full throttle with golden-yellow nickel-sized flowers for pollinators. Its highly scented leaves usually deter deer.
Copper canyon daisy native perennial Central Texas Gardener
Sometimes it blooms in spring. In this vegetable garden at the St. David’s Foundation Community Garden, it attracts pollinators to summer’s tomatoes and squash. Its real stage is late summer and fall.
Copper Canyon daisy community garden bed Central Texas Gardener
With its desert roots, it loves heat and good drainage, where it boosts a structural design of sotols, agaves, and prickly pear cactus. Find out more on Daphne’s Plant of the Week.
Copper Canyon daisy sotol agave prickly pear cactus drought garden Central Texas Gardener
On tour, garden chatter drowns out I-35’s usual hubbub in East Austin’s Festival Beach Food Forest and Festival Beach Community Garden.
St. Ed students Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
To address the East Austin food desert, community volunteers tend the 7-layer Festival Beach Food Forest on two-thirds an acre of park land, sponsored by Urban Patchwork.
volunteers behind Festival Beach Food Forest Central Texas Gardener
They worked with the City of Austin for a master plan on the eventual 3-acre food forest in the park near Lady Bird Lake. Approved in 2014, its mission is fence-free food for anyone who needs it.

So, what is a food forest? Basically, it’s a 7-layer agricultural strategy where plants from trees to groundcovers support each other. Volunteers dug out Bermuda grass—an ongoing process—and excavated soil to build berms and swales, nourished with compost.
bermuda grass dig Festival Beach Food Forest Central Texas Gardener
Cover crops like Austrian peas provide seasonal nitrogen.
cover crops fruit trees Festival Beach Food Forest Central Texas Gardener
On groundbreaking in 2015, volunteers planted over 100 trees with grants from TreeFolks, American Forests and many others. Elderberry joins countless varieties of fruit trees, blackberries, and edible perennials.
elderberry tree Festival Beach Food Forest Central Texas Gardener
In 2016, volunteers planted 1000 understory plants and herbaceous layers of herbs and native perennials using permaculture techniques to control rainfall.
Festival Beach Food Forest Central Texas Gardener
With a City of Austin grant, they installed an ADA accessible path from the Rebekah Baines Johnson Center, independent living for seniors. On taping day, we saw so many come out to stroll around, even with canes and wheelchairs.

On the other side of the fence at the Festival Beach Community Garden, volunteer site manager Julio Perez helps maintain the grounds and teach new gardeners.
student volunteers with Julio Perez Festival Beach Community Gardener Central Texas Gardener
Neighborhood resident and Leadership Council volunteer Alexandra Castaneda signed on a few years ago, since her yard is shady. Also, with all the changes in the neighborhood, she wanted to meet people outside her circle.
Alexandra Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Sponsored by the Sustainable Food Center and Urban Patchwork, for $50 a year, gardeners from any part of town can sign on.
Raised beds Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
In the public areas and gardener plots, flowers abound to attract pollinators to crops.
iris and poppies Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Spring-flowering borage attracts a crowd of ladybugs and bees.
bee and ladybug on borage flowers Central Texas Gardener
Communal gardens contribute fresh, organic food to the Rebekah Baines Johnson residential tower. Farah Rivera, founder of Serafina that helps feed seniors and handicapped people, takes charge of the RBJ food pantry.
communal garden Festival Beach Central Texas Gardener
From the beginning, they’ve partnered with the Multicultural Refugee Center, where cultures, seeds, and growing tips unite.
Chinese plant wraps Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Asian long beans.
Asian long beans Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Julio learned that young luffa gourds are edible!
luffa gourd Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
They also partner with AARP to retrain for jobs.
raised beds under construction Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Community volunteers are always welcome, like students from St. Edward’s University 1 Day projects, who connect to seasonal food and how it grows.
communal garden student volunteers Festival Beach Community Garden Central Texas Gardener
Find out how to volunteer or rent a plot at the Festival Beach Community Garden.

Find out how to volunteer with the Festival Beach Food Forest.
Shana and Jonathan Festival Beach Food Forest Central Texas Gardener

And watch now for the whole delicious story!

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda