Courtesy of Roberta Owens
A sincere thank you to everyone who participated in last weekends volunteer visit There were wonderful accomplishments in almost every "nook and cranny" of VISTA Gardens, and you did it in ways that made it fun and educational for middle school, high school, college and adult volunteers. There were many rich interactions observed between VISTA gardeners and volunteers. Bravo!
As she waved goodbye, one UT volunteer said, "We had a blast and we'll be back!" Another inquired about starting to compost at home (and why she should not compost dairy products). Several commented on their new appreciation for the taste and nutritional value of organically-grown, freshly harvested food and one shared his new understanding of the value of fertile, well-draining soil.
Here is a brief overview of a long list of accomplishments:
Weeds are history! (
Well, for the time being...) Thanks to middle-and high-school volunteers, along with one of their very hard-working fathers, fresh oak mulch is laid where hundreds of weeds were properly removed between raised garden beds and in the herb garden. Cheryl and Rolfe offered support and guidance to ensure were properly excavated (and not pulled to leave roots underground!)
Caroline Serra guided four University of Tampa Sigma Kappa sorority volunteers, who sifted almost all the contents of one entire geo-bin into "black gold", which is now curing in preparation for the fall growing season.
Passive compost bin harvested!
Karen Rose and Bill West guided University of Tampa's Leadership Exchange program volunteers in opening and moving more "black gold" from a passive compost bin into the demonstration garden, creating more fertile ground to transplant Golden Berries and seed watermelons. Could there be a more interesting summer crop?
Herb container garden tended!
Ellen Whitaker guided UT's Leadership Exchange volunteers in transplanting new herbs additions and tended those that are established. With Bill's help, containers are now becoming clusters organized by their medicinal and culinary purposes ... to be enjoyed by all VISTA gardeners.
Children's garden planted and preparations made to welcome "Young Villagers" to VISTA!
Morcie Anderson guided UTs Leadership Exchange and Steinbrenner High School volunteers in the gargantuan task of clearing, weeding, amending and planting a flower garden in the long-fallow children's garden. At a picnic table nearby, Lori Vella worked with a UT Sigma Kappa volunteer preparing sunflower seeding kits and name tags for "Young Villagers".
VISTA gardener's raised bed gifted with care!
Corinna Edwards guided five Sigma Kappa sorority volunteers, as they kindly weeded, trimmed, fertilized, and watered the raised garden bed for a VISTA member who has been ill and unable to garden in recent weeks.
Trench dug and log installed to improve aesthetics!
Cheryl Smith weeded, trenched, and installed a fresh log to edge where the herb garden ends and a row of raised garden beds begins. Huge improvement!
Entrance flower garden readied for planting!
Bill West had no scythe, but he managed to clear the overgrown entry garden, add soil and prepare it for saved zinnia seeds to be sown. Another welcome improvement.
Eagle Scout planning visit!
Bill West met with the Eagle Scout and Scout Master about plans for a pathway, shaded bench, and flower garden near the garden entrance, where our planned Little Free Library will be installed.
New and prospective members and guest tours!
Don Proctor greeted and toured prospective and new VISTA members and guests.