Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crafts with the Garden Posse at the HOPE Farmer's Market! This Sunday

We at the Garden Posse love crafts. And why not? Gardening goes hand in hand with D.I.Y, which goes hand in hand with crafts, which goes hand in hand with making adorable and practical chalkboard labels on terra cotta pots for your container garden, as pictured above!

Come visit us at the HOPE Farmer's Market this Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and make these pots with us! Oh, and then you can shop for local produce and eat delicious food!

It's such a winning plan for Sunday. We guarantee all your friends will be jealous with your productivity on a day most consider lazy, so why not bring your friends as well? Do you have kids? They will like this.

We encourage you to bring your own pots to paint with us, but we will also be selling pots for a reasonable price. Sales will help cover the costs of the project and support similar projects in the future.

The HOPE Farmer's Market is located at 414 Waller Street, in and behind the ramshackle building you may recognize as the Fader Fort during SXSW (near Progress Coffee). The market host farm vendors such as Johnson's Backyard Garden (whose produce made a beautiful soup last week), food vendors such as Royal Indian Food (who will stuff as many delicious samples in your mouth as you can handle), and garden vendors like A to Zen (who sell exotic trees that I pine after). And you can buy recycled yarn from our friend at Yarn Harvest!

We hope to see you then.

View Larger Map

Friday, August 13, 2010

We did the work. Now it's time to celebrate.

You may recall our involvement with the legal planting of the median at Rosewood and Chicon, back on July 10. Let me tell you about July 10. It was hot. We got to the median around 9 am, and worked spreading soil and compost, grading the landscape, planting over a hundred plants, and finishing it off with a layer of glass mulch, until after 3 pm. And let me tell you about 3 pm on July 10 in Austin, Texas. It was hot. We were sunburned. We were tired. At least one of us had been attacked by ants. But we had accomplished something - the planting of a median that took years (years!) to plan. (To see photos of the median, check out this Flickr set.)

So now, we party.

Wait. First we go back and weed. Then, we party.

This Saturday, August 14, starting at nine and continuing to noon you can volunteer to weed, water, and mulch the median.

On Sunday, August 15, the fun begins at 7 pm with stories and skits based on the experiences of the neighborhood, at the New Movement Theater. A reception will follow with a TRIANGLE CAKE! Delicious and appropriate.

If you want to get involved, contact Ilse Frank at ilse@studiobalcones.com

Here's a map:

View Larger Map

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garden Posse summer potluck! August 5

What: Garden Posse potluck

When: Starting at 7 pm, August 5

Where: 2212 B Lanier Dr

Lindsay is hosting this event at her house, near Anderson & Burnet Rd. Please bring a delicious dish and hopefully we will end up with lots of beer and wine, too. This is a great time to do some pure Posse hanging out and some thinking about gardens before the fall season really gets rolling. It's also a great time to become friends with your neighborhood guerrilla gardeners! Everyone is welcome.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Legally planting a median! July 10

Usually, the Garden Posse spends the summer alternatively hiding inside and watering our plants and praying for their survival. But we are coming out of our summer hibernation (is that a thing?) to plant an East Side median, legally!

Landscape architect Ilse Frank asked us to participate in the planting of the median at Rosewood and Chicon with years of planning behind it. We said yes, as our last garden is halfway across the street at the New Movement Theater! We need a couple of volunteers, so we hope you can make it out on Saturday, July 10 at 9 am for what is likely the only planting event of the summer.

Read about it on the Out & About blog, and look for the news in the July 4 edition of the Statesman!

The time hasn't been solidified, but it will probably be sometime in the morning.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Come to McAllen's Cooking Skillz & Potluck, July 8th!

Longtime Posse pal McAllen goes down to the roots of the Garden Posse - back when the idea for guerrilla gardening was hatched over a couple of homemade pizzas (food and great ideas always go together). McAllen went to a couple of workshops during Skillshare Austin's weekend of skills, and got inspired. He says, "As a gardener I've been wanting to make better use of all the food I'm growing for a long time. The Skillshare workshop inspired me to make that dream a reality, and teach it to others."
McAllen is going to be hosting a cooking skillz and potluck at his house (12th & Airport) from 7 - 10 pm on July 8. Featuring homegrown garlic! Here's the announcement, from McAllen himself:

Hey garden knomes. Or should I say "hay" garden knomes, hay makes great mulch. I'm allowed one awful pun for the year.

So check it out: I harvested some garlic in my community garden a few weeks ago. It takes that long for the bulbs to cure before they're ready for use. It's almost time to put it in the pantry. What the heck am I going to do with twelve heads of garlic? This question gave me an idea. I want to host a workshop in which people teach a few skills about food, including how to make:

Roasted Garlic
Ornamental Hot Pepper Wreaths
Flavored, Ornamental Oil Jars
Soup Stock from Scratch
Some great recipes that are as easy as they are tasty
Time Saving Food Prep Tips

Bring a dish to share!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Garden this weekend!

Recently, the Garden Posse was contacted by landscape architect Ilse Frank, a woman with her fingers in many planting pies. She won a grant from Keep Austin Beautiful to install gardens near bus stops, and she needs volunteers for a dig that's happening this Saturday, from 9 am to 3 pm! There are FREE TACOS in it for you! Here's the info.

Hey Volunteers, Ambassadors, and Friends of Plaza Saltillo,

Great news! 

Our Plaza Saltillo Beautification team is ready to plant more trees and plants.  Thanks to the hard work from our volunteer Landscape Architect Ilse Frank, the folks here at Capital Metro, and some help from PARD, we have the resources and assistance we need for another volunteer day!  Hurray!

However, summer is upon us so we need to host our volunteer day asap.

Please join us on Saturday, June 19 from 9AM – 3PM. 

Location:  412 Comal Street, Austin, TX 78702
Parking:  Consider taking the bus, carpooling, biking, or walking!  Limited parking on North and South side of site. 

Bring: Water, Hats, Sunscreen, Water bottles,
Wear: Clothes to get dirty in.

We need about 40 volunteers to get the job done, so spread the word to your co-workers and friends. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New garden at the New Movement

Huzzah! The Garden Posse has installed a new garden at the New Movement Theater, home of improv comedy classes and shows, as well as the megaphone pictured above. And temporary home to the monkey pictured below.

As we mentioned in our last post, the plan for this garden was hatched by our new friend Jen, who is both an improv and guerrilla gardening enthusiast. This makes her a person who is funny and handy with a shovel. She'd spent some time planting at the door of the theater and had started making her way down the side of the small building. The Garden Posse joined in to speed up the process, with a whole bunch of perennials donated by Shoal Creek Nursery, and more hands.

One of the Garden Posse's favorite adages to needlepoint on pillows is "Many hands make light work." So we were psyched to see a whole bunch of new guerrilla gardeners cruise in on bikes to help out! Here we are, hard at work. 

We pulled out all the weeds that lined the side of the building, in order to amend the notoriously crappy soil that Jen had warned us about. Then we spaced out all of the plants - blackfoot daisy, lantana, firecracker, verbena, and more - and settled them in to their new homes. Here is Jen putting the finishing touches on the newly installed garden plus some improv people hanging out:

Yeah, so that's not the best photo, but trust us, it's going to be so pretty! As we were digging, we got lots of encouragement from neighbors driving by, who would stop at the stoplight and shout out their windows things like, "I appreciate what you're doing!" in perhaps more colorful language.

The other great thing about this garden (besides all the people who helped out, and its beautiful future) is that the people of the New Movement Theater are truly awesome (love fest time!). We are looking forward to the fall when we have some property stuff worked out and we can unleash the Posse powers on this beautiful, wide expanse of grass behind the building:

Can you say community garden? Also, can you say delicious smoked BBQ? The smokehouse!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Garden Posse teams up with improv comedy theater, hilarity ensues!

The Garden Posse is a lover of all kinds of laughter: Giggles, chortles, chuckles, hoots, belly laughs, and laughing until you think you can't laugh anymore but you keep laughing because there is no way to stop. So we're very, very happy to be working with The New Movement Theater, which puts on improv comedy classes and shows here in Austin! Jen, an ambassador from The New Movement, has been guerrilla gardening on her own in along the side of the building. She came to our dig at Chestnut last week, told us what she's envisioning for the space, and asked for our help. With Jen's enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm of The New Movement's founders, we are totally psyched to start gardening here!

Next Tuesday, May 25, we'll be meeting at 8 PM (a half hour later than our usual time) in front of the New Movement Theater (1819 Rosewood). It's on the East Side, next to local landmark Nubian Queen Lola's.

We'll be planting landscaping plants along the side of the building, and scheming about what else we'd like to do in the building's spacious backyard and Lola's alley. It's getting close to the end of planting season (heating up much?) so we'll be thinking in the grand scheme for the fall.

Here's a photo of the space, which we checked out last night:

And here's a map to get there!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chestnut Garden tomorrow, Skillshare in June!

One of our oldest and favorite guerrilla gardens is the Chestnut Garden. It's got a great location across from Chestnut Park, and it's in an abandoned lot with lots of room for expansion. We'll be replanting it for spring/ summer tomorrow night! We'll meet at 16th & Chestnut at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, May 11.

Bring any plants you need to get in the ground, and whatever tools ya got. Headlamps are always helpful!

If you've been outside in the last two weeks, you'll notice it's getting hot - that means the Chestnut Garden is one of the last gardens we'll be planting this season! Get in on this sweet guerrilla action before it is too late and we reverse hibernate for summer.

Oh and one more thing: Our friends at Skillshare Austin are hosting their annual Skillshare Workshop on June 5-6 at Space 12. That means a whole weekend filled with fun and practical workshops on everything from DIY art & craft to parenting to chicken tractors. The Garden Posse will be hosting a workshop on something either gardening or guerrilla related. Put it on your calendar! www.skillshareaustin.org

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Carver Museum Butterfly Garden: The Report

Not long after we filmed our segment for Central Texas Gardener, the producer, Linda, got in touch with us about a gardening project at the Carver Library and Museum. The organizer, Faye, was looking for some help with the landscaping outside the East Side cultural center. Apparently, the city funding (and the water) for the outside landscaping had dried up. Which is really a shame, because obviously a lot of planning and money went into building, and doing the initial landscaping, for these relatively new buildings. The rest of the story is that it's really hard to get the city to give permission to do anything to the landscaping, and so you can end up with a bunch of dried up clumps of grass and weeds that you can't do anything about.

So Faye and her team at Carver had finally gotten permission to touch the landscaping, but still - no funds, no city employees to help. That's where the Garden Posse came in. We became responsible for installing a butterfly garden in an area outside the museum which was currently hosting aforementioned dried up clumps of grass and weeds.

The Great Outdoors provided us with a very generous donation of about 20 plants which are sure to prove irresistible to butterflies. And Shoal Creek Nursery gave us broken bags of dirt and compost. We set to work pulling up weeds.

Well, at leas some of us did. We had a pretty good crew.

Hilary arrived on her bike, proving that the Garden Posse is truly an environmentally friendly posse.

Allen and Gene proved very effective weeders. It was a hot day and we were all rewarded with the most delicious pizza from East Side Pies - conveniently located across the street from Carver! (I want to live there now.)

After lunch, we did not take a nap.

We had to cut through the black landscaping cloth that the city put down. We don't like that stuff - not only does it make it inconvenient to plant new plants, but it can't be a good thing to coat the ground in plastic.

If you ever run into this situation, use a pick-ax. Also pictured above: Our amazing Cobra Head with which we are still very much in love.

Hopefully the plants are happy in their new home, and lots of butterflies will fall in love with them.

The hardest part? Watering. As mentioned before, the city had turned the water off to all the exterior spigots, apparently due to a neighbor's complaint. So we had to kind of rig up a system involving a series of buckets, an Igloo cooler, and a library cart. We just hope the water gets turned back on soon!

In these photos we're missing some of our early-leaving crew, but they were in our hearts. As we finished the job, Faye told us that we all "belong" to Carver now.

All in all, we felt really great about the garden and helping out Faye and everyone else at Carver! It wasn't the most guerrilla garden we've put in, but it was definitely one of the most rewarding to dig.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seed bombs from a candy machine?

They're better for your teeth than candy, that's for sure. And better for beautifying the spaces around you. Lucy of the Waller Creek is for Lovers sent us word of this seed-bomb dispensing project called Greenaid, based in L.A.

Apparently, the idea is that people would buy these for their neighborhoods. From the website:

Whether you're a business owner, educator, or just a concerned citizen we'd like to work with you to get Greenaid in your community. You can purchase a machine (or two, or ten...) directly from us and we will develop a seed mix as well as a strategic neighborhood intervention plan in response to the unique ecologies of your area. You then simply place the machine at your local bar, business, school, park, or anywhere that you think it can have the most impact. We will then supply you with all the seedbombs you need to support the continued success of the initiative.
I'd love to see these spread around downtown Austin! As the creators say, it makes guerrilla gardening efforts a lot more accessible. Not that it's hard to come to one of the Garden Posse's events!

Speaking of, I have been very bad at updating the blog with our guerrilla activities. Bad, bad, guerrilla gardening blogger. Last night we visited the mural garden at South 1st and Annie, and discovered that our sign had been stolen, but the garden itself was doing very well! There's a beautiful spread of blackfoot daisy, sage, mint, and another plant I can't identify but is growing very vigorously. (We'd appreciate an ID!) We planted a few more perennials on the sidewalk strip, having given up on the other side of the mural as three consecutive plantings have refused to breathe life into the compacted soil. And since the basil did so well last year (as you can see in our Central Texas Gardener segment, it is the one plant the camera chooses to feature), we planted four different kinds of basil! A passerby with child asked us where the beautiful basil had gone. This summer, we hope to have a more active caretaker at this site - and more rain.

If you're in the area, stop by the garden and peek behind the flowers to pick some of our mint. It's perfect for a refreshing summertime mojito!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Plant a garden at the Carver Library with us on Saturday!

The Carver Library needs our help! They have asked the Garden Posse to install a butterfly and herb garden as part of the effort to recover their landscaping. This is our first officially sanctioned garden, but that doesn't make us any less guerrilla. It just means we can do whatever we want with city property!

So meet us at the Carver Library (1161 Angelina Street, off Rosewood on the East Side) at noon this Saturday, April 24. We'll be pulling out old plants, and designing and planting a brand new garden! Please bring whatever tools ya got (no flashlights necessary this time), and donations of herbs and butterfly-attracting plants and seeds are much appreciated. Friends are appreciated too. Snacks will be provided! 

Here's a map to the Carver Library: 

View Larger Map

And here's a resource for the plants that Texas butterflies love.

See you on Saturday!

Help scientists track climate change, in your own yard!

Do you have spiderwort, red columbine, or common lilac in your yard or neighborhood? They're on a list of the "Ten Most Wanted Plants" of Project Budburst, a citizen science initiative that helps scientists track climate change. 

Scientists have observed that the date that flowers bloom is changing across the country, perhaps due to warming temperatures associated with climate change. The data provided by gardeners will be used to test the connection and learn more about how a warming environment affects plants. It's important stuff. So all you have to do is join the website to report observations in your yard - and boom, you're a scientist! It's way easier than getting a Ph.D. And it's also probably a fun way to get kids involved with gardening and science - at the same time.

Project Budburst has been going on for the past three years. For more information about how you can help, visit the website and/or read today's press release on the Ten Most Wanted Plants. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cherrywood Book and Plant Swap!

We were so happy to participate in the spring Cherrywood Book and Plant Swap this year! Organizer Jack Darby started the swap over a decade ago (I think) after he saw a neighbor host a small book and plant swap in her yard. The swap was moved to Cherrywood Green, a pocket park in the center of the lovely Cherrywood neighborhood, and expanded into a community event where people from all over Austin are invited to bring their propagated plants, saved seeds, and books to trade freely. It's a beautiful idea, and it's fun! Everyone comes away happy.

Last fall, we invited ourselves to do a seed bomb demo, and introduced ourselves to the Cherrywood community. We were extremely lucky to find a nearby spot that was perfect for a guerrilla garden, and we dug the garden a few months later (as seen on TV). The garden has been a welcome addition to the neighborhood by all accounts, and it's expanding and thriving! More on that in an upcoming post. 

We collected a small crowd to help us roll seed bombs. You definitely get your hands dirty in this activity.

Helpful books at the swap. Wonder who purchased this book first, and needs it no longer? 

At the end of the demo, we had 3 trays full of seed bombs! We had some from previous demos to give away to our helpers, and we'll have more for wildflower planting next fall.

Thanks to Jack for inviting us. We met so many wonderful people, made great gardening connections, had a fantastic time, and now we're rich with plants!

For more photos, visit our flickr group!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Hour at Sao Paulo!

Tomorrow, have $2.50 margaritas and bottomless Brazilian chips (cross between tortilla and wonton) with us at Sao Paulo! We'll be meeting there around 5:30 pm on Tuesday to make merry and make plans for upcoming events. If you'd like to help formulate those plans, offer new ideas, or just see how a guerrilla gardening group does happy hour (do we try to plant the table? we might), please join us. San Paulo is north of the UT campus at 2809 San Jacinto Boulevard. (near the intersection of Dean Keeton & San Jacinto)

Photos of the Cherrywood Book and Plant Swap, and the gorgeous and successful Cherrywood Garden will be coming soon. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Get your plant, book, and seed bomb on this weekend!

It's been a beautiful week and I know many of us are spending time in our gardens, trying to put all our work in before the hot months of summer. Perhaps you're thinking of buying more plants? No need to buy! You need to swap!

Come to the Cherrywood Book and Plant Swap this Saturday, at Cherrywood & 34th (near our Cherrywood garden). It runs from 9 - noon. You and the neighbors can trade plants, cuttings, and seeds you've propogated, and books you don't want anymore! We will be doing a seed bomb workshop, back by popular demand. Other features include: Master Gardeners on hand to answer your questions, and a performance by the Maplewood Yukelele Choir. It's sure to be a worthwhile event in a wonderful neighborhood. Now, let's hope for sun.

For more information, visit the event website

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Crestland Garden gets a facelift

Welcome to the old Crestland Garden! We love the location of the garden - the triangle is like an oasis right off the busy, barren street of North Lamar. It's surrounded on three sides by houses full of neighbors, who we met when we knocked on their doors, to invite them to work on the garden with us. Our hope for every garden we plant is that it will become a part of the community. In our dreams, the neighbors treat the guerrilla garden like a community garden - planting their own plants, expanding it when it's needed, and weeding and watering. In that way, the whole neighborhood can share the fresh food that comes out of the middle of their street.

Above you'll see the garden filled with with the remains of the fall crop. We planted everything from seed, and it did very well - full of cabbage, brocolli, beets, and kale. 

But the garden was also being strangled by weeds. This is kind of a good sign, because it means that the city workers who mow the triangle have left the garden - bordered by a variety of rocks and wood -  well enough alone.

And most of the plants had bolted. Here is the broccoli turning into tiny yellow flowers.

We were joined by a neighbor, Chris, who we met at a neighbor's Canadian Thanksgiving potluck last fall. We started off by attacking the weeds - quite a task. We pulled most of the plants out, but we thought this Chinese cabbage made quite a nice centerpiece. (Eventually we pulled it up.) Chris carted the discarded green stuff back to his compost pile.

We had a few visitors as well: A neighborhood mom and daughter gardening team walked over to give us a tomato transplant and a pod of okra seeds. The mom told us that whenever they drive by, she and her daughter check out the garden and what's happening there. They said they wanted to garden with us, but they had already done a lot of gardening at their house that day, and the daughter (who was about 7 and very cute) looked ready for bed. We told them that we would save room for them to plant their own veggies in the guerrilla garden.

And then a stranger encounter: A white mini van drove into the neighborhood and circled our triangle, calling out, "Headlamp gardening! Cool!" After one complete rotation, the car stopped and out came a skinny man who proclaimed himself a professional dumpster diver, a freegan, and career chef to diplomats traveling the world. He gave us each a business card to promote his line of dressings, available at your neighborhood market. He told us he was totally on board with what we were doing, then jumped back into his van, circled the triangle a few more times (calling out, "Cool!") and then disappeared back into North Lamar traffic.

But back to gardening. The other bed was more manageable, and we left the remains of the kale and cabbage to come to their natural end. 

After we were done weeding, we got ambitious and decided to expanded the garden. We dug up a third bed. We've found with experience that pick axes work best, even better than tillers. 

We neglected to take any photos of the plants, so you'll have to trust us when we say that we packed those beds full of peppers, tomatoes, herbs, sorrel, garlic chives, cucumbers, and we can't remember what else. There's sure to be quite a harvest... that is, if the cat we saw dive into the bed right after we were finished learns a valuable lesson.

Here are the ladies of the guerrilla gardening night after the dig. 

We are planning a return to the Crestland Garden, to encourage the neighbors to come out and learn about the plants in their neighborhood. Details to be announced.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Garden Posse screenprints at SXSW!

Yesterday was the last big day of SXSW (everyone knows Sunday is just for recovery), and the Garden Posse spent it in a blur of screenprinting, music, beer, and crafts at the Stem & Leaf day party. Seen above are Mount Righteous, an incredible marching band from Dallas playing inside Rainey Manor, a random house on the west side of I-35. The Silent Chase was playing outside, on a cold, windy day which many people braved to come to a raucous party. Luckily, the Posse was warm inside, sharing a room with Skillshare Austin, and screenprinting to our heart's content.

Here's just one of our satisfied customers, wearing a hoodie sweater made exponentially cooler by our print.

Truth be told, none of the Posse had ever screenprinted before this day. It was an idea that sounded good to us, so we made it happen, with a lot of help from a more experienced friend. We used a photo emulsion chemical to transfer Carly's design onto the screen. The process takes about a day.

It came out looking beautiful. And the process of printing couldn't be easier. Just put some paint on the screen, get some fabric under there, and spread the paint across with the squee-gee tool. Here's Carly at work.

We printed up a bunch of these fabric posters/ patches.

We also screenprinted clothes people were wearing or bought at Treasure City's sale. My personal favorite was a friend's velour jacket, which despite concerns about the fabric, turned out really well. We also printed on a huge puffy jacket, and a fleece vest. It was cold.

This is my tank top. It looks good, no?

We are really pleased with how the design came out, and we hope to sell Garden Posse t-shirts at more events! Tell us in the comments if you want one! FYI, it helps to let people know that you're in a posse.

Just a bit of cuteness to close out South By... the dog sneaks into the photo shoot.