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Sacred Garden: Progress and Updates on Phase 1

Hello from the Garden where we are finishing up the first phase of our plan to convert the Secret Garden into our Sacred Garden!

When I introduced the project at the Annual Meeting you may have remembered the bit about growing flowers to be used at COS, specifically for the Altar. Well I am happy to report that the new flower beds have been created and are in action -- our early bloomers even made it into the altar bouquets last weekend.

It is all a little bit of trial and error right now and we are documenting EVERYthing: when things were sown, if they like their spot in the bed, if they are too needy with the water, etc. We are also looking at some perennial varieties so the garden will be even more sustainable and not quite as labor-intensive in the years to come.

If you wander into the Garden these days you will see three nearly full beds blooming with all kinds of flowers and edible plants - and some that serve both purposes. If you look closely at our altar arrangements from last week you will see some delicate yellow flowers on long stems - those are actually the flowers from the top of a collard greens plant!

Two Saturdays ago we were joined by an amazing group of garden gurus who really helped whip our beds into shape. Thank you to Lynda Canzoneri, Michele Baker, Linda Goluskin, Anne Peplow, Peggy O’Leary, Henrietta Ma, Liz Van Voorhis, Rex Botengen, and Sr. Greta (hiding behind the camera!) for your enthusiasm, care and love of the garden. It really made a world of difference and the plants have all been thriving the past few weeks!

We are still playing with the overall plan for the garden and trying to work in a few swales, to capture water and direct it back into our growing beds and fruit trees. So you will see in the photos below, instead of one large fourth flower bed, we now have two

smaller beds that we rotated and angled to the existing beds. This will allow for us to capture the run-off rainwater (if we ever get any ever again) and instead of flowing towards the monastery, it will go back into the ground under our beds!

While building the new beds we have repurposed cardboard, to act as a weed barrier and kill weeds, and we have taken full advantage of the free mulch and compost (Zoo Poo!) from the Griffith Park Composting facility. Last week we planted almost 50 Dahlia tubers (the bed with the supports) and the other bed we will do some timed plantings of sunflowers and strawflowers so we will have flowers throughout the summer.

We are currently working on a proposal for Phase 2 which will hopefully revamp the raised planting beds so that we have space for growing vegetables for the COS community and the OSC food bank, and educational opportunities for the ACGS preschoolers and staff, and even some space to grow veggies for the ACGS bunny!

Please let us know if you are interested in helping with planning, building, weeding - however you would like to contribute...we need it all. And make sure to take moment to pop in for a little nature therapy.

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