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In the words of Green & Grow Apprentice Randi “I feel really good about being involved in the Dewey project.  It’s nice to know that my suggestions will actually be used and that people are going to benefit from our work.”  Randi is referring to the nearly completed Dewey Demonstration Gardens Project. The gardens will serve as a dedicated learning and gathering space for visitors and the space will be used to share knowledge about sustainable urban gardening practices.

The Apprentices were first introduced to their roles in the Dewey project in December 2011.  Conservancy staff outlined the vision and the Apprentices set off to make it happen.

Before installing a single plant—we had to learn about the space with which we were working.  Looking across the bare earth of the western bed, we took measurements, made note of the pathway of the sun, how the surrounding buildings create shade, and studied how the wind moves through the garden.

The Apprentices taking measurements of the Dewey Garden. March ’12

Since our goals include demonstrating sustainable edible gardens, we visited the Boston Natural Area Network’s (BNAN) City Natives community garden space in Mattapan.  There we investigated different types of raised planting beds—special thanks to Erika for showing us the City Natives garden!

Erika, of BNAN, showing us their space in Mattapan. Feb ‘12

Another goal we have is to share information about at-home composting, so we investigated composting units at New England Grows Trade Show in February.  With a number of considerations in mind,  we investigated hundreds of composting systems online and met with horticulture staff frequently to get their expert opinions. (Photo Caption: Francisco, meeting with a salesperson at New England Grows Trade Show. Feb ’12)

Francisco, meeting with a salesperson at New England Grows Trade Show. Feb ’12

We finally decided on the units and are now inventing a plan for managing the three different products—you can learn more in this earlier post.

Choosing the plant materials was fun and insightful.  We learned about the effects of texture and color on garden patrons.  We worked closely with the Conservancy Horticulture staff to find and combine plants that both attract pollinating species and create human interest points.  Since visitors enjoyed the sunflowers that grew in the same space last year, we’re expanding the types that we are planting this year.  Look for Buttercream, Sunbright Supremes, Strawberry Blond, and Velvet Queens this summer.