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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring at Lakewood

It had been two weeks since I had been to the Lakewood garden until my shift today. Liz (pictured below) and I both were happy to be back in the glorious garden. Especially with the return of the warm, sunny St. Pete. weather we know and love.
Broccoli, pineapples, pole beans, and peppers are beginning to thrive. I noticed the sunflower stalks had grown about six inches, and I was surprised by how tall the corn was. We even found some lettuce (photo below) volunteers outside of the beds. Seems like even the sandy soil is a happy place for our plants.
I had almost forgotten how sweet and smart our kids were. We had two classes out during my shift, kindergarten and second grade. I expected craziness, since the kids were on spring break last week and didn't get to come out to the garden. Instead, both classes were really focused and eager to answer the questions we had for them. Since there was no new lesson this week, we reviewed, and I was very impressed by everything that the kids remembered about the parts of the plant, seeds, and soil.

The earlier shift took care of weeding and most of the day's watering, so Liz and I gave some T.L.C. to the milkweed, pineapples, beach sunflower, and native plants. Two pineapples made the transition from flower to fruit since my last visit (see below), and three or so more have started to flower. I couldn't stop talking about how cute they were while I watered the. The kids thought they were pretty cool too. They were fooled by the pineapples, thinking the flowers and fruit would be sharp. Really, the leaves are what you have to watch out for.
We spent most of time pruning the milkweed (also pictured below), which attracts, but is currently covered in tiny yellow aphids that are killing the plants. We had to make a few sacrifices, but we hope that all of our snipping and squishing will revive the milkweed. Next time I'll come to the garden armed with vinegar for any stubborn little survivors. Hopefully the ladybugs, one of their natural predators, will eat the ones we didn't catch today.
Luckily, a few butterflies are still hanging out on the other side of the garden. 

Until next time,
Emily Bornhop

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