A Basket of Gold

It was a beautiful sunny day this past Saturday, just in time for Marpole Community Day hosted by the Marpole-Oakridge Community Centre. With many fun activities for kids and families, including live music, good food, papier-maché lantern-making, face-painting, silent auction and community tables, chART and the Border Free Bees team were in good company. Our community table hosted a seed-paper making workshop, to introduce our project to the Marpole-Oakridge community, to let people know that the Fieldhouse is occupied and buzzing with activity, and to continue towards our goal of producing over 600 sheets of seed-paper for the upcoming Richmond Art Gallery exhibition.

As mentioned in last week’s post, our handmade paper is seeded with Yellow Allysum flowers, with the common name “Basket of Gold.” These bright yellow perennial flowers bloom in May, and are an excellent early food source for native pollinators like butterflies, ladybugs and hoverflies.  This flower is easy to sow and grow, requiring little to no soil coverage at the time of planting.  This ground-covering, self-seeding plant is hardy, bright and appreciates full sun.

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The goal of the Border Free Bees project is not only to engage with the community through workshops, events, exhibitions and a beautiful pollinator garden, but to teach gardeners of all levels of knowledge and interest how to grow a healthy garden that will invite our pollinator friends.

When I was growing up my parents spent hours working in the garden, growing Marigolds, Asters, Salvia, Geranium, Echinacea, Zinneas, Petunias…fruiting plants like Gooseberries, Nanking Cherries and Red Currents…vegetables, greens and herbs like tomatoes, peas, beans, beets, spinach, carrots, basil, chives, parsley and lovage…and a myriad other plants I can’t even remember. At the time I understood the effort and results to simply be for aesthetic pleasure (and delicious dinners, preserves, jams and jellies).  Now, with the effects of Bee Colony Collapse being felt around the world, what grows in the garden is of great importance, not only to the future of honey-bees but all pollinators.

Interesting fact: A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day.

Like me, maybe you didn’t know that pollinators include any living thing that moves pollen to fertilize and pollinate, such as honey-bees, bumblebees, pollen wasps, bee flies, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and flower beetles. But wait! there are also some species of birds (including hummingbirds, honeyeaters and sunbirds), bats, monkeys, lemurs, possums, rodents and lizards who also help pollinate some plants. While maybe you have some of these more…exotic pollinators in your neighborhood, Border Free Bees is focused on educating communities about the preservation and protection of native pollinators and promoting sustainable gardens and agriculture in the City.

If you would like to know more about chART Public Art, please visit our sister website, https://chartpublicart.carbonmade.com

If you would like to come meet the Border Free Bees team or just visit the Fieldhouse, come to our next Open House and Seed-Paper Making Workshop, Sunday June 28th from 12:00-4:00pm.

Happy gardening and see you at the Fieldhouse.

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