Keeler Gardens Tours the 2020 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

A white washed wooden sign for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival showing Mickey Mouse in overalls and a farm hat carrying what appears to be a buschell of corn tulips and asperagas while pluto eagerly looks on under foot.

A white washed wooden sign for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival showing Mickey Mouse in overalls and a farm hat carrying what appears to be a buschell of corn tulips and asperagas while pluto eagerly looks on under foot.
Well I’ll be! It’s time to start planning for the 2020 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!

Friday, March 6, – Friday, March 13, 2020

Join Keeler Gardens for a week at one of the most extraordinary flower and garden festivals in the country: The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World. This is not your typical flower and garden show, as it offers an unimaginable collection of gardens and experiences.  

Gina Iliopoulos, Keeler Gardens’ Chief Horticultural Specialist, has been attending the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival since 2012 when she was a national spokesperson as a Gardeniere. Since then, she has been gathering knowledge at the festival each year that we are delighted to share with you over one very special week. Let her guide you through the many gardens on display and all the magical details to truly connect you with the plants, people, and enchantment of this special event. 

As your hosts, Keeler Gardens will lead up to four guided tours during a portion of each day, with your late afternoons and evenings free to take advantage of all the “World” has to offer. Every stop will impart an appreciation for the many different displays, cultures, and hidden gems throughout the festival and beyond. You will be immersed in butterflies, visit the countries of the World Showcase, and explore Disney’s environmental commitment. We will also offer suggestions and tips for maximizing your enjoyment of Walt Disney World. 

Keeler Gardens has partnered with Vacation Village at Parkway in Kissimmee, and Michelle Buchecker at DreamFinder Travel, for wonderful accommodations and inclusive theme park tickets. Packages offer seven nights in a one-bedroom apartment-like unit (with kitchen, full bath, king bed, and laundry facilities) with the luxury of a pool, hot tub, and sun deck. And with just a 10-minute ride to the Walt Disney Resort property, you will have access to all four theme parks for your visit. 

Package includes:  

  • One-bedroom “apartment” for seven nights  
  • 7- day park ticket with park hopper, for each guest, to have the most flexibility (ages 10 and up)
  • Keeler Gardens knowledge, expertise, and personal attention as we guide you through this wonderful festival on multiple tours throughout the Festival* 
  • Welcome Reception and Packet 

Package price is $989 per person based on double occupancy ($1470 single occupancy).  

*Keeler Gardens tours are $200 per person, this fee is waived with the booking of accommodations at Vacation Village. 

Reserve your tour package through Keeler Gardens with a $350 non-refundable deposit due by September 15, 2019. Space is very limited and timing is of the essence. Final payment is due October 4, 2019. Contact Gina at Gina@KeelerGardens.com for reservations and if you have questions.   

Prices are subject to change until paid in full.  

Guests will be responsible for own airfare, transportation, and meals. There is limited daily transportation from the hotel to the Walt Disney World Resort. 

A Community Thrives Grant Challenge

Starting today, March 18, Keeler Gardens needs your help to secure our spot to be considered for a grant up to $100K!

Keeler Gardens has qualified to compete in USA Today’s “A Community Thrives” Challenge: at stake is over $100,000 in grant awards! However, we need to raise at least $3,000 in four weeks to be considered for the first place award, with weekly benchmark goals for additional awards.

We are asking all our supporters to consider donating now, even if it is just the $10 minimum donation, you can go right to our CrowdRise page for all the details. The official site is https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/keeler-gardens-nfp-illinois but we’ve made a shortcut http://bit.ly/KGcrUSA that is easier to remember. Only donations made through this site and with a credit card will be counted towards the challenge.

Here is how you can help.

  1. Go to our campaign on CrowdRise by clicking on this link http://bit.ly/KGcrUSA.
  2. Click the Donate Button to donate the minimum $10.
  3. Share the campaign with your network.

From March 18, through April 12 only, any donations made through Keeler Gardens’ CrowdRise campaign will count toward our $3,000 minimum fundraising goal. We have four weeks to meet the minimum by the end of the challenge period, then we are ranked by how many dollars we raised. First, second, and third place will win $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively.

There are also Weekly Incentives to drive our fundraising efforts. Each week during the challenge we are ranked for dollars raised or the highest number of individual donations made and can win an additional $2,000-$5,000 depending on the week. (See below for more details)

As you can see there is great potential with this challenge and all it will take is a little help from you. If there ever was a time to donate to Keeler Gardens, this is it. Please consider a $10 donation, or donate $10 each week to help us with the weekly challenges. We need as much support as we can get.

We know you value Keeler Gardens and its mission. Please share our campaign with your network as you know many that will benefit from our programs and believe that nature is a critical catalyst in our lives. Ask them to share with as many people as they can think of. The more people we reach and the more funds we raise the greater chance we have to win multiple awards. We would be happy to talk to anyone that wants more information about our mission and vision and you can certainly send them to our website KeelerGardens.com.

As always, we thank you for your continued support.

With infinite gratitude,

Ed & Gina

The details on the campaign challenges are as follows. We are focused on the following two weeks: Week #1 to make a strong start and Week #2 to show the grantors that we have a strong community support base that believes in our mission.

Weekly Challenge #1:

If we raise the most funds from Mon. 3/18/19 @12:00:00 pm ET through Mon. 3/25/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $2000

Weekly Challenge #2:

If we have the highest number of eligible donations from Mon. 3/25/19 @12:00:00 pm ET through Mon.  4/1/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $3,000

Bonus Challenge #3:

If we raise the most funds from Mon. 4/1/19 @12:00:00 pm ET through Mon. 4/8/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $5000

Bonus Challenge #4: 

If we have the highest number of eligible donations from Mon. 3/25/14/8/19 @12:00:00 pm ET through Fri. 4/12/19 @11:59:59 am ET we win $3,000

Building Community Through Nature -Keeler Gardens, NFP – Illinois on CrowdRise

A Bizzzzy 2019 at Keeler Gardens

A rock slab stands upright, braced by other rocks and surrounded by foliage in the Keeler Gardens pollinator habitat. The slab is painted partially white, and text painted on it reads “Welcome to,” in black, and “Keeler Gardens” in green. There is also a painting of a blue and green hummingbird hovering next to a blue flower to the left of the words, which is the Keeler Gardens logo.
Welcome Sign

2018 was a busy year for Keeler Gardens! The highlight of this year was the opening of our Pollinator Habitat, a year-round refuge for pollinators featuring Illinois native plants. And speaking of pollinators, our bee hives were successful this first year. We definitely benefited from the help of our six Chicago Tech Academy interns in the spring and our seven summer interns. We hosted programs, like the Flower Arrangement Class and our Pollinator Celebration at Keeler Gardens, and we presented to the Highland Park Garden Guild and at the Chicago Botanic Garden Nature Play Event. Read on for details about each of these exciting programs and presentations. 

Chicago Tech Academy Interns

In February we were proud to welcome six interns from Chicago Tech Academy! Chicago Tech Academy is a great charter school, with a mission to educate, empower, and help students discover their passions, succeed in college, and thrive in a digital world. They particularly stress engaging in real-world learning and work with 100+ partners such as DDB, Vibes Media, Gogo Air, CNA Insurance, and now Keeler Gardens, to provide students with early exposure to work-based learning and internships. These six interns came from Chicago Tech to gain hands-on experience in botany, horticulture, technology, and art. Over the month of February, this crew completed art projects, supported our social media plan, photographed the site, organized digital files, and designed a garden. We thank all of the interns for their hard work in the winter as it set the stage for the rest of the year.

The Keeler Gardens Educational Pollinator Habitat

One of the biggest accomplishments this year was the creation of the Pollinator Habitat. In March Keeler Gardens won a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to build a pollinator habitat. We can now offer an experience with Illinois native plants in a year-round refuge for pollinators, that would perform from early spring through late fall. 

On August 4 we opened our Pollinator Habitat with our Pollinator Celebration, which was a great success!

Summer Interns

Over the summer we were also fortunate to host seven interns! Four of them participated through privately funded internships, and the other three through the After School Matters summer internship program. After School Matters works with more than 23,000 companies to provide jobs for more than 15,000 teens across Chicago every year. This program is a great way for nonprofits and other businesses to help Chicago’s youth, and it was a great way for us to find teens that want to connect with nature. Throughout their internship, the interns worked on planting a plethora of plants in the new Pollinator Habitat. Thanks to these interns, the Pollinator Habitat successfully opened on August 4.

The Big Buzz, Honey!

We were very fortunate to partner with Sloanstead Honey. They installed and managed two hives on top of our shed. They harvested Keeler Gardens Honey at the end of the season and we plan to have honey every year!

Looking Forward

2018 has come and gone, but we are excited to continue building on the Pollinator Habitat and tackling more projects in 2019. This year we want to welcome more volunteers to Keeler Gardens. Our focus is to continue to build community through nature. Make sure to sign up for our email list or follow us on Facebook to be the first to hear about events such as Fridays by the Fire, a trip to The Epcot™ International Flower and Garden Festival, and sharing our story at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show.

Do you need a little more nature? Then head to Keeler Gardens and sit in a rocking chair, look for the community cats, or knock on the door for a cup of tea with Keeler Gardens Sloanstead Honey. We look forward to expanding our community this year!

Highland Park Garden Guild Presentation

Gina stands at the front of a group of laddies that make up the Highland Park Garden Guild. Everyone is riveted as they all look at her.
We were honored by an invitation from the Highland Park Garden Guild to speak for their group this past week. We were so thrilled to be able to get the word out about Keeler Gardens, connecting with nature, and our new Pollinator Habitat. The group was such a pleasure to work with. They were interested, had excellent questions, and they themselves were already so well educated on green spaces, soil science, and supporting pollinators. Our presentation focused on what Keeler Gardens is doing in the community. Following are links to previous posts and resources on connecting with nature.
Gina stands at the front of a group of laddies that make up the Highland Park Garden Guild. Everyone is riveted as they all look at her.
Gina Speaking to the Highland Park Garden Guild
  We spoke for quite a while about how we designed the pollinator habitat and the process for plant selection. We had some great references for them that we are including here in this post: high-value target plants for pollinators for dry, moist, and wet sites, along with our final design and plant list. We had a couple of previous posts about the making of the pollinator habitat you can find at the links above and here. And we are very excited to include this group in our upcoming tour, In the spring of 2019, at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. We want to thank the Highland Park Garden Guild for their sincere interest in our presentation, their hospitality, and for spreading the word about what we’re doing at Keeler Gardens. We look forward to working with them again in the future.
A group of ladies poses for a picture in a well appointed kitchen. On the island there is a bountiful display of food and beverage.
The Highland Park Garden Guild
Contact us if you would be interested in having Keeler Gardens be a guest speaker at your event.

Pollinator Habitat Almost Ready

A rock slab stands upright, braced by other rocks and surrounded by foliage in the Keeler Gardens pollinator habitat. The slab is painted partially white, and text painted on it reads “Welcome to,” in black, and “Keeler Gardens” in green. There is also a painting of a blue and green hummingbird hovering next to a blue flower to the left of the words, which is the Keeler Gardens logo.

The Keeler Gardens Pollinator Habitat Is Taking Shape

A picture of Keeler Gardens’ new pollinator habitat, taken from the curb. In the foreground is the habitat, planted with natives, studded with raised stepping stones, and edged on the street side with an apron made of reclaimed bricks. Keeler Gardens’ front garden is visible in the back left with lush vegetation and a small section of the pollinator habitat.
Pollinator Habitat

This summer we have been continuing our work on our new Pollinator Habitat, with the valued help of our seven interns and many volunteers, planting a multitude of Illinois native plants and working on a variety of hardscapes. We have all been laboring to get perennials and annuals installed in not only an aesthetically pleasing design, but also in a layout that will support the pollinators. Plants are grouped in large masses so pollinators have plenty to choose from. Annuals and perennials are planted both in the ground and in containers to offer pollen, nectar, and foliage at different heights, and native shrubs are scattered throughout the space to solidify structure.

The image focuses on a series of chipped, aged bricks that read “BARR” on the tops. They’re set in a clear pattern forming a walkway alongside the Keeler Gardens’ pollinator habitat.
Reclaimed Chicago Bricks

Also included in the plans are hardscapes such as flat stones for steppers and edging, and boulders anchoring corners. Stepping stones are staggered throughout the Habitat to allow visitors the opportunity to examine plants and pollinators up close. A narrow brick path lines the curb separating the Habitat from the street. This path is constructed of reclaimed antique paving bricks, drawing from Chicago history. Substantial boulders are painted by a local artist Paula Clayton with educational information.

 

A local artist, Paula Clayton, has been hired by Keeler Gardens to paint educational signs for our new pollinator habitat. Here, she’s crouching in the habitat, painting a sign near a tree that reads, “Shelter for Wildlife” with a graphic of a dragonfly in the upper right corner.
Paula Clayton painting

In addition to the formal Pollinator Habitat, Keeler Gardens supports pollinators throughout our entire space. We are part of the Monarch Waystation Program, a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and host two bee hives. Already we have seen pollinators visit – butterflies, moths, caterpillars, and many different bees. You may have seen a few pictures of caterpillars that our interns found and we posted on our Facebook page. We are looking forward to seeing them grow, and supporting them in the Habitat. We will also be including pollinator “hotels”, offering guests the opportunity to learn to build their own creations.

A black and yellow striped caterpillar is stretched out on a greyish plant in the center foreground. The black stripes are white and red spotted and have black bristles or spines protruding from them, while the yellow stripes are marked with tiny black pinstripes.
American Lady Caterpillar
In the foreground is a handmade insect hotel, which is a square, untreated, wooden frame that is filled with bundles of dry branches, dry twigs, and bits of wood. The insect hotel is designed to be hung, with a rope strap on the top, but it is resting on the ground in the Keeler Gardens’ pollinator habitat for this picture.
Insect Hotel

We are so grateful to all those that have supported us in this endeavor, The Mulch Center providing extraordinary top soil and leaf mulch, Midwest Groundcovers supplying us with a multitude of top quality native plants, Krügel Cobbles for all the stone and brick in the Habitat, and Lurvey Garden Center for continued supplies of all types.

Again we thank Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation for the funding to create the Pollinator Habitat. As part of their K-12 Schools Program we will be hosting our Pollinator Celebration on Saturday, August 4, 2018 from 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. It will be an afternoon filled with pollinators and the plants that support them, information on the Habitat and upcoming programs, and tours and interactive opportunities for all ages. Visit our Facebook Event Page for more information and regular updates.

A picture of Keeler Gardens’ new pollinator habitat, taken from the curb. In the foreground is the habitat, planted with natives and studded with raised stepping stones. Keeler Gardens’ front garden and front steps are visible in the back right.
Pollinator Habitat

Garden Festival, Spring 2019

In the background, the Festival Blooms display at Epcot is spread across a strip of grass above a lagoon. The display is pink, magenta, red, orange and yellow, and is made in the shapes of stars, suns, and the Mickey Mouse logo. In the foreground, green hosta leaves edged with contrasting white are mixed in with dianthus, little hot pink flowers with fringed petals clustered at the ends of long, thin stalks.

Keeler Gardens Visits the 2019 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival

In the background, the Festival Blooms display at Epcot is spread across a strip of grass above a lagoon. The display is pink, magenta, red, orange and yellow, and is made in the shapes of stars, suns, and the Mickey Mouse logo. In the foreground, green hosta leaves edged with contrasting white are mixed in with dianthus, little hot pink flowers with fringed petals clustered at the ends of long, thin stalks.
Festival Blooms Display

Saturday, May 4, 2019, through Saturday, May 11, 2019

UPDATE JANUARY 28, 2019: LIMITED SPACES STILL AVAILABLE…

Join Keeler Gardens for a week at one of the most extraordinary flower and garden festivals in the country: the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World! This isn’t your typical flower and garden show. It offers an unimaginable collection of gardens, themes, and interactions, and we’re incredibly excited to be able to offer this opportunity to our community.

Keeler Gardens has been attending the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival for many years, gathering knowledge that we will now be sharing with you over one very special week. Let us guide you through the many gardens on display, allowing us to educate you on all the magical details that will truly connect you with the plants and people of this enchanting special event.

In the center of the picture, a white peacock butterfly with spread wings rests on a cluster of spiky, light orange and dark red milkweed flowers. The butterfly is a pale brown with three dark brown spots on each wing and several rows of rusty orange and dark brown stripes around the wavy edges of the wings.
Butterfly on Milkweed

As your hosts, Keeler Gardens will be at your disposal for guided tours during a portion of each day, with your late afternoons and evenings free to take advantage of all Disney has to offer. Every stop will impart an appreciation for the many different displays, cultures, and hidden gems throughout the festival and beyond. We will immerse you in butterflies, visit each country in the World Showcase, and explore Disney’s environmental commitment. We will also offer suggestions and tips for maximizing your enjoyment of Walt Disney World.

Keeler Gardens has partnered with Vacation Village at Parkway in Kissimmee and Michelle Buchecker at DreamFinder Travel for an excellent offer on accommodations and theme park tickets. Stay in an apartment-like unit with a full kitchen, bath, king bed, and laundry facilities, just a 10-minute ride from Walt Disney Resort property. Along with the comfort of these unique rooms, you will have the luxury of a pool, hot tub, and sun deck.

Tour Details

Package includes:

▪ One-bedroom unit for seven nights

▪ 7-day pass with Park Hopper, to offer the most flexibility (ages 10 and up)

▪ Keeler Gardens knowledge, expertise, and our personal attention as we guide you through your festival experience

▪ Welcome Reception

▪ Keeler Gardens Tour Kit

Package price is $965 per person, based on double occupancy.

In one section of the Terracotta Garden at the 2016 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Italian terracotta pots overflow with blooms. In the front pot is white sweet alyssum and light pink New Guinea impatiens. In the pots just behind are tall blue and purple stalks of blooming salvia mixed with bright red dianthus, and far in the back hot pink New Guinea impatiens and two-tone pink geraniums. Along the bottom of the picture are more stalks of salvia, and deep blue petunias.
The Terra Cotta Garden

To reserve your package through Keeler Gardens, contact Gina at Gina@KeelerGardens.com.

A nonrefundable deposit of $250 will be due upon booking to confirm your accommodations. Final payment will be due within one month of booking.

Prices are subject to change until paid in full.

Guests will be responsible for their own airfare, transportation, and meals. There is limited daily transportation available from the hotel to the Walt Disney World Resort.

If you have any questions about the packages, options, or the festival please contact Gina at Gina@KeelerGardens.com.

Keeler Gardens Welcomes Summer 2018 Interns

Four high school interns from across Chicago pose for a picture, standing in the right foreground in a group on a sidewalk with a sign that reads “Welcome, Keeler Gardens.” In the background, mostly to the left, is the Keeler Gardens educational pollinator habitat, freshly planted, with a variety of Illinois native pollinator plants.
Five high school interns from across Chicago stand on the sidewalk in front of Keeler Gardens with Gina, the gardens’ lead horticulturalist, posing for a picture to commemorate their first day at work. On their left in the foreground and background is the educational pollinator habitat, with many of the native plants and bulbs in pots on the soil, not yet planted in the ground. Behind them to the left is part of Keeler Gardens’ front garden.
Interns with Gina

This summer, Keeler Gardens is proud to say we have seven new interns working and learning with us! Four of them are participating through privately funded internships, and three we host through the After School Matters summer internship program.

After School Matters works with more than 23,000 companies to provide jobs for more than 15,000 teens across Chicago every year. Their program is a great way for nonprofits and other businesses to help Chicago’s youth, and it’s a great way for Keeler Gardens to find teens that want to connect with nature.

Our new interns are taking on their jobs like champs! Their first week at Keeler Gardens was excellent weather for working outside, if a little hot, so they mainly worked on planting bulbs and other plants in the new Pollinator Habitat.

Two interns, seen from slightly above, one bending down on the left side of the picture removing a shovelful of dirt, and one standing at the top right with only her legs visible holding a shovel, are digging a large hole to plant a rosebush next to an ornamental rock feature. The clay soil appears gray and chunky as the sun is beating down on the working interns. The soil appears gray and chunky, and the sun is beating down on the working interns.
Planting a rose bush in the Pollinator Habitat

They’ve made so much progress on the Habitat that it’s coming along ahead of schedule, and we’re very excited to see how far it’s come. The Pollinator Habitat will be officially open on Saturday, August 4, 2018 for our Pollinator Celebration Day, and you may have the opportunity to meet some of our interns. They’re all looking forward to meeting the community and growing with Keeler Gardens this summer!

Four high school interns from across Chicago pose for a picture, standing in the right foreground in a group on a sidewalk with a sign that reads “Welcome, Keeler Gardens.” In the background, mostly to the left, is the Keeler Gardens educational pollinator habitat, freshly planted, with a variety of Illinois native pollinator plants.
Interns and the Pollinator Habitat

Keeler Gardens’ First Volunteer Orientation

Gina, the lead horticulturist specialist, is in the foreground holding a ranunculus as volunteers sit and neel in the background over pots they are planting with bulbs and other plants.

Volunteer to Connect with Nature

Keeler Gardens is growing – plants, habitats, and programs. With this grow comes quite a bit of work and we could really use your help. Are you looking for a way to connect with nature? Maybe you are looking for a chance to take a break in a soothing setting while giving back to the community; or you are hoping to make your thumb a little greener. If you have a desire to learn and share skills we have an opportunity for you…volunteer with us at Keeler Gardens.

Spring Volunteer Orientation at Keeler Gardens

Saturday, May 12, 2018

10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Our volunteer orientation meeting will to introduce you to the work we are doing at Keeler Gardens and how you might be able to help. Join us for a tour of the space, a short, informal presentation on our programs, and information on the many ways you can volunteer with us. You can visit with us just to get to know us and the space, and if you decide you want to volunteer we will find a great fit for your skills and desires.

Gina, the lead horticulturist specialist, is in the foreground holding a ranunculus as volunteers sit and neel in the background over pots they are planting with bulbs and other plants.
Volunteers at our Spring Planting Event

If for some reason you cannot attend please contact us at any time to learn more about our volunteer program (gina@keelergardens.com).  Visit our website to see a list of all the areas in which we need help, from activities in the garden to supporting roles both on-site and off.

Are you interested in hummingbirds? Keeler Gardens has dedicated a space specifically for hummingbirds. Help us make sure they have the food and water they need, and can find the garden from high above. Would you like to learn how we give our plants the best change to be as healthy as possible? Throughout the year Keeler Gardens offers all our plants the opportunity to thrive. This takes regular monitoring and care. Help support a complete, dedicated program that will connect you with nature as you care for a myriad of plant species. Or do you just want to get outside, at any time of the year? There is always something to do at Keeler Gardens, every month finds us staying connected with nature with simple tasks and large projects.

So join us on Saturday, May 12, at 10:00 a.m. to learn a little, work a little, and connect with nature and the community. We have space for about 30 people at this orientation and we would be thrilled to see you there. You can respond directly via email or to our Facebook event. And please fill out this quick questionnaire (click hereto let us know how you would be interested in participating. 

 

What’s up with the Cardboard in the Keeler Gardens Pollinator Habitat?

The parkway, grassy area between the sidewalk and the street, is completely covered with corrugated cardboard. This is the first step of lasagna gardening for the future pollinator habitat at Keeler Gardens.

Pollinator Habitat Progresses

We promised you regular updates about the pollinator habitat and we do have news.  Let’s start with the apparent mess in the parkway. You may be wondering why it looks like a random dispersion of debris, rest assured there is a method to our madness.

The parkway, grassy area between the sidewalk and the street, is completely covered with corrugated cardboard. This is the first step of lasagna gardening for the future pollinator habitat at Keeler Gardens.
Cardboard laid out preparing for pollinator habitat

Our parkway is presently mostly grass and to build the pollinator habitat in that space the grass needs to be removed.  One way to prepare a bed is to till it, cutting up all growth and turning it back into the soil. We wanted to avoid this process because it is actually detrimental to the soil at a microbial level.  We don’t want to disrupt the living aspect of the soil.

Another way to remove grass is to use a sod cutter.  This would slice off a layer that would include the grass, most of the roots, quite a bit of soil, and possibly a significant amount of the organisms in the soil, which are critical to soil health and, in turn, plant health. That seemed somewhat wasteful and disruptive to the ecosystem so we wanted a better option.

What we are doing is similar to lasagna gardening.  We are killing the grass by layering corrugated boxes over it. This does not have nearly as negative an impact on the microbial life in the soil, and the grass degrades back into the soil which is another plus. The cardboard will also degrade into the soil, faster once we get a top layer of organic material covering it.

Since this image was taken we have learned that People’s Gas will be doing some work in our area. We are uncertain how this will affect our plans, but we are fortunate the work is being done before we do any planting.

We will keep you updated as plans progress. Our next post will include an updated plant list so you can see all the wonderful flowers to expect this summer!