Apparently there is posh music event called The Secret Garden where Prince Harry went topless. I just want to reassure everyone that it was not OUR Secret Garden, which is intended for the private use of the women and children at 33 and 55 McGrigor. The only royalty we are hoping for is the monarch butterfly. I did see a similar one but it was smaller. The butterfly bush had attracted it and also a nice big bumbly bumble bee. Most things have survived, and there are tomatoes coming along. One or two IRIS members do a little weeding and watering once a week but there are angels from the apartments that are obviously keeping it going as well. To celebrate, IRIS will be holding an art making day for the residents and other Y friends on August 9, the one day we won't be hoping for rain.
Pavers and Pink
Our good friends from John's shop class at E.A.Lovell arrived with their artistic stepping stones. With these and the ties that Sally and Jan have entwined around the willow branches and throughout the central birch structure, there is a pink theme emerging. Further good news is that Y maintenance helper offered to whipper snip the lower space. It would be a shame for it to get overgrown again after the students worked so hard to get it cleaned out.
Planting day and beyond
Thrilled to wake up to the rain this morning. We have been depending on the helpful residents at 33 and 55 to water our gasping plants, and this was a great boon. The downside is that John Cooney and class were planning to lay the pavers they had made, so that will have to wait for a dryer (drier?) day.
That's the good news. The bad news is that we did not get the Ontario Arts Council grant to continue artmaking throughout the summer and throw on a festival at the end. So if anyone out there wants to sponsor a workshop or event, don't be shy.
Here are Mary Ellen McQuay's photographs from the day that the KOBE donated plants went in.
We are meeting so many great people as the residents drop by to see what's going on and offer their help, not to mention the continuing contributions of John Cooney's shop class. THE GARDEN NOW EXISTS!!
Thanks to KAMSTRA's, we received a load of topsoil Wednesday morning. Miraculously, the rain held off and the wonderful E. A. Lovell students came to help us to do most of the earth moving. Teacher John brought his rototiller and within an hour we had the most beautiful earth ready for planting. P.M. Sally, Laura and Jan headed off to use our KOBE'S donation.
Back at it the following day, and with characteristic artistic finesse, IRIS members Sally Thurlow and Jan Prebble erected branches to create structures to support red runner beans and other climbers. Meanwhile John's class installed the cedar bird house they had made, Laura, Lisa, Liz and I planted under Sally's direction, and Mary Ellen photographed.
There is a little more to finish off next week and then we can think about art making.
Photo credits are indicated by initials,
ST = Sally Thurlow
JC = John Cooney
JP = Janice Prebble
BIG THANK YOUS to
MILLER COMPOST for compost
KAMSTRA'S for topsoil
KOBE's for wonderful flowering perennials
HOME DEPOT for cedar for the birdhouse
WE ARE CHUFFED!
MAY 5 - the compost arrives!
Several IRIS members, led by Sally Thurlow, along with some residents from the property, and the amazing shop class from Durham Continuing Education's E. A. Lovell with their teacher John Cooney, transfered several yards of compost into the no-longer-secret garden.
Thanks to Cheryllynn Ireland and a great weekend for weather, all of the amphitheatre is cleared. JOB 1 is done.
Approximate dates are attached where we have them, and all women are welcome to jump in with us.
JOBS SO FAR . . .
We are looking for children, adults and families to care for the young seedlings that will be planted in the Secret Garden
All our seedlings need is a sunny window, watering when required, and a little care! Each seedling comes with a new pot/saucer and soil for immediate transplanting into it’s larger container.
If you can offer these seedlings a good home until they are planted in our ‘Y’ garden please contact
Apparently the wood can't be much older than 20 years. More questions and finally an answer. When the apartment building was built there was a children s playground installed. Later the equipment was moved to another location on the property. Still looks like an amphitheatre though.
During Iris members’ visits to YWCA Durham's Adelaide House to discuss some artmaking projects, an abandoned garden and amphitheatre was discovered on the property. On seeing this, several of us imagined how we might work together with residents and other community members to begin a dialogue about reclaiming this space, perhaps even, to create an area where visual and performance art could take place. Taking abandoned and depleted earth, working it with our hands and tools, starting seedlings in early spring, tending to their delicate needs and then, finding a suitable location to flourish in our community garden, reflects the healthy growing conditions needed for all interdependent communities and life others.
We are open to all possibilities. The renewal of the outdoor space at Adelaide House will seek to support and nurture a sense of belonging among the families temporarily housed at this place. We, the IRIS Group, will be challenged to develop a way of working where all involved are equal decision-makers and participants with shared responsibility for the projects’ direction, activities and outcome. We imagine creating a visual journal through photography, mixed-media/performance/installation events and activities, jointly developed with our collaborators. The achievements of this partnership can become part of the YWCA archive and, more importantly, a tangible and satisfying accomplishment for each individual woman, an accomplishment of growing an interconnected community that supports woman undergoing the trauma of dislocation, and deepens our relationship with the earth as a nurturing and life-sustaining environment. Further to this we have invited students of the ESL program at E.A.Lovell School to participate as well as other community members.