By Christa Watters, Certified Master Gardener
Simpson Gardens work parties began on March 7 this year, but in a hit or miss Tuesday pattern with a couple of rescheduled dates because of rain-outs. We have drawn interns from the fall class as well as from our regular roster of volunteers. Early spring’s blooming pattern was a bit unusual, as in all our gardens, with some plants putting on a show much earlier than usual. But the early warmth also enabled us to get our garden cleaned up and into shape much sooner than in some years.
The team held two potting-up parties, digging up volunteer seedlings, splitting clumps, and thinning beds that had become overgrown. These plants are being tended at Carol Kilroy’s house in anticipation of the May 20 plant sale at Green Spring Gardens Park.
Looking ahead to our Open House on Bird Friendly Gardening, we acquired a new bird bath, and our sweet resident sparrows, the resident mocking birds and crows who yell at us all during work parties, and the robins who trail us for worms as we dig, have all been enjoying the added water source, an addition to the original one in the shade bed.
We had good attendance at the Tuesday morning Simpson Stroll on April 11, with great interest in particular from two young men who were building new gardens in their respective yards and wanted specific information and advice on suitable plantings and methods.
The Sunday, April 30 Open House was enriched by Audubon Ambassador Alyssa Ford Morel’s beautiful and useful presentation on Bird Friendly Gardening through principles of the Audubon At Home program. Several of our visitors came especially for the topic of gardening for birds, listening intently to Alyssa’s presentation and taking informational materials with them. Some signed up for a home garden visit from Alyssa or another Audubon Ambassador while others promised to return for follow-up visits and more information. Children enjoyed looking at the bright red bird cutouts Denise Dieter had made to hang in the trees and shrubs that provide significant shelter or seeds and berries that attract birds. We gave away flower and herb seed packets and provided information on sustainable gardening, native plants, soil kits, and composting as well as about attracting birds and pollinators.
Simpson welcomes MGNV volunteers to our Tuesday work parties each week. Most weeks we provide coffee and snacks. Bring water, wear a hat and sunscreen, and join our congenial group.