COMMUNITY GARDENgarden     Well, the plots well and truly bloomed, some to overflowing and we have learnt a few lessons from our “First Planting.”  Nonetheless, we had produce aplenty and although some were not harvested in time, most did get to be consumed, especially at the last Pot Luck, when Maria and others in the kitchen, stuffed banana peppers with a cheese mix and they were delicious.   Over the first week or so in July, we will be thinning out the plots and getting rid of those plants which are at their end or nearing their end. Although the plots provided well, one of the lessons learnt was to maybe not plant as much in each plot, and the best place for ground crops is at ground level or they will take over. The rest of the space which is at present not used will be evaluated and decisions made on what to do with them. If you have a particular plant or want to just experiment and not have a plot, we have 7 and 15 gallon planters which can house a number of plants. Just let me know and we can get them ready for you.   There are a number of wonderful documents available at The University of Florida website which help out with gardens. Thanks for pointing us in that direction, Janet Troxell.   Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide   This document makes for great reading in all aspects of maintaining a garden. It also gives a Planting Guide for Florida Vegetables which we will be consulting for our new crop rotation in the fall.   Take care and see you in the Garden……  We are presently in that ‘in between time’ in the garden whereby some of the plots have been cleared out for the next planting; some are holding on to the last vestiges of the first crops. Progressively over the  month of August, all the plots will be cleared and the Fall crop will be planted for those plots growing vegetables.         picture2Flowers/shrubs We still have a number of flowering plants that catch the attention of insects and butterflies passing overhead. It’s great to simply sit on the nearby picnic table and quietly contemplate under the shade of the magnolia tree, disturbed by nothing more than the flash of color of a butterfly.         picture3Olive Tree On the west side of the garden area, we have planted two Arbequina olive trees as we look to create a space for common plants and trees between Florida and the Middle East. Look for scriptural references in the near future linking the flora with the Bible. Better still, bring your suggestions of scripture that might be distributed around the garden space that would add to the ambience, as well as the edification of those who walk and work there.             I know it is hard to believe, but cooler weather does seem to have arrived and with it comes a different ‘season’ in the garden. Fall crops have now been planted in many of the plots, a couple of them are lying fallow and two are flower focused and are producing a blaze of color and attracting pollinators. If you have been up to the garden recently, you may have noticed that the Passion Vines, which had set up home on the east fence between the school and the garden have gone. They had to be taken down, as the weight of them began to impact the fence and it simply became a safety issue regarding the integrity of the fence. Our lesson learned is to not do that again, but instead to provision trellises and have the vines grow on them, as they are great fall food for the butterflies. As mentioned last month, we did sustain a little damage from the hurricane, but other than that, the garden stood up very well. It meant a fair amount of cleanup, which continued last week with a team raking, weeding, and moving the large amount of potted plants we had along the fence lines. If you haven’t already been up there, go take a look. This month we solicit the congregation’s input. We would like you to share scriptures which come to mind with your memories about being in your own garden. We would like to place scriptures around the garden so those who work in there can call them to mind as they toil. Grace and peace to one and all……..