Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Beautiful Saturday In the City

Cherry blossoms and a beautiful blue sky. The smell of spring in the air. Many of the trees I passed had burst into clouds of pink confetti like blossoms over night. Got up early with my daughter, nephew, 3 shovels, and six 5 gallon containers and we drove to Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center. My daughter was speechless and there was a lot of eye rolling. The gate to the center was shut. It suddenly occurred to me that the center doesn't open until April. 

The trip was not in vain though because we stumbled upon Chamounix  Equestrian Center as we tried to find our way out of the park.The horses were beautiful and you could sign up for rides. The last time I was near or on a horse was as a child in my aunt's pasture. Places such as this still in the city and many other art, cultural and horticultural, choices brighten my day and provide respite from the fast pace and noise of the city I love and live in.

Also on the site is Chamounix Youth Hostel housed in a beautiful old house. The setting is beautiful. I felt like I was in the country and it really lifted my spirit this morning. I'll have to come to the park more often to refresh myself and enjoy the many sites open to the public in the park including boat house row where many canoe and jog, fish, or picnic. When I was a child, trips to Fairmount Park were a weekly event on my father's day off from work and family picnics. Shofuso Japanese House has been on my to visit list for the past couple of years. Maybe this year I'll get there for the tea ceremony or for the cherry blossom festival. It's on 1.2 acres including gardens. It's open for regular visits starting March 26th.

If you're a resident of Philadelphia you're allow a 30 gallon container of herbivore manure, wood chips, compost, or shredded wood mulch for free with proof of residency. Firewood is also available but you have to be able to split the wood. Screened leaf compost is made from leaves and herbivore manure. No sludge material or sewage is used. This is an analysis of their compost and how to use. If I keep to my plan I'll come throughout the summer until I get some of each item starting with compost as I dress my flower beds for spring although this is recommended in the fall. 

My yard is composed of 4 areas for gardening with a square center for my table, chairs, and grill. The soil over the past year appeared to always be dry almost white and ashy looking even after heavy rains soaked the yard and the water absorbed. I finally realized that this was not only dryness but depletion of the soil from rain and snow and leaching away of many of the nutrients. So with this in mind, I have to do something about this area as it looks awful this spring. 

My choices, grass seeds or wood chip mulch. First I'm going to add some nutrients to the soil after I do some reading. Wood chips are free at the recycling center but it would take several visits to obtain the amount needed to provide 2-3" of mulching to cover the soil. I think grass would be a good choice because the clippings would provide nutrients to the soil below. The yard is dappled shade so I'll have to do my research to see what type would do good in my area and in shade. The prices of seed at the garden center wasn't cheap and it may take years to get a presentable patch. I haven't decided what to do yet and with summer coming and heat I wonder if it's a good time to be growing a lawn although something has to be done.

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