It's finally spring time, and for many, that means planting season! With COVID-19 forcing me into quarantine, I've been looking for different ways to positively engage my brain, get outdoors and stay healthy. While I've enjoyed solo bike rides, I've also been reading a lot about sustainable community development. Recently, I came across Ron Finley, an artist, activist and self proclaimed "gangsta-gardener" from South Central LA. Over the past few years, Finley has taken unused spaces such as parkways, vacant lots and road verges and transformed them into gardens. Through these fruitful endeavors, Finley has helped remodel disenfranchised neighborhoods into positive community spaces and engaged local residents to build self-sufficient ecosystems of gardening, education, cooking and business learning and management.
Inspired by this "guerrilla gardening" movement, I decided to try my hand at growing a little pollinator garden in the road verge in front of my home. But first, I needed to gather a few supplies.
My setup for my gardening ride. You can win this handy Burley Travoy Cargo bike trailer during the month of May by recording your favorite neighborhood ride on Ride Spot and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
My list for the day's trip included: 1 large bag of organic outdoor planting mix, a package of white clover seeds and a collection of Rocky Mountain Wildflower seeds. The beautiful sunny 70 degree day harkened me to ride my bike, and thanks to having access to a cargo bike trailer, I had a means to carry back the large bag of soil.
Oriental poppies (Papaver orientale)
On my way up to Harlequin's Garden - a local sustainable nursery and garden center - I would frequently stop to admire and take pictures of all the newly bloomed perennials!
Local riders, staying socially distant, take to the "hero" gravel roads leading up to the nursery.
This tree stands near the nursery and is just so darn cool.
Harlequin's Garden is a family nursery and garden center in Boulder, Colorado dedicated to natural and sustainable gardening for the Front Range. They specialize in native plants, organic vegetable and herb starts, xeriscape, hardy roses, Colorado-adapted and unusual perennials, fruit trees and berry bushes, ground covers, hardy cacti, seeds and beekeeping supplies.
It didn't take long to arrive at Harlequin's Garden and pick up the supplies.
Seeds are secure in my Route 66 fanny pack!
On my way back, I frequented more stops and kept an eye out for beautiful local vegetation.
Tree cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata)
Basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis)
Catmint (Nepeta raassenii)
Back at the house, I begin to sprinkle the seeds over the moistened turned soil. I chose to plant white clovers, as this ground cover helps to bring nitrogen back into the soil and aids in the healthy growth of surrounding plants.
I then laid the wildflower seeds generously around the small plot. These flowers are not only good for pollinators, like bees and butterflies, but they're also a hardy plant that grows native to the area and has adapted to survive with little attention in the region.
The last step was to add a light layer of the organic planting mix to cover the seeds and water. Now we just wait and see!
_ Isaac Novak
PeopleForBikes Content + Design Coordinator