Thursday, December 11, 2014

8th Annual Columbia Waterfront District Tree Lighting

The 8th Annual Columbia Waterfront District Tree Lighting is being hosted by our friends at the Human Compass Garden at the corner of Columbia and Sackett streets on Friday, Dec. 12, from 6–7:30 pm. Come down to the garden for live music, refreshments from local restaurants, and a photo with Santa, who has surprises for the kids! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Story Time and Sing-Along!

UPDATE: Due to weather conditions, the story time has been CANCELLED.

Need an excuse to dress up the kids in their adorable Halloween costumes one more time? Come down to the Summit Street Community Garden, at the corner of Columbia and Summit streets, this Sunday, November 2, from 11–11:45 am for a Halloween-themed story time and sing-along!

Stories will be read by garden member Andrea Vaughn Johnson, children's librarian at Brooklyn Public Library central branch. Music will be led by garden member Rob Jost of Little Folkies and the Sesame Street band.

Children of all ages and their families are welcome. Come in costume or come as you are. BYOB, as in blanket! Admission is free.

You’ll also have a chance to purchase some flower bulbs to support the garden!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Summit Street Garden 2nd Annual Fall Bulb Bake Band Bonanza, Saturday, October 18

The Summit Street Community Garden at the corner of Summit and Columbia streets will host its second annual Fall Bulb Bake Band Bonanza on Saturday, October 18 from 10 am–4 pm. Buy flower bulbs for your garden while enjoying snacks and music in the community garden. Baked goods and a selection of bulbs—including daffodils, tulips and crocuses—will be for sale, with all proceeds benefiting the garden. Live music from jazz-rock fusion trio City Samanas begins at 2 pm. Admission is free. The rain date for the event is Sunday, October 19.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September Weekends in the Garden

I’ve been lucky enough to spend the past two Saturdays in the community garden and I’d like to share some photos and notes. Last week, I was going to send out an email as a follow-up to my Bee Careful post about the ground-dwelling bees near the garden entrance, where the bench used to be. (Thanks to Gardener Lily for moving it so people seated at the bench aren’t surprised by the bees, or vice-versa.)

I thought I’d unearthed another bee dwelling last Saturday while weeding the path by the birdbath, when I found myself suddenly surrounded by about eight bees. None of them stung me, but they seemed to be letting me know that it would be in my best interest to move along and leave that area alone. This week, I returned and weeded that area with no bee interference, but in several other areas, I would weed for about 10 minutes before bees would come by and chase me away. I did I lot of shrieking and running around today. So if you see half-weeded areas, throughout the garden, that was me, being afraid of the little bees. (My boyfriend thinks it’s hilarious that I love to garden but am afraid of bees. “You’re outside,” he once reminded me. “They live here.”)

The bees don’t seem particularly aggressive, but it seems as if they’re guarding the ground. All of it. They seem to prefer the sunshine, so it helps to weed in shady spots. (With this option, I had all my blood drained from me by the mosquitoes. If you’re curious as to Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, I recommend the children’s book that was read to me as a little tyke at the public library. It left quite an impression on me for me to remember it 30 years later.)

This belongs to the bees.

This also belongs to the bees.

Everything belongs to the bees.
Anyway, if you’re in the garden, just be mindful of the bees. I suppose it's possible I'm misinterpreting their intentions, and they're the world's friendliest bees. They buzzed around me all day, including when I was cleaning up a giant pile of poop in the grass. If there’s something I like less than cleaning up poop of mysterious origins, I’m not sure what it is. Aside from mystery poop, the past few Saturdays have been absolutely lovely.

Remember that the 2nd annual Bulb, Bake and Band Bonanza Garden Fundraiser is Saturday, October 18 (rain date is Sunday, October 19)! The bulbs have been chosen, and it’s a lovely selection! —Josie


Bumblebees enjoying the hollyhock.

The migrating ceramic dove seems to have found a feather.

Mum season! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Tomorrow: Summit Street Garden Workday and The Amazing Garden's Sandwich Contest

Our community garden neighbors are having their annual Best Grilled Sandwich in Brooklyn Contest tomorrow, September 20, at 3 pm in The Amazing Garden, at the corner of Columbia and Carroll streets. The $15 donation to the garden earns you a vote (and sandwiches, of course) from three local eateries: Bar Bruno Mexican Bistro, Vekslers and Henry Public. Each restaurant will offer sandwiches both for carnivores and vegetarians. Plus there's live music with guest emcee Amy Eddings of WNYC. Kids get in for free.

And don't forget that tomorrow in the Summit Street Garden, there's a meeting at 11 am, followed by a workday. Work up an appetite in our garden, then head over to The Amazing Garden for sandwiches!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bee Careful!

Several gardeners have noticed a bee or wasp hideout near the bench by the front gate, where there seems to be a lot of bee activity. (Appropriately, these ground-dwelling bees seem to have set up camp by the bee balm.) Lots of bees are good for the garden, so just exercise caution while in this area.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pete Seeger Sing-A-Long at Urban Meadow on September 14

Our neighbors at the Urban Meadow, located at the corners of President and Van Brunt streets, are having a Pete Seeger Sing-A-Long on Sunday, Sept. 14 from 3–6 pm. The jamboree/hootenanny will be led by Don Friedman. Bring your acoustic guitars, banjos, ukuleles and mandolins to play along in sessions led by Mark Sunderwirth and Kimball Mandrake. Tickets are $5 for adults, and children are free.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wilde Tale Theatre Performance With John Kevin Jones This Saturday

Join us this Saturday, July 19 at 4pm for a special theatre performance workshop with actor John Kevin Jones. 

Jones has adapted Oscar Wilde's short story "The Devoted Friend" for performance and will offer a first reading of his new script at the Summit Street Garden.

"The Devoted Friend" is the comic story of the consequences of true friendship and is well suited for children up to the age of 83. This is Kevin's second journey telling classic stories using only his voice and body to create scenes and characters. his critically acclaimed adaptation of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" at the Merchant's House Museum was hailed as "masterful storytelling" by and is being brought back this coming holiday season by popular demand.

Kevin is the co-artistic director of Summoners Ensemble Theatre and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and Actors Equity Association.

Free and open to the public. Performance is about 30 minutes with a potluck to follow.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Farewell to the Peach Tree

The peach tree, post-topple, on July 3.

After nearly 20 years in the Summit Street Community Garden, the peach tree was felled by the July 2 thunderstorm.

Felled peach tree

As another storm threatened to bear down upon the garden the following day, some of the community gardeners cut the tree into smaller pieces and put them by the Summit Street gate, awaiting pickup from the parks department.

The peach tree along the wall in the spring. 
Throughout the years, the tree has produced some tasty peaches, which were offered to gardeners and visitors. Farewell, peach tree.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Photos from the 2014 Tag Sale

The 2014 garden tag sale was a success!
Thanks to all who helped out with and attended the 2014 Summit Street Community Garden Tag Sale to make the annual fundraiser a success!

Doesn't this hammock look nice and relaxing for a perfect summer day like Saturday?
Too early to think about winter? Not with the donation of a 1968 vintage sled and a more recent model from the 1990s.
As always, we had plenty of books and music at the sale.
Doll party at the tag sale.
Shoppers at the tag sale. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tag Sale Is Saturday, June 21

The Summit Street Community Garden Tag Sale is Saturday, June 21, from 10 am–3 pm at the corner of Summit and Columbia streets. The rain date is Sunday, June 22. Browse household goods, clothing, accessories, music, toys and other treasures. All proceeds benefit the garden.

A reminder to members: Set up starts at 9 am, so bring your items to the garden at that time. If you'd like to sign up for a shift, be sure to do so on the sign-up sheet that has been emailed to members. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

First Potluck of the Season was a Great Success

We hosted the first of several social events this season, a potluck on June 8, and it was a great success. The grill was going, the weather was beautiful, the mosquitos stayed away.

There were beef burgers and veggie burgers, and pork hot dogs from Grazin' Acres Farm, a fantastic animal welfare and eco-friendly farm upstate, which you can find at the Carroll Gardens greenmarket on Sundays. There was also delicious homemade potato salad, a strawberry crisp--also courtesy the bounty of our local farmer's market--hot and cold sesame noodles, a Southwestern style black bean and corn salad, fresh fruit salad, and other assorted goodies. We did not go hungry.

All in all, it was a great time.
If you couldn't make it this time, we're hosting another one July 19, following a theatre performance workshop by Kevin Jones, a friend of garden member Christina K. The roughly 30-minute performance will begin at 4pm, followed by potluck.

Also, coming up first is the annual tag sale and fundraiser, Saturday, June 21. Be sure to sign up for a shift to help out, here.

Here's some information about the the theatre workshop from Kevin:

Wilde Tales

I've always loved reading Oscar Wilde's fairy tales, and I'd like to try bringing them to the stage in a solo performance. The stories are beautifully written, of course, and have many elements that I think would make for an entertaining storytelling experience. My process in bringing text to life is something that I've developed over a lifetime of work in the theatre. I think I can best explain what I'm trying to do with this reading in your garden by giving you a glimpse of how I developed my successful, one hour production of Dicken's A Christmas Carol.

I began developing A Christmas Carol as a solo performance piece in 2011 and my first step was to edit the text and see if audiences responded to my performance of the edited version in a narrative, storytelling format. These readings and performances were presented in private Victorian homes, modern event rooms and even New York matchbox apartments. Audiences ranged in size from 6 - 30. I'm very glad to say that the story was not only engaging but that audiences seemed to find what I brought to the piece special and personally meaningful. Many who know the story well told me after seeing my performance of A Christmas Carol that it was as if they were hearing the story for the first time. High praise and, I felt, reason to develop the piece further.

Working with my company, Summoners Ensemble Theatre, in 2012 we staged A Christmas Carol at Theatre Row's Studio Theatre on 42nd Street and took it on a small tour through Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma - performing in theatres that I'd worked with previously, private homes and event spaces for fundraisers. This informed us further as to what we felt was the best way to showcase the production. We formed a partnership with the Merchant's House Museum (the oldest in-tact, surviving Victorian home in New York City) and brought the performance to life in their grand parlor. We had a very successful run last December and are looking forward to our return engagement this holiday season.

I would only be reading one of the stories for this reading. I will be "on book" (actor talk for having the text open in front of me for reference) but the story will be developed with character voices and an edited performance text. The stories vary in length from 15 - 25 minutes. I would like to perform either The Remarkable Rocket or The Devoted Friend. Both stories take place in gardens. These stories are about 20-25 minutes in length and provide a lot of humor along with a bit of Victorian pathos. The tales are suitable for adults and children, and while Wilde said that he did write them for "childlike people from 18-80," I think there is entertainment value for actual children in the stories themselves and in the voices I've developed for these well drawn characters. That said, I leave it to parents to judge the attention span of their child. From previous experiences with very young children in the audience for A Christmas Carol, they have followed the group behavior in watching as much of the performance as they can and have then quietly found things to amuse them.

I hope that you'll find the idea of storytelling in your garden an interesting one and that we'll meet in the near future. I've visited your garden recently and it is beautiful and provides a great setting for these Wilde tales.

Reviews for A Christmas Carol at the Merchant's House Museum

"Jones somehow manages to walk the tightrope of allowing the tone and emotion of a moment bleed over into his narration while keeping his characterizations distinct. This is masterful storytelling, like a live-action book on tape. It's much more theatrical than a simple reading, but it still stays true to Dickens' voice."

"Jones has chiseled and set a jewel of a play at a jewel of a museum."
"A Christmas Carol" at the Merchants House Museum (29 East 4th Street) stars gripping, glorious actor John Kevin Jones in a stunning solo performance,51724
I give A Christmas Carol at the Merchant's House Museum an enormous thumbs up.

John Kevin Jones: Kevin is a member of Actors' Equity, The Dramatist Guild of America, and is the co-artistic director of Summoners Ensemble Theatre. He has most recently been seen in Andy Halliday's Nothing But Trash at Theater for the New City. Other credits include last season's successful presentation of A Christmas Carol at the Merchant's House Museum (which will return this 2014 holiday season), Jeffrey (opposite Bryan Batt) at Lincoln Center, The Winter's Tale and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, both with the Hipgnosis Theatre Company. Regionally Kevin has been seen at American Stage in St. Pete, Florida (The Pavilion), Arkansas Rep. (Othello), Kentucky Rep. (The Rivals, All My Sons, Comedy of Errors), Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tennessee (Angels in America, Last Night of Ballyhoo, Gross Indecency). Directing credits include A Lie of the Mind at Theatre Memphis, Revenge of the Space Pandas at Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at Playhouse on the Square.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The First Beautiful June Day in the Garden

This isn't exactly news, but it's a beautiful day. In case you weren't able to visit the garden, here are a few pictures.

Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows on money plants. The ones by the entrance gate are flush with coins (and seeds) right now. 

Bees and garlic. 

Someone's going to have some strawberries to eat very soon. 

This is what the roses by the Columbia Street path look like from a short person's perspective. 

More roses!


Hens and chickens (with a bonus bug if you look closely).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Important 2014 Garden Dates

A photo from last year's tag sale
Among the things addressed at the garden meeting this past Saturday were dates for the upcoming tag sale and bulb sale. 

Tag Sale: The Summit Street Garden Tag Sale is Saturday, June 21 from 10 am to 3 pm (rain date: Sunday, June 22). So when you're spring cleaning, do it with the tag sale in mind. In addition to seasonal clothing, books and household goods, we can also sell some baked goods if anyone wants to make them. 

Last year's sale was a success.

Some gems from last year's sale.
Bulb Sale: Last year's Bluegrass Blues Bulb Bake Bonanza was such a success that we're having another this year, on Saturday, October 18. Below are some images by Gardener Sondra from last year's extravaganza. 

Ernie Vega
Flying Home Trio
Emma Graves
Upcoming meetings and workdays: Here's a list of upcoming meetings and workdays. Remember, if you'd like to become a member, show up to a meeting for an orientation. 

Sunday, June 22 at 11 am, Meeting and Work Day
Saturday, July 12 at 11 am, Meeting and Work Day
Sunday, August 17 at 11 am, Work Day
Saturday, September 20 at 11 am, Meeting and Work Day
Sunday, October 12 at 11 am, Meeting and Work Day