By JOSHUA PHILLIPS & CAROLANNE MURRAY
June 19, 2013
Educating the community about bees, chickens and, most importantly, gardening is how some local farmers and gardeners will be spending their weekend.
On Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, both the Urban Grown Farms & Gardens Tour and the Kansas City Water Garden Tours will occur. This is the fifth biennial tour for the Urban Grown Farms & Gardens Tour and the 20th anniversary for the Kansas City Water Gardens Tour.
Several Historic Northeast gardens will be featured in the Urban Grown Farms & Gardens Tour and include the Cherith Brook Catholic Worker’s garden, the Mattie Rhodes Center’s Jubilee Garden, the St. John Gardens, the Whatsoever Community Center’s Community Garden and the Urban Farming Guys’ Myrtly Plot. St. John Gardens and Northeast resident Curtis Padilla will also participate in the Kansas City Water Gardens Tour.
“It’s rare that one location will participate in two tours on the same day,” said Rebecca Koop, who operates St. John Gardens and serves as executive director of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. “We have done the same tours in the past but they have never been held on the same weekend before.”
St. John Gardens is open to individual gardeners that wish to grow produce for their own consumption. According to Koop, it is a unique way to meet new neighbors and helps bring the community together. St. John Gardens also features a natural clay pond.
“Our pond is set up in a natural drainage area where the water collects. It is an all-natural ecosystem; there are no fountains in it,” Koop said. “I did some research on clay ponds and contacted the Missouri Conservation Office and they basically said don’t change anything, it is working. Since it has fish, plants, dragonflies and frogs, it’s doing its job.”
Unlike St. John Gardens, this is the Cherith Brook Catholic Workers first time participating in the tour.
“We offer hospitality meals to people living on the streets,” Nick Pickrell said. “We have chickens that are living, breathing, waste disposal that we feed the scraps to and in return they lay almost three dozen eggs a day.”
During the tour, Cherith Brook will offer bee demonstrations, chicken petting, food demonstrations and live music. During the bee demonstration, workers will discuss the “fascinating facts” about regular bee functions within the hive.
“Depending on what the turnout is, we might even have people construct their own beehive frame,” Pickrell said.
From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. the blue grass and rock band Intergalactic Sons will perform at Cherith Brook.
For his 9th straight year, Padilla will show off his backyard water garden during the Kansas City Water Garden Tour sponsored by the Water Garden Society of Greater Kansas City (WGSGKC).
“Each year the water gardens get bigger and better,” Padilla said. “Having a water garden is a hobby of love; mine is the land of neverend.”
Padilla said he averages 300 to 400 people during the tour and that his garden is admired by all ages.
“One 10-year-old saw my garden and asked, ‘Is that your garden?’ and after I said yes, he said it was just beautiful and he wanted to do one of his own,” Padilla said. “The tour is special because it gives people something new to experience and is inspiring for older and younger people.”
The Kansas City Water Gardens Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and costs $10 per person. Tickets are available at Union Station, Kansas City Pond and Water Gardening, Planters Seed Company, St. John Gardens and other locations. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the WGSGKC website at www.kcwatergarden.com. The Urban Grown Farms & Gardens Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and tickets are $8 per person, $20 for a family or $5 per person for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available at St. John Gardens, Tour Hub, Gibbs Road Farm, Gillis Center, Hoop Dog Studio Garden and other locations. For more information, visit http://www.cultivatekc.org/urbangrowntour.