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The Seedling - April 2020

While the Coronavirus pandemic has caused a massive, ongoing "pause" to so much in our society and economy- nature and spring time in the Sonoran Desert hums along. What I love about our gardening community right now is how our love of plants, is bringing out our humanity. On any given day there is so much to be thankful for as a gardener in Southern Arizona including an amazing array of resources in the form of numerous non-profit organizations, businesses and programs dedicated to promoting Native American and arid-adapted crops, water conservation, increasing food resiliency and reducing hunger. In times like these it is beautiful and truly inspiring to see how creative, collaborative and connected our gardening culture- and broader Tucson community- is.  Parker Filer

We are grateful you are a part of our gardening community!

In this issue:

  • Opportunities to Share
  • Garden Spotlight: Mary Meredith
  • Partner Spotlight: Pima County Cooperative Extension
  • AZ Gives Day- Thank you for your support!
  • Board Corner: New Faces at CGT
  • Remembering a Fellow Gardener
  • Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day everyday!
Opportunities to Share

It’s always hard to see garden food go unharvested, but especially this season when we know so many of our community members are struggling to buy food. CGT is teaming up with a local group called Tucson Food Share to help supply excess garden produce to neighbors in need. Tucson Food Share members are growing food in a few CGT gardens, but would also love to help distribute food from other gardens that is going to waste. If there are plots in your gardens where food is unharvested, please check with the gardener to see if it can be donated. Then contact Sasha 520-368-6531, who can come with a cooler to harvest and deliver to Tucson Food Share. Thanks!

Garden Spotlight: Mary Meredith

by Site Coordinator, Faith Edman


COVID-19 has brought our gardening community closer. As a group we rented our last vacant plot to plant and grow together so we’ll have enough food to share as needed. And we safely “distance” on Thursday evenings for work parties. We each bring different knowledge, resources and energy which feed our spirits and our garden. I’m grateful that I have a wonderful place to escape to, and that it’s cared for by supportive, enthusiastic and wise gardeners. Mary Meredith is a critical sanity saver for me right now! Being part of a community garden is a true gift. I am normally a flower and herb grower, and I’m happy that a lot of our gardeners also grow pollinator friendly plants within their veggie plots. The pandemic-caused challenges of shopping made me accept that I should plant more vegetables so this spring I am tucking them in amidst my bee-loving flowers. We are adjusting to this new “normal” together.


Partner Spotlight:
Pima County Cooperative Extension

by Parker Filer, Horticultural Agent and CGT Board Member

Pima County Cooperative Extension has been rising to the coronavirus challenge in a number of ways. While it has been a heartbreak to have to cancel or postpone many spring and summer activities, many of our programs are pivoting to online methods of delivering high-quality learning opportunities for the community. Currently our Smartscape instructors are creating and delivering their classes on drip irrigation, xeriscaping and rainwater harvesting by Zoom. More information on Smartscape here.

As many folks are finding themselves with more time at home they're taking advantage of the beautiful weather to work on their home gardens and landscapes. We're happy to be able to provide guidance, information and recommendations. Reach out with your questions today! or by phone at: 520-626-5161.

In the coming weeks the Master Gardeners and other Cooperative Extension Programs will be creating new content on a variety of gardening topics and preparing short videos as a "virtual tour" of our public demonstration gardens which are Gorgeous right now- so stay tuned by following us on Facebook and on our website.

AZ Gives Day- Thank You!

Thanks to all of our wonderful donors who so generously supported CGT's Arizona Gives Day campaign! A huge shout out to folks whose amazing financial support will ensure that our Kids in Gardens project thrives, and will be there to greet our students when they return to school this Fall. We rely on the community's generosity in helping us to make Tucson's environs a diverse and sustainable thank you again!

A Tribute to a Fellow Gardener

Recently Ventana Vista Garden lost a member of their garden community, Magdi Nefah in a motorcycle accident. Therese Bagshaw wrote this beautiful tribute to Magdi, community and gardening. Thank you for sharing, Therese!

It is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
- Mary Oliver

I have a plot at a small community garden one mile from my home. Yesterday, I found out a fellow gardener died in a motorcycle accident two weeks ago.

His name was Magdi. We met only once during a community garden clean up two months ago. He did the jobs no one else wanted to do and tended to his garden with loving care. After a few hours of work, we walked back to our cars together. We talked about recipes using rosemary. He told me about his pesto recipe. I told him about my potato kale soup. I said I looked forward to exchanging more recipes. “Yes, me too,” he said. Then we said goodbye.

Some people touch us deeply with just one meeting. Magdi was my age and I know we would’ve been friends. When I found out he had died the collective sadness in the world seeped into my soul. I couldn’t breathe, like a heavy brick was put on my chest.

Many of my loved ones are going through difficult times. I do my best to keep my spirits up so I can hold space and shine the light of hope for them. But yesterday I allowed the sorrow to stay with me, wandering around the house like a hummingbird, never landing on any one thing for very long.

This morning I’m going to go to the community garden to tend to Magdi’s garden. I’m going to pull out the plants that have gone to seed. I’m going to water the ones still growing. I’m going to put my hands into the dirt and dig down deep until I touch the healing wisdom of Mother Earth. I’m going to plant flowers in memory of a kind and gentle man. Then I will pick some rosemary and go home and make Magdi’s pesto recipe which I will do my best to remember. And if I can’t remember, only then will I let myself cry.

You can celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day every day!
Many nurseries and garden organizations have adapted to social distancing recommendations by offering online plant sales, curb side pick up and delivery.  Be sure to order your affordable, desert appropriate shade and fruit trees for delivery from Trees for Tucson!  Follow Community Gardens of Tucson on Facebook to see more upcoming plant sales!  Happy gardening!
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Tucson, AZ 85711

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