Sunflower PermaBlitz

The Sunflower PermaBlitz was a 3 day PermaBlitz of Sunflower housing Co-operative’s front yard. Once covered in invasive weeds, Sunflower Co-op’s entry is now a beautiful native garden.


From Landscape Implementation to Community Cultivation

This past week, a group of Community Cultivators converged on the Sunflower Co-op, an independent housing cooperative in Austin, Texas, to transform a tired old landscape into a community. How did a landscape become a community? Through a simple blend of hard work, playful revelry, and a shared sense of purpose unrivaled in the co-op’s long history.

Today, September 1st, 2010, Sunflower celebrates its 30th birthday and with it, a refreshing facelift. As we age, we tend to let some aspects of ourselves go. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about – an extra chin or two, maybe some love handles, or the ever popular beer belly? In Sunflower’s case, it was an entryway that had long lost its welcoming curb appeal. Invasive nandina had, like a few extra pounds around the hips, multiplied into a burdensome nightmare. Choking out the native species, a weedy mess dominated the landscape, leaving little room to enjoy the sweeping Live Oaks, stately Blue Agave or even recognize the winsome Agarita stationed right by the paved pathway leading up to what was once the Co-op’s main point of entry (now a resident’s bedroom door).

Over the course of 3 evenings, in true PermaBlitz fashion, several residents, a neighbor or two and an impassioned lot of cooperators, cultivators and friends of the co-op came together to contributed a little something of themselves to the space. Some local organizations also deserve recognition for their contributions:

Design~Build~Live provided advice and planning assistance; Wheatsville Co-op graciously donated an entire bale of recycled cardboard for sheet-mulching; and Keep Austin Beautiful offered almost their entire library of tools to the project (making the work much less strenuous for all us humans!) Thanks to these volunteers, the monumental task of: Clearing out a tangled mess of invasives; Digging a luscious rain garden; Creating an earthen berm for water retention; Rebuilding a crumbling retaining wall; Sheet-mulching 800+ square feet of garden space; and Planting an attractive new selection of native plants …all seemed more like a celebration of community than a landscaping project.

So let us continue to celebrate the amazing achievements of our community and raise a glass to everyone who participated (even those who were unable to make it out yet still shared love, support and encouragement vicariously). With the contributions made to this project, Sunflower Co-op saved the entirety of their garden budget (yes, every single plant, every tool, every last shovel of mulch and stone placed was graciously donated by loving friends such as yourself)!

Best of all, the co-op has finally rediscovered some of those shapely curves and sexy lines that it remembers from it’s more youthful days.Happy Birthday Sunflower – we love you!

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