Summer's Bounty

The only significant green space on Perkins Avenue, just east of downtown Cleveland, is immediately across the street from the Cuyahoga SWCD office. Three years ago, our landlord, Mike Stefan, enthusiastically approved of our idea to reimagine the space. The staff planted seven trees and a variety of native plants. In just three years, the space has been transformed into an urban oasis. The mix of trees includes hackberries and buckeyes that are getting tall and busy, a native plant garden that blooms from spring to fall, milkweed that is slowly spreading, and the blackberry bushes that are flourishing. The garden is a perfect respite in the surrounding concrete jungle.

Now that summer is in full swing, it is wonderful to see the full-canopied mulberry tree with berries that are ripe for the picking. The blackberry bushes are growing like crazy and laden with fruit that is about a week away from lusciousness. Birds, butterflies, bees, and a resident groundhog are enjoying this relatively new urban oasis, proving that if you build it, they will come!

So here is an idea to celebrate our individual acts of conservation and to truly enjoy summer’s bounty. Is there anything better than a savory tart created with fresh, juicy tomatoes and the abundant zucchini? Or how about a sweet, zesty lemon shortbread tart with your own special additions of lemon zest or berries? Now is the perfect time to indulge. A link to a tasty, simple recipe that is adaptable to additions like lemon or lime in the crust or berries on the top is below and a savory tart recipe is attached.


Our efforts demonstrate that individual acts of conservation work wonders—no matter if it is a vacant lot, a backyard or a patio. Thank you for pledging allegiance to conservation. Delight in these summer days, stay cool and stay healthy!

Blog author: Jaine Rybka, Director

P.S. Wednesday, July 14 Plain Dealer featured delicious berry recipes!

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