First week of school (already?)

Welcome back!  School is officially back in session here at Julian Elementary, and we are looking forward to our best year yet in the school garden.  (Thanks once again to the Sage Garden Project for funding!  You folks are the very best!)

A few cool developments over the summer:

Our pioneer bed is exploding with veggies!

Emily finished up the signage for the native plant trail!

Emily also found an amazing volunteer to build a heavy-duty trellis for our grapes, creating a shady, whimsical tunnel for kids to walk through between the lunch tables and the playground.

In closing, I’d like to revisit the original objective was for this blog: to make a case for school gardens from every possible angle.  Here’s yet another compelling reason for a school garden:

On the first day of school we have an orientation for parents new to the school.  All of our administrators and program directors warmly welcome new families as we explain all of the resources we offer.  I had a few minutes to talk about our garden, and at the end of the meeting, I invited parents to go out for a short tour.

As I was walking around with one of the new families, the mom told me that they had seen the garden on their first visit to the school months ago.  They were won over by many things at our wonderful district but “it was seeing the school garden that finally convinced us that this was the place we wanted our kids to go to school.”

Gardening as a community

One of my favorite things about Master Gardeners is that I’m now part of a gardening community that stretches across the county.  Through this network, I recently read about a sale of a native plant in a San Diego wholesale nursery.  A large-scale landscaping project recently fell through for them, and the nursery ended up with 1,000 California fuschia which they are selling for cheap to the public.  I decided to pick up a few for my house, a couple more for the elementary school garden, and yet a few more for the garden at the junior high.  I put the word out, and one neighbor asked me to pick up 7..another asked for 10….one more asked for 3…..  And so today Elliot and I happily loaded up the van with 35 epilobium canum.

It’s a cool plant because 1) it’s a California native that requires minimal water once established,  2) it’s good for hillsides which are features at both my house and the school garden, and 3)  its beautiful orange flowers attract hummingbirds.  I had fun driving around my town tonight, making my plant deliveries, chatting with friends in the dwindling light of a perfect summer evening, and savoring this sweet example of gardening in community.