Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Back to School

My daughter's best-friend's mother (who knows I'm a gardener and also loves to garden herself) asked me this past spring, if I would be interested in helping her plant a memorial garden dedicated to two teachers who died during the school year.

I was a little hesitant because I already have two yards that keep me plenty busy, but I knew she'd be on her own if I didn't help out. So, we got busy digging up grass, shopping for and planting new butterfly plants. I'm happy to say that our ambitions spilled over onto the existing butterfly gardens as we spruced them up alongside students in the Environmental Club.

Here's a view from outside the chainlink fence looking into their existing butterfly sanctuary. You can see a bit (fence and arbor) of the new memorial garden in the background.

Following our extremely cold temps last winter the passionvines (and most of the other plants) were frozen to the ground. By May, they were back and producing beautiful passion flowers.

Below are a few photos of the new memorial garden. We added lots of butterfly plants including cosmos, pentas, marigolds, lantana, porterweed, as well as mammoth dill for the ladybugs.

We even added a section for the senses. There are a variety of fragrant herbs and textures in these beautiful planters that were in the existing garden but not in use. It took a mob of us to move them into location, even after we emptied the dirt out of them.

The children in the school painted clay tiles (small and large) as a tribute to the teachers and we glued them to several painted posts throughout the garden. One family contributed this wonderful butterfly that was (I think) the perfect addition.

We were oh, so lucky that the birds were messy eaters as their scattered sunflower seeds began to sprout all over the existing butterfly garden. They were a great addition for the kids and we were (again) lucky that they bloomed before the end of the school year. Also, included in this photo is beach sunflowers which also came back with abandon following the freeze and some red fountain grass.

This is a view of the existing garden from inside the chainlink fence.

The children also grow a mixture of flowers and vegetables, some in hydroponic containers and others in raised beds.

This year they planted lots of zinnias, alongside their three-sisters garden (corn, beans & squash).

They enjoyed great success with their peppers, green beans, radishes & tomatoes. The teacher believes it was the "worm juice" she harvested from her wormbins that made the difference. It was a true joy to see the kids picking their harvest and snacking on it as they worked.

So, now that we are into the month of August, you can be assured that I am looking forward to going "back to school" to see how the garden fared through the hot summer, and to help get it ready for the fall planting. I am glad I said "yes" to helping out with this project. It was so much fun and very rewarding!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is quite the inspiration. You ladies did a great work here.

Dani said...

That is such a gorgeous garden! Just brings a smile to my face.

Hildegard said...

A job well done, congratulation to all of you.

Christy said...

I can vouch for how much the children loved it! Your hard work is so appreciated!

Susan said...

Lisa...Thanks, it was a labor of love.

Dani...It definitely brings one to my face to, and hopefully to others.


Christy...Thanks, but it's more fun than hard work :-)

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