Once February’s unpredictable wet and cold weather departed we have been back out in the garden regularly enjoying the gorgeous spring sunshine and making new discoveries as we plant, propagate, fertilize, compost, harvest, water and so much more.
Students love learning about propagation in the garden – “it’s when you can make a new baby plant from the mommy plant” remarked one 1st grader. This semester we demonstrated how we propagate in different ways via the root, stem and leaf methods using English ivy, aloe vera, geraniums, begonias, kalanchoe, mint and African violets. We used bushel baskets for each grade to plant their cuttings in. Part of being experienced gardeners is watching the weather forecast – so just before spring break we realized we were set to have freezing temperatures again, so I hauled our baskets full of tender cuttings into the shed for the weekend to protect them and now they are thriving beautifully!
This year we are trying a new experiment and planting potatoes in green canvas bags as opposed to the raised beds themselves. They have small flaps at the front of the bag for students to open so we can really see the ‘tuber’ process in action. Oh and of course, one of the most fun things about planting potatoes is getting your hands really really dirty!
“Magic circles” in the garden
Students really enjoyed planting snap pea seeds in what one student described as a ‘magic garden circle’ with 2 or 3 sunflower seeds planted in the middle. Our hope is that as the sunflowers grow tall and strong, the snap peas will wind themselves around the sunflower stalks for support.
Composting and Armstrong hat day
Armstrong students love nothing more than digging in the compost! Local start up company Turn who regularly donate leaves and clippings to our compost pile recently deposited a mountain of coffee grounds which the kids got stuck into working into the existing pile along with newspaper and bags of old grass clippings. The coffee shop aroma could be smelt as far away as Byron Avenue!! Armstrong hat day made the whole activity and subsequent watering sessions even more memorable and fun!
Mint Tea Party
We reprised our successful freshly made mint tea parties from last spring in the garden – which went down very well with students and parent volunteer helpers alike. Delicious!
A heartfelt thank you to Kelly Schorr from PCDLA for landscape bulbs and flowers
Bulbs, annuals and perennials donated by Kelly Schorr at PCDLA in the spring and the fall are so enormously appreciated. They brighten up the entire landscape around Armstrong and the children adore planting them. We have had two public events recently at Armstrong – the dedication of the new auditorium and Grandparent’s day and on both occasions I have heard countless families, students, faculty and visitors remarking on how beautiful the landscape looks. It gives everyone an increased sense of Eagle pride and contributes to the atmosphere of wellbeing and joy that is so consistent with our Armstrong spirit.