It’s been quite a summer, and we’ve been remiss in our blogging duties. Today I want to tell you about something that happened back in May, a story that got buried under vacation, holidays, the quickly growing vegetables, and other hot weather concerns. No more! Time for you to hear about the field trip that some lovely young friends took to our garden on a drizzly Monday afternoon about two months ago.
At our grand opening back in April, we met Caroline Umana. Caroline is involved with the Roots and Branches Charter School in West Baltimore, a recently approved Baltimore City charter school. She’s also a concerned mom who cares about the education of her own son and that of her neighbors’ and friends’ children. She and the other parents active in the school have been trying to make sure that besides receiving a traditionally high-quality education, their kids would get to learn all about the environment, sustainability, and the importance of where their food comes from. The school has a garden, and Caroline wanted the students in the kindergarten, first and second grade classes to see how a larger garden like the Blue Jay’s Perch is run. We were a bit daunted by the request, since the garden had JUST begun producing, and we had never done a tour for a group before, let alone a group of kids. Would we be able to entertain them? Would they learn anything helpful? We weren’t sure, but in line with our mission we decided we had to say yes to any opportunity that could benefit our Baltimore neighbors.
When the kids arrived on the proposed afternoon, we had devised a tour of the most interesting parts of the garden, along with the activity of throwing seed bombs into our perennial patch at the end of their visit. The weather didn’t look like it would cooperate, so we were nervous, but the kids jumped out of the cars looking like they couldn’t care less. At our first “stop” on our tour, the compost pile, we realized what a special and intelligent group of kids we had. They marveled at Audrey turning the smelly compost, and correctly answered questions about the purpose of composting and its components. Leading them through the communal rows was the same, with lots of hands shooting up to ask what vegetables we were seeing, and amazement at the tiny mushrooms that had sprouted up in the damp areas between the rows. Never before or since have I heard a nine-year-old yell, “Oh! I LOVE beets!”
After a visit to the fruit trees came the highlight of the afternoon. Audrey showed our guests how to make seed bombs, helping them pack wildflower seeds into little balls of dirt. With the rain starting to come down, they were getting delightfully muddy, and throwing them onto the perennial bed was a squelching and satisfying experience.
I hope we get to lead more garden tours.