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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Garden Friends

The Eyed Elater is a wonderful garden friend recently seen at the
Shalom Teaching Garden. The 'click bug' has false eyes to confuse predators and the ability to flex the elongated shield on its back in such a way that it produces a loud click and creates a force that propells the bug several inches away from the spot it was sitting.
These facts would make the Eyed Elator an entertaining friend, but the click bug is a great help in the garden because it eats large amounts of aphids and larvae that would munch away our garden plants. We were very happy to see that the click bug has made the Shalom Teaching Garden it's home!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Garden Hero

One of the joys of a teaching garden is the impact it has on young people. Many of the lessons in the garden are planned, but just as many happen in surprising and unexpected ways.

This past weekend our Shalom Teaching Garden was vandalized. The beautiful Star of David bed had most of its gorgeous strawberries, basil and lush herbs ripped out and strewn about the park. It was a harsh reminder on Monday morning that not all people are as willing to embrace and care for the garden's potential.

I walked my kindergarten students out at morning recess and they helped me search for and retrieve missing plants. Like mini-CSI partners they tried to imagine what happened and why anyone would harm a garden in a park...especially one they worked hard to create, build and plant in. Why would someone with footprints that big do something so mean? One student placed her hand on my shoulder as I was replanting a wilted strawberry plant and said "I feel so bad because I know how hard you worked on the garden". If only her incredible five year old compassion could be shared with the perpetrators.

Later today I had a phone text from a parent who's son (grinning ear to ear in the above picture) was struggling after school to make sense of the senseless. It was he who during the earnest but ultimately fruitless search for the remaining plants stated "well, maybe they needed the plant more than we did". Again....Wow...wisdom and compassion in the garden from a recently turned five year old. This same little guy and his mom took the above picture for me at a local nursery where they went after school today to purchase replacement plants for the Star of David garden bed.

Shhhh....it's supposed to be a secret. Tomorrow morning when he scampers in with these beauties it will be hard not to weep with pride! As usual the student has become the teacher.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Waking up the ShalomTeaching Garden for 2011

Spring has arrived at long last in Hamilton, Ontario and the May 24 weekend is nearly here. It's now time to move forward with our many ambitious plans for the Shalom Teaching Garden in its second year.
This year we will rearrange our straw bale beds to make room for some new additions. The 'Garden of Sages' is a Star of David raised bed containing fragrant plants suitable for Havdallah b'samim. We hope to complete this beautiful addition to our garden by mid June 2011. An herb spiral bed will also be created as part of our garden. Vegetable plants will grow in our strawbale beds again this year, with the produce being donated to our local food banks.
We need your help to make it all happen!
Considering the following ideas:
  • volunteer to water the garden one day a week throughout the summer months (we have subs in case you can't make it)
  • bring a potted herb or vegetable plant to the Temple office for the Shalom Teaching Garden
  • share a plant from your garden (sages, ornamental grasses, berry plants
  • donate a bag of soil and a bag of compost (the perfect mix for our beds) or the financial equivalent (donations to TAS Social Action Committee)
  • help us build a double compost bin from chicken wire and wooden flats
  • contribute a spade or rake
  • bring us the push mower you spotted at a garage sale
  • let us reuse the garden shed you are replacing
  • visit the garden and give the plants some love!
We look forward to growing with your help...
see you in the Garden!