The Harrington Park HSA sponsors the Harrington Park School Garden Club and budgets $1500 annually for garden upkeep. Teachers Ms. Howell and Ms. Denbeaux are co-advisers of the Club. Meetings were held regularly throughout the year, on Friday mornings before school and on Monday and Wednesday at lunchtime.
On average, about 12-15 students attended each meeting. Students from 1st – 5th grade participated, although most of the members were in 3rd -5th grades. The fifth graders have taken leadership roles in the group. There are about 20-25 regular Garden Club members.
The most recent spring activities included readying the garden beds for planting, pruning and transplanting raspberries, composting, and planting seeds and plants. The students also used their butterfly farm to hatch butterflies and then released the butterflies into the courtyard, which has a bed of special flowering plants that attract and support butterflies. Additionally, during the spring, the Garden Club members helped two first grade Daisy Troops plant flowers around the fruit trees in the courtyard. This served the dual purpose of making the courtyard look nice while protecting the trunks of the young fruit trees. Additional flower and edible plantings were made to continue to improve the looks of the courtyard.
During the school year, the Garden Club did some special activities. In the fall, the student members made Garden People out of garden materials and Halloween costumes. For the winter holidays, they made holiday wreaths out of natural materials. They also tried making grass head potato people—their own version of Chia Pets! In March, students started herbs which grew inside under grow lights.
The garden beds and fruit trees are growing beautifully, but need attention and for the produce to be picked. The Harrington Park HSA has approved the additional summer hours. Last year a summer Garden Club met; Ms. Howell and Ms. Denbeaux have been planning an expanded program for the summer of 2013. The advisers planned to hold one meeting a week that will last about 2 hours (>> meeting on Thursdays, midday, through July). During this time they planned to do regular garden upkeep and an additional project. Some of the ideas they are working on include building new framed beds, building a coldframe, painting rocks to use as edging around the trees and the raspberry beds, planting potatoes in a unique way, transplanting strawberries and more. Other materials that have been purchased for the garden include tomato cages, straw and mulch. Also, the Club plans to have lunch in the garden which may include some cooking depending on what is ripe. As you can see the Garden Club keeps growing and growing!
Information from Theresa Hazelton, immediate past president HSA and Green Team member; photos taken by Lynn and Anne Lander, Green Team (7/11/13)