- Frederick Douglass
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Spring in Garden
We have completed the "Happy Table Sitting Stone Garden." This small garden has a Japanese influence that comes from the use of dwarf mondo grass and four large seating stones placed around a small oval locust table. This is a contemplative garden conducive to small projects, reading, having tea, or just sitting while observing the garden. It has been placed in an area that receives a good deal of sun to warm the rocks. The table is called the "Happy Table" for the two smiley faces painted on either end of it. The dwarf mondo grass is popular in Japan. It gets no higher than it is now. It will fill in to become a thick soft mat that never needs cutting, and it will take light foot traffic once established. The post that the honey locust table top is mounted on is black locust. Both pieces are of native trees that are very rot resistant and should last many decades. The honey locust has a salmon colored tint to it, while the black locust has a light chocolate color as the wood ages. The rocks and the mondo grass with its undulating appearance make this a serene space.
We have a new tumble composter next to the shed. The upper grades will be researching how to use the composter and prepare for use in the Fall.
There is a new bird house at the South end of the large table pad. The large Amish bird house has ten nesting boxes in it. It will attract small birds such as wrens, sparrows, finches and maybe chickadees. The openings are too small for larger birds like cardinals or bluejays. It is mounted on a 12 foot long western red cedar post so that it is visible from the second story of the school. It is hoped that the children will identify the birds that come to the bird house and the garden and observe their eating and nesting habits and behavior.
The new "Shady Native Garden" is now in the NE corner of the courtyard by the library. The Shady Native Garden features woodland plants in a natural setting. The tree that is the centerpiece is a Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboretum, which is sometimes called a Lily-of-the-valley tree because it's blooms look much like lily-of-the-valley flowers. Its flowers produce an abundance of nectar that bees make into a delicious honey. This tree is especially attractive in the spring when it is in bloom and again in the fall when its leaves turn lovely shades of yellow and orange. It is a mid-size tree, so it will not over-grow the area in which it lives. Around the tree and throughout this little garden are planted a variety of native ferns, to include Cinnamon and Christmas ferns, Southern Shield Fern, and the small Hay Scented Fern. Coral Bell, Heuchera, have been planted toward the left front corner that gets a bit more sun. Other plants will be added as they are collected - things like Virginia Blue Bells, Blood Root, Sweet Woodruff, and May Apples. The rocks placed throughout the garden give it a natural woodland look, but more importantly they help retain moisture to limit the need to water, and they provide some protection to the plants and their roots. This garden is a work in progress.
There are four new herb planters made out of Western Red Cedar and created by Pop. Pop has placed one on each corner of the large paved area in the center of the garden. They have been planted by Mrs. Miller's 2nd grade class with a large variety of culinary herbs. Each plant has a label to identify it.
The Bean Trellis is planted this year with Hyacinth Beans on each corner and Scarlet Runner Beans in between. These plants are particularly attractive to hummingbirds and other nectar feeders. They should grow 8 to 10 feet tall. The 'Starry Night' rose at the center will get larger as it gets older. The daffodils will soon yellow and go dormant for the summer. Already dormant are saffron crocus around the edges that will bloom this fall. The daffodil foliage must be left until it turns yellow, so the bulbs can develop for next year. Once the foliage is yellow, it can be cut back. Right across from the Bean Trellis next to the patio is a new fig tree donated by Raza's family in Mrs. Cunningham's Kindergarten class.