What perfect weather for bulb planting! This week at J.R.H.S., the resource kids learned about spring bulbs and how these underground storage organs can only grow outdoors in climates like ours, because they require a long, cold period of dormancy. Together we planted early spring-blooming pink and white tulips (Tulipa Upstar), mid-spring blooming, white daffodils with yellow centres (Narcissi Poeticus Recurvus) and early spring-blooming light purple crocus (Pickwick light purple). Since bulbs like a sunny site in well-drained soil, we found the front garden to be the best planting spot for them (thanks Ms. Cathy for suggesting it!). We just hope that pesky squirrels such as the one seen hiding in the photo above, find enough nuts that they won't bother digging up our flower bulbs during the long, cold winter ahead. If they do get hungry and dig them up, we hope the daffodils (which contain toxic chemicals that repel such critters) will be enough to send squirrels packing. We also hope the early crocus we planted will provide an early source of nectar for bees and that our spring planting will embellish the entrance to J.R.H.S. next spring.
John Rennie is a great high school with an ideal gardening space, called 'Haden Garden' which is untouched by squirrels or other pesky critters because it is protected by four inner brick walls. The walls that surround and protect the garden also create a more moderate climate, allowing it to heat up considerably and probably heightening the climatic zone to at least a 6b, which is a great thing anywhere winter is long and cold as it is here. It'a a great space, an true ecosystem equipped with working pond, composting area, vegetable and perennial gardens, sitting area, several trees and even a beehive. How fortunate I am to be able to work here and take part in this wonderful garden, most of which existed long before I ever came along.
When I'm not consulting,coaching, designing or writing about gardening, I work with special needs kids at John Rennie High School. This year, I have the privilege of teaching some of them about growing plants and creating a garden and I have so much that I want to share with them! This week, we sowed spinach seeds into the resource garden bed, after amending it with a little locally produced compost. We don't usually sow seeds this late in summer, but why not? Spinach is a cool-weather crop and grows quickly. I'll keep you posted with regular blogs to let you know how it turned out, and about other gardening adventures so stay tuned.