Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The power of Squidoo

Ohme, who has been a constant, unwavering supporter of the Memory Garden, has a fabulous squidoo lens about our progress and history. Check it out here
There are some fabulous comments and there have been visitors from all over the world. A really neat feature is her ability to generate Memory Garden momentos which you can buy on-line and a portion of the profits comes to the Garden- how cool is that! I have my eye on a snazzy water-bottle with the Memory Garden logo on and perhaps all my friends might get Memory Garden bags for Christmas - but shhhhh, don't tell!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Garden volunteer program announced ...

The Growing Garden

Greetings PES family -

We are pleased to announce that initial construction phase of the Memory Garden is complete! Each grade is now responsible for an garden area based on their specific state standards. Now it is time to move forward and use this exciting new space and we need your help!

Earth Explorers is a volunteer-run program to enable students to use the Garden as a classroom space. Environmentally based education has been shown to produce gains for students in science, social studies, language arts and mathematics. By engaging in hands-on investigations of the natural world students develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking and analysis. By connecting children to the natural world and real world activities, they improve in self-esteem and self-confidence. We want this for our children!

Can you help us with any of the following?

Earth Guardians : volunteers who support the physical development and growth of the garden. Green fingers are not a requirement! While students will be actively engaged in planting and growing in the garden, volunteers support this process. This is particularly true during the summer months when crops and produce planted in the spring will become a valuable teaching tool at the beginning of the school year. We hope to have two Earth Guardians for each grade. Volunteers attend a one hour orientation session. Volunteer service can take place outside school hours.

Earth Guides : volunteers who help provide outdoor education to our students through active engagement in well designed, nationally recognized curriculum. Earth Guides do not need any specialized knowledge or skills. Only curiosity, an appreciation for the natural world, and a desire to help children learn. Our initial goal is to meet with all students once a season for an hour long on-site field trip. Volunteers attend a two hour training session at the beginning of the school year, or beginning of the calendar new year. Volunteers need to be available during school hours.

Earth Angels provide in-kind and monetary donations to the Garden We are very lucky to have an excellent start to our garden. Family, friends, community businesses, and local granting agencies have provided substantial suppor to get us to this point. However, there are some items that would enhance the garden's potential for education, but which lie outside the school budget.

Volunteer Sign Up Sheet

Please sign and return to your child's teacher.

  • Name:

  • Phone:

  • Email:

Call or email Sue for more information: 646-9973 / carowatts@gmail.com

  • Earth Guardian - I am available- days & times

  • Earth Guide - I am interested in being a guide for grade (s) :

  • Please check one or more

5K – Sensory Garden

Sensory Walks

2nd – Butterfly Garden

Habitats: Monarch Watch

4th– Columbian Exchange

Social Studies Programs

1st – Rainbow Garden

Seasonal planting and growing activities.

3rd– Carolina Fence Grdn

Habitat: Cornell Feeder Watch.

5th Grade – Aquatic Life

Project Wild - Aquatic

6th Grade -Circle Grdn

Project Wild.

  • EarthAngel

I would like to donate

I would like to purchase

Magnifying lens (25) - $30.00

Bird Bath $25 each


Clipboards (25) - $125

Sit-upons – (25) - $125

Bird Feeders $15 each

Plants – Please think of us when you divide your perennials this winter.

Bug box (10) - $20

Bird House $15 each

Small trees/shrubs

Butterfly nets (5) - $75

Bird seed $10

General fund - maintenance

Binoculars (6) - $120

We are also looking for sections of trees to be used as seating and as teaching tools. If you have recently felled a tree, please think of us.

This is only a partial list and prices are approximate.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

There is a pond!!!!

I can't believe it - there is now a pond for the 5th and 6th grades to study aquatic life! It was an amazing thing to watch. Five or six students from Dr. Dobbins class and about 70 of the most excited PES students I have ever seen. The students worked together to carry landscape timbers from the truck to the site, volunteered extremely enthusiastically to dig and generally had a grand time! . I didn't get to watch the whole process - I was planting bulbs with a first grade class - but it was incredible. In less than 2 hours there was a pond there - filled with water and ready to go. Pictures will follow and more details about the donating class but for right now THANK YOU -
Clemson students and Dr. Dobbins.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Magical moments

I haven't been up in the garden for several weeks because of sickness, weather and such - but yesterday I got to go and check out progress. Things were doing quite well - perennials blooming, annuals setting seed and the cool weather vegetables looking happy. I was out there about 5 minutes and about six young women came running up to me- "Can we help? Can we help?" I was a bit at a loss cause I was just piddling. "How about the bird feeders?" they asked and went off to fil them straight away. While they were doing that I dug up some strawberries that had crept from their pots into what will be the pond. Imagine a strawberry plant in a hunk of Carolina clay - not so appealing. Here was there unanimous response- "Can I hold it?" They almost reverentially passed it down the line. Magic.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Learning more ...

Last week I was fortunate enough to go to an Outdoor Classroom Symposium. I learned a great deal - not least that our project is moving along really well. We have some key problems - which are shared by many school gardens -
1. Encouraging teachers to take their students outside to teach.
2. Providing for on-going maintenance of the garden.
3. Ensuring the survival of the garden over the summer.

The conference has inspired me to think concretely about these issues - so look for some new development in the near future. If y'all have any ideas let me know.

Community Support

Community support is essential to our garden. Nancy Hellams has done a wonderful job of supporting this project from it's inception and now has created a lense on Squidoo about the project- check it out.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Garden Workday Cancelled

Due to inclement weather this work day will be canceled.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Next Workday

Next workday is Saturday, October 10th from 9-noon.
Bench installation and more!

These are our two new additions to the Garden: a shed and twelve enormously heavy but beautiful concrete benches.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So exciting!

If you get a chance check out the Memory Garden. There is now a shed to store all our tools and supplies. Thank you Lowes - again!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Meeting - Please spread the word!

All those who are interested in the development of the Memory Garden are invited to attend a meeting on Monday, August 31 at 6pm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer time ...

While the students have been enjoying their summer the garden has been slowly growing. I haven't tended it as well as it should have been, but there is progress. It is clear that other parents have been secretly loving the garden. Mulch has been organized, a wheel barrow and a hose magically appeared - these signs of other caretakers has been very reassuring.

Bee in the color garden

The first grade color wheel has a good beginning. Many of the seeds the students sowed have matured into beautiful plants. They were particularly successful with marigolds and green zinnia.
There are three huge plants that I think are probably weeds but I am waiting to see what happens. Throughout this garden Morning Glories have entwined themselves without regard to our rainbow color scheme - pink in the red- but they are quite wonderful too. This garden attracts many pollinators. Today the bees were out in force - in particular they love the yellow and red marigolds.

The fourth grade Columbian Exchange Garden has grown despite poor soil and little attention. The picture on the left shows (from front to back) the plants that reshaped European culture, the Three Sisters Garden, a native American Garden and the African-American Garden.

We have tomatoes and corn ripening in the first two beds. I the latter bed there are three things I have never grown before: sesame, okra and indigo.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

First harvest.

When we constructed the first raised beds some kids and I planted garlic.
Here is our first harvest.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The amazing Killdeer

Since I started getting involved in the garden I have noticed the distinctive sounds and sights of the Killdeer. The high, piercing kill-deer call frequently echoes off the walls of the school and periodically I see the brown and white bird scurrying across the parking lot or grass. Now the Killdeer has become much more prominent in the world of the Memory Garden. The Killdeer has made a nest in the center of the garden under one of the Service Berry Trees. True to form it's not much of a nest, just a shallow depression in the mulch, but it had two eggs in it.

When we first spotted the bird on the nest I was with a rambunctious group of 5th grades and a few quiet 3rd graders. As I pointed out the bird they all became instantly quiet and even awestruck by the sight of the Momma bird slightly puffed up to make herself look bigger - but who did not budge as 5 or 6 large animals gazed at her.
On Saturday we had a work day and she was much more agitated. Even though there were few workers she stayed away from the nest and called angrily from the top of the classrooms. We tried to be careful but for most of the time (4 hours) the eggs laid uncovered on the ground. I had noticed three eggs now and was worried about them being exposed for such a long period of time. I returned later in the afternoon to collect my tools - to find only two eggs and no sign of the other - I am perplexed.

To find out more about Killdeer check out Cornell University's Bird Lab http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Killdeer/id

Some things I found out -
1. Killdeer lay their eggs over time- but the embryo doesn't start developing until the parent sits on the eggs and begins to incubate them. This made me more hopeful about the eggs being unattended.
2. Killdeer babies come of the egg fully developed and ready to roll - they have to the nest is on the ground!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Work Days

May 23, 9-12
May 30, 9-12

Bring tools and laughter

Some photos from the Garden - early May

The 2nd Grade Butterfly Garden - newly laid path.

15 Bean Soup Mix- Ms. Wicker's Kindergarten Class.

Strawberries = 4K

Friday, May 15, 2009

Oh, I wish I had my camera.

Today, as I was waiting on the 5th and 6th grade students, I started working on the Color Garden. At once I was swamped with offers of help. As we worked, a golden brown butterfly came up to visit the Lantana. It was wonderful to see the kids marveling over the length of the proboscis and how the butterfly rolled it up. They discussed the nectar and talked about the proboscis being hollow like a straw -- what a great time! I so wished I had my camera to capture this magical moment.

We purchased two garden wagons this week and boy did they get a work out today. They made hauling dirt, mulch and trash much easier and they are perfectly sized for kids. They tip which makes dumping things a breeze.

Once the 5th and 6th graders arrived things got crazy. They have been testing all week (the PASS test) and were so relieved to be done for the week. I set the 5th grade to weeding a very solid clay spot and they went at it like gangbusters. This will be the shadier side bed flanking the center circle. Powell Hickman planted Lantana in the sunny side bed. Powell and Lynne Merchant were both great at channeling the rambunctious energy into positive progress!! The 6th grade planted a pizza garden. We were able to entrance some of the students with the scent of basil - they planted 3 different kinds. They also planted some oregano and marigolds. I left Lynne planting some other herbs and tomatoes to complete the pizza ingredients.

Now we just need some nice steady rain over the weekend to water everything in!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rain, rain - thank you!!

This has been the rainiest April/May I can remember. Slowly but surely the beds are taking shape in the garden. The first grade grew a plethora and multitude (!) of flowers from seed - from red carnations, gomphrena and red marigolds (really) through green zinnia to teeny tiny violets. They have the color wheel garden - which is now a rainbow garden - kind of (more later on this). The rain has relieved me from having to go up every day to water, for which I am thankful. Plus, everything looks healthy!!

Although the children have wonderful green thumbs, starting from seed was not perhaps the best way to go since the seedlings are so tiny and fragile and need lots of TLC. Planting out with the first grade was a trip - since a whole class came out at once and I wasn't quite ready. Then we found out we had used the wrong soil and were planting in very thin solid clay, not top soil. On top of that eighteen kids working at once and me not being quite together made for a frantic (but enjoyable) half hour! I think some of the seedlings may have been mixed up so our plan of red, orange, yellow, red, green, blue, indigo and violet may not be intact. Added to this the fact I had a very hard time deciding on blue, indigo and violet. All in all gardener's serendipity will reign and it will be beautiful.

It was wonderful to go out to plant with the first grade and then again with the fourth grade and each time be mobbed by children from other grades. "What are you doing?" "Can we help?" "Can I do that? " From planting seedlings to ferrying soil to top up a bed, I have had numerous willing accomplices. I was extremely impressed when the wheelbarrow broke and some second and third graders (I think) calmly up-ended it and tried to fix it, then when that didn't work they clubbed together to carry it full of soil to our destination!

Two fourth grade classes have begun work on the Columbian Exchange beds. Being a historian by training this garden is close to my heart. Ms. Few's class planted peppers and tomatoes, plants from the New World that revolutionized the cuisine of the Old. Can you imagine life without pizza or spaghetti? Neither was possible without the spread of new world plants to the old world. I would like to start potatoes with them too - before European explorers came to the America's Irish people had never seen a potato! The potatoes in my garden are up so I may have missed the boat on that one!

The second bed in this group is the Native American garden. Since this area in upstate South Carolina was home to the Cherokee they have become the focus of this bed. Karen Hall, a lecturer at Clemson University who specializes in plants and Cherokee culture, has been advising and supporting us. Thank you Karen!! She introduced us to ramps and gave us some flint corn from the Cherokee to plant. We planted corn in hills in the four cardinal directions (NSEW) and less than a week later the corn is up!! Next we'll get beans and pumpkins into the mounds. The third bed will have okra, sesame and indigo - plants that were/are important to African-Americans in South Carolina.

What else to tell you. Since it is spring everything is coming to life. The kindergarten bed has beautiful purple alliums in flower and a purple flowering sage. This week Ms. Wicker's class planted purple allysum and snapdragons in one of the beds. The beans Ms. Wicker's class planted for a science experiment are now flowering!! The 4K strawberries are getting a blush on them - I went by their classroom to tell them and they were very excited!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A school is supported by dedicated families!

Many family groups have helped out in the Memory Garden over the years. I have only witnessed two work days so here's a smattering of family groups from the past work day. Not everyone is here. Just know, everyone who worked was truly appreciated!
To the left: the Liverright family worked very hard. Mom in the background in blue/purple.

The Shaffers:
Left: Josh and Sophie
Right: Soleil helps out with assembling a bird feeder pole.
I love this picture as they puzzle through the instructions together.
I think the other two children are Sydney Gambrell and possible Chance or Eddie Liverright.
The other two gardens with families working. Left the second grade Butterfly Garden- Kris Frady with Sydney and Angela Gambrell.

The fifth grade want a pond and worked very hard towards that end.
L to R: Carolyn and Daniel Perry, Hunter the youngest and most patient volunteer (in arms); Kristie M. and Kristie Liverright, Tina Scott and Bobby Brockman.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Next Work Day!

The next work day will be April 18th, 9-12.

Come and help us haul mulch and dirt - it will be fun! Really!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A stunningly successful work day!!

We had an outstanding turn out for the Memory Garden workday. More than fifteen faculty and staff attended and almost sixty parents and children. Everyone worked very, very hard. It was amazing to see the transformation and we accomplished way more than I anticipated. In addition to finishing gardens for the First and Fourth Grades every garden got some TLC. We will be ready to plant, plant, plant in April.

First Grade Color Wheel Garden. I am so excited about this garden - it is a rainbow shape that will be planted with all the colors of the rainbow. We planted seeds in Mrs. Herstine's and Mrs. Gourdin's class last week to further this project. We had a great time! The seeds are up already- after a week.

They began by laying gravel on landscape cloth. Lots and lots of gravel ...

Then mulch was spread in the center and soil on the outside. The finishing touches were added.

This garden was constructed by Cat and Grace Ammons, Jane Herstine, Artrice Kinnard, Amy Batson, Josh Shaffer, Wade King and Rodney Brooks.

The Fourth Grade Columbian Exchange Garden.

This garden is a series of three raised beds, designed to reflect the community this work day these beds were mulched by the dedicated Mrs. Cashion and Miss. Wicker - a study in American Gothic!

garden beds completed last year. Both gardens flank the central circle. During

The Fourth Grade social studies standards explore the transportation of people, crops and diseases between the Old and New World. This Garden will feature a Native American Three Sisters Garden- corn, beans and squash; an African Garden including peanuts, okra, and sesame; and a European Garden in which plants that revolutioniszed Europe will be showcased: potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries.

Lauren Sandy and Neil Calkin building the raised beds.

The final product mulched beautifully by Vicki Crawford and Matt Gambrell.

More to follow

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Join us for a Garden Meeting March 12, 6pm

Garden planning meeting at Pendleton Elementary. Please join us!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Progress

Ms. Wicker's 5K class started herbs and flowers for the Memory Garden. We sowed a flat with dill, parsley, catnip, chamomile and snapdragons. Apparently all the children have green fingers since this was the result.

On Friday I met Ms.Kajal's adorable 4K class. We planted three large planters with strawberries. They did an excellent job. The lovely rain is now watering in the plants.

We purchased seven sets of child sized trowels which we used to plant the strawberries on Friday.

Mrs. Frady's second grade class made a video for Project Orange Thumbsm, a grant program offered by Fiskars. Within U.S. and Canada twenty (20) grant recipients will be selected. Each will receive up to $1,500 in Fiskars garden tools and up to $1,000.00 in gardening-related materials (i.e. green goods). Keep your fingers crossed ...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Other funders

Significant support has been received for the development of this project from Dr. Brenda Vander May and Clemson University's Landscapes for Learning Initiative. Visit their website here.

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

School District 4 honored for Beautification

Pendleton Elementary's Memory Garden was honored yesterday by Anderson County's Keep America Beautiful Organization. The Memory Garden was acknowledged as an integral part of beautification by a number of schools in Anderson Schoool District 4.

Monday, February 16, 2009

PTO Social and Garden Meeting

Tonight was a wonderful meeting celebrating the success of the Memory Garden and all the hardworking people involved in its establishment.

Photo: Lynn Merchant
From left to right: Mr. Herb Knox from Lowes in Anderson presented a grant check for $3500 to PTO head, Janice Lee and Pendleton Elementary School Principal , Gwen Massey, and Sue Watts, school volunteer.

Upcoming work days
- Saturday 21st March
- Saturday 18th April

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Call to action!

Greetings to all Pendleton residents!
I am starting this blog to encourage you to participate in a wonderful project at Pendleton Elementary School: The Memory Garden.

We envision the Memory Garden as a sustainable, organic habitat and a learning laboratory for this school. The garden is located between two classroom wings- the space is visible to and accessible from the classrooms lining the space. On a daily basis students will be able to monitor growth and change in the garden. More than any other place in a school an outdoor classroom nurtures environmental awareness in children. As they play and work outside they learn about the beauty and importance of the natural world. By planting,weeding, harvesting, feeding the birds and providing a habitat for butterflies and other insects, children are gently drawn into the cycle of nature.

This blog will be a place to monitor the progress of the garden but also to become involved. For any project like this to succeed we need the involvement of the wider community. We have recently received a grant from Lowes and look forward to the transformations this money will facilitate. You can help as we go forward with this project.

Join us for a PTO Social and Celebration at the school on February 16th at 6pm. A representative of Lowes will formally present the grant check to the school. Immediately following at 7pm there will be an organizational meeting of anyone interested in helping the garden grow.

Things we need:
Garden tools (child sized)
Bird houses, feeders, baths
Garden shed - for storage
Cuttings from your favorite plants.
Seeds & seed starting equipment.
Your help on our monthly work days - to be announced.