The IslandWood garden welcomes all students with wide open arms, always ready to nurture and guide. The garden’s warm welcome is felt in its winding paths and low lying beds, in its generous ability to feed us all year round, and when students become experts on the plants and pollinators that fill the garden with life.
Not long ago, I was reminded by one of our SOP students that “seeds are life just waiting to start.” Her words prompted me to think deeply and differently about one of our garden practices—seed saving.
The kitchen and the garden at IslandWood are longtime friends and neighbors. Like good friends, they have a lot in common, such as a passion for good food and an affinity for manual labor. As neighbors, one need only cross a small gravel lot and a skinny road to pay a visit.
The kale was in bloom, masses of tiny yellow flowers hoovering over the long-legged plants. The petals obscured the children’s faces. Curious hands disappeared into their midst and then reappeared with pinches of flowers.
Last winter holds the remarkable distinction of being the wettest winter ever recorded in Seattle. The rains were indeed epic. Like all gardeners, we worried about what this would mean for the health of our plants. Some seemed unfazed by the seemingly endless rain. A few even performed better than usual.
When visitors walk into the garden classroom, they usually remark that it feels like a peaceful, happy place. And it is. Except that like any garden, the work needed to maintain it is constant and sometimes overwhelming.
Getting kids to eat their veggies is a familiar struggle. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people of all ages to be wary of trying new foods—particularly vegetables. But knowing how healthy it is to have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, the question remains for parents and educators: how to get kids to eat their veggies?
“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.”
After much planning, our garden construction project is finally underway! The garden team has been preparing for the impact to our teaching space for many months.
A seed, with all of its beauty and mystery, is so much more than a mere object: it is the physical embodiment of a dream. For every time we plant a seed we are planning for a future harvest. Seeds can carry us into dreams of future meals made with fresh food, and memories of seasons past.
“What’s in that box over there?” asked a curious young student. “Oooh, is that a beehive?” asked another with much enthusiasm. “You have bees?” another student said with wary apprehension. The team had barely entered the garden when I was peppered with these questions.
When the first hardy plants emerge from cold winter soils, gardeners celebrate! Not only is the color green wonderful to see after months of looking at bare earth, but these early sprouts also signal fresh, delicious food. After a long winter, our bodies are especially ready for the nourishment that comes from locally grown vegetables.
Pi Day is an annual celebration of one of our most famous irrational numbers: pi. March 14th (3/14) is the designated holiday, since 3.14 are the first three digits of pi. And as pi rhymes with pie, it’s only fitting to celebrate with a snack!
Happiness held is the seed;
Happiness shared is the flower.
On cold January days when frost glistens on the tips of spent summer flowers, and the frozen ground crunches beneath your feet, the garden is alive with birds! They haven’t donned their spring mating colors just yet, nor have they started their spring songs, but they are very active in their search for food.