Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kid's Gardening by Arlene Wheeler

Kids’ Gardening
When I’m not enjoying life at Jensens, I’m enjoying teaching kids gardening. As a Garden Coordinator for Winnipeg Harvest, I have been fortunate to be able to attend many classrooms, daycares, churches and other places the past couple of years to teach the ‘Blue Box Gardens’ program (planting corn, beans and squash in a blue recycling bin), a new initiative under the Kids Who Care program. Using the ‘Three Sisters Garden’ as a teaching method, the connection between the land and the community is exemplified. It is a very symbolic garden consisting of Corn, the oldest sister, standing tall in the centre, providing support; Squash, the middle sister growing over the mound, protecting her sisters from weeds and keeping the soil cool and moist with her large leaves and Beans, the youngest sister climbing through the squash and then up the corn to bind all together. Each of the sisters brings and takes a different nutrient from the soil. All the planting is done in a blue recycling box. The program teaches basic container gardening and what plants need to grow. Containers can be easily moved to a sunny spot in the yard or taken with you if you are moving to a different place. You would be amazed at the vegetables that can be grown in a container. At Winnipeg Harvest we have onions, corn, beans, squash, cauliflower, cabbage and many other vegetables growing both in blue recycling bins and raised beds.
Gardening teaches so much to both children and adults alike. Gardening teaches patience, respect of property, a greater respect of all living and growing things and it gives a great sense of pride. Gardening is great for the soul. My friend, Kevin Twomey from T&T Seeds and I were speaking about this a few days ago. Kevin says gardening time is ‘thinking time’, and he’s absolutely right. It’s a peaceful place where we can work on our own, collect our own thoughts, create beauty, grow some vegetables and forget about all the problems of the world. One of the best places to connect with children is in the garden. A garden can be a magical place of mystery and wonder and this leads to knowledge. Children will blossom right along with the flowers when they are included in ongoing garden projects. Sign up today for one of our Saturday Family Day gardening classes at Winnipeg Harvest. Bring the family for half hour to an hour session. If you are unable to come down on a Saturday and you are part of a daycare, church group or any other group or club and would like me to come out to teach our program, call Winnpeg Harvest and we’ll arrange a time. We’ll have some fun and you will soon see what can be grown in a container! There is no charge for any of our programs!

Riddle for kids – Why do potatoes make good detectives?????

Answer – Because they have a lot of eyes!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Monday, July 04, 2011

Freckles, Religious Radish and Texas Parking Lot by Arlene Wheeler

“What does that have to do with plants and gardening”?, you say.

I had the opportunity on Saturday to take a walk through the beautiful English Gardens at Assiniboine Park. If you haven’t done so in a while, now is the time! Take a look at some of the plants they have grouped together and how fantastic they look. Some of the combinations are really pleasing to the eye. It will give you some great ideas for your planters and gardens for next year. Take a pen and paper to make some notes. The bright orange poppies planted in front of the white cascading blooms of the Bridal Wreath Spirea are always one of my favourite combinations and the peonies in front of the Conservatory are breathtaking. The staff at the park has given us an amazing display of beauty.
Freckles, Religious Radish and Texas Parking Lot are actually names of different varieties of Coleus. Freckles, with its rusty orange leaves splashed with a gold/yellow is planted with a beautiful orange impatiens and next to a new colour of impatiens that is light peach with a bright orange splash on each petal. What a beautiful combination! In another area they had interspersed Religious Radish Coleus, a Coleus with a great touch of a raspberry colour, together with a variegated Purple Fountain Grass (Pennisetum X Advena) called Fireworks. Another interesting and beautiful combination! In the Leo Mol garden, you will find the Texas Lot Parking Lot Coleus. What interesting names for some great new Coleus! Many of the newer varieties of Coleus tolerate a lot of sun, not like the older varieties. Coleus can be grown indoors as a houseplant through the winter and you will be able to start many plants from one mature Coleus plant. At Jensen’s, we still have some beautiful containers with some great looking Coleus that you can grow on for many months to come and at the end of the season, you can take them in and enjoy them indoors through the winter!
If we want peace, we have to be peaceful, if we want Paradise, we have to grow it!!!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 1 Comments