The Teaching Garden started in 2000 as a Plant a Row vegetable garden to feed the hungry. Around 2007 the public was invited to come out for events at the garden such as “Spring Fling” and “Saturday in the Garden” programs. So the basic garden that began as a vegetable garden now has seventeen distinct theme beds and eight vegetable beds designed to teach the public how to grow all kinds of different plants. The garden keep evolving. The Master Gardener Volunteers who are in charge of the various garden beds are looking ahead to improve/renovate their gardens for next year. Some exciting thoughts and plans are in the works.
One of the plans, suggested by Allan, is to have a raised bed that will be 3-4 feet high that will be handicap accessible. This will allow people who are in wheelchairs the pleasure of gardening. What a wonderful idea! This bed is planned to be near the Memorial Garden.
This space may become the handicap accessible bed.
The Mailbox bed will be redesigned by Lynne, the new coordinator for this area. She was already hard at work removing irises and other plants that she knew she did not want there anymore. Those plants will overwinter and be sold at the spring Plant Sale.
Also to be renovated is the Four Seasons garden where two trees will be removed, a Red Twig Dogwood and a Witch Hazel. New stepping stones are planned for this area. Care keepers of the other beds will thin and prune back plants and add new plants they would think would be fun in their gardens and add to the diversity of plants which will invite more pollinators.
Unfortunately the Children’s Garden has been battling soil disease. More pots will be used on raised stands to give the soil a chance to recover.
The Fairy Garden, always magical, will add new annuals and spring bulbs. The Drought Tolerant Garden had a problem with mites in their coneflowers. These affected plants were cut, placed in bags and trashed. You never want to compost diseased materials. The Mock Orange tree had a rejuvenation pruning, removing 1/3rd, leaving 2/3rds. This winter another third will be removed. The plan is to rejuvenate each year and to keep it more youthful. The Herb Garden has a new coordinator, Cheryl. One thing on their to-do list is to rebuild the rock wall next fall.
The wall is a focal point with various herbs growing out of the nooks and crannies. The Shrub Bed did well but the coordinators are thinking of removing the Buckthorn because the Japanese beetles loved it and were a problem this summer. The Native Bed, under the care of Jannell and Karen, reported a bumper crop of monarchs this year.
Monarch butterfly enjoying the butterfly bush.
The Joe Pye weed did not do well and may need to be rejuvenated – dug and divided and they plan to rework the old mint bed. The Red, White and Blue garden is having a hard time coordinating plants to bloom so there is color in the bed at all times. Winter is the time to plan on getting the right plants to do the job and have those splashes of color. The Woodland Garden plans on adding more ferns which is the right plant for a shady garden. The White Garden did well this year especially with the dahlias Nancy planted. She’s already planning to add a light green coleus to the garden next year.
The Cooks’ Garden is planning a Global Garden with different, unusual species of herbs than the typical ones we’re used to. How exciting! Strawberries will be moved to a raised bed. Harriet reported the pumpkins were a BIG hit and more different kinds will be planted as well as more assorted sunflowers.
Plant signs lasted two years in the elements and will be replaced.
Signage is helpful especially if you see what you like and wish to have the same plant in your own garden. Knowing what the botanical and common name of a plant helps when shopping at a nursery or through a catalog. Looking through various garden catalogs during the winter is a popular hobby of gardeners! You can look back at the various Teaching Garden blog pages and see pictures of the plants used in the garden along with their picture. Start dreaming and planning!