[gardeners] In the kids garden on Friday

George Shirley (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sat, 08 May 1999 17:12:50 -0500

Miz Anne and I went to the school where my daughter teaches on Friday
for a dedication ceremony. Each grade at the elementary school had a
garden block, 4X8 raised, and all but one were a-bloom, a-buzzin', and
a-growin'. The one was the only male teacher there and his class hadn't
planted anything as yet. We were so jealous, those kids had tomatoes
ripening, squash ripening, and corn making ears. The area where the
gardens are is nicely landscaped now, a flagstone patio with rustic
cedar benches in several sizes (little people to big people), a
fountain, a pond, and a dry creek bed with a nice cedar bridge crossing
it. All of the areas are now used as teaching tools by the teachers. The
larger area is a far cry from the two embankments the daughter and her
classes started with two years ago.

She has managed to get almost $20K in grants plus gifts of plants,
seeds, tools, etc. in that two year period and the county Improvement
District announced another grant of some 10K while we were there. The
amazing thing is that there has been absolutely NO vandalism in the two
year period.

Miz Anne and I felt right proud introducing ourselves as Ms Merrie's
parents and being congratulated on such a smart and attractive daughter.
There were 20 or 30 politicians and school administrators there but the
real hit was the kids from Ms Merrie's pre-K class. They acted as our
guides to the gardens and had brought out a huge cardboard box they had
painted and decorated for us all to play in. The kids even put a beanbag
chair in the box so the "old people" would have a place to sit.

I was moved to tears by both my daughter's accomplishments and by the
memorial plaques for the pre-k kids who died during the time the gardens
were building. Each has a memorial tree with their plaque under it and
you could not help getting misty eyed thinking of the small ones who
passed through there. The wheel chair gardens were especially appealing
when you realize that some of those children will never get out of a
chair except to be buried, most before they reach the age of five. It
was a day of pride for all the children and a day of sadness for the
friends of those who had passed to a better world.