Lessons in the May garden


Our nepeta hedge in the formal rose garden is really coming in nicely.  We started with just a donated plant a couple of years ago and each year I teach the men how to divide and transplant.  Now we have a proper border that is about bloom.


The potatoes have sprouted and have been weeded and mulched with manure.


We have thousands of tiny strawberries.


Chives galore.

Skills learned:

weeding and deadheading, knowing what is a seedling, a weed, a wild flower, a bulb to be deadheaded so the nutrients make a stronger bulb, or a seed pod to be encouraged to its fruition to spread more annual seeds.

stewardship, respecting  the future knowing as students they won’t be incarcerated when the strawberries come back next year… but keeping them healthy and weeded for future students

soil amendment, adding manure as organic matter to soil to encourage worms and micro organisms to feed and aerate the soil

propagation and transplanting, having one small plant one year and each year dividing it to create more plants year after year which maintains health of the plants as well as creates more plants

uses of herbs as edible as well as ornamental, the men took chive stems and flowers to eat, they took regular mint as well as nepeta to make tea, they also observed the ornamental purpose of herbs as well in the flowers of the chives as well as the hedge about to bloom

patience, since strawberries are an evergreen they always seem to be in the garden happy waiting their sweet time to bloom and produce thousands of berries in two short fleeting weeks

and giving, knowing that the men won’t be here in the summer to eat the fruit of the raspberries or the garlic and potatoes they planted but tending them as if they were


Edible Perennials


Learning about edible perennials and sustainable gardens.  An incredibly old idea becomes an incredible new idea.  Mono cultures be gone!

The men worked weeding and edging gardens, planting carrots, beans, dahlias, sunflowers.  We have so many wild turkeys and rabbits visible at the garden that the men decided to plant a bunny garden at the end of the woods where the rabbit sat watching us.  One guy asked for seeds so he could do a gigantic “B” garden of Teddie Bear sunflowers, not the best flowers to work with when writing letters but it was all we had and he was so eager!

Munched on rhubarb and chives and witnessed thousands of white strawberry blossoms.  Talk about perennial edibles!  We planted 4 strawberry plants 7 years ago and now have what feels like thousands of blossoms!


Nice batch of students today, kind, helpful and trying to grab some goodness from the garden.