In the winter months when we are no longer planting and tending the outside garden we still try to get our hands dirty each week. This month I brought in various stages of compost to explore. We also planted paper white bulbs in potted rocks to show the men how all a bulb needs is water and warmth. We read aloud every week to augment what the hands on lesson demonstrated and then we often wrap it all up with a video; feeling, touching and smelling compost to reading articles aloud from ORGANIC GARDENING about compost to then watching the movie DIRT. I try to bring each week’s lesson into a tidy delivery of hands on, reading and watching. Its a nice change of pace since during the warmer months we are always outside without drawing or reading.
Here are a few drawings from day one of planting paper whites in December.
We drew again a couple of weeks later:
Finally when the paper whites were done blooming we dissected them and drew them again. They found all the parts of the flowers and we talked about the life cycle of bulbs and how they propagate. We then read about the origins of tulips and then 17th century Holland and its contributions to the “futures” market regarding the sale of tulip bulbs. I try to teach the men history and current events of various gardening aspects so as to elevate the idea of gardening as a profession of historic and current importance. The more they see this the more respect they have for nature and for themselves as care takers of the Emerald Necklace Parks.