Gardening For Resilience

Here’s a quick Before and After glimpse of seven years of gardening on a hill in Nashua, NH, very close to the Merrimack River.  In late 2010, the staff and administrators at Infant Jesus School, a 100 year old Catholic elementary school, began considering the possibility of creating a 200 sq. yard outdoor classroom / garden for their students.  Here are photographs showing how things developed, and an article that describes why the project seemed worthwhile.

Before:

original garden site in summer 2010 032
View of the Crown Street area of IJS school in spring 2011.  A detailed site plan was drawn prioritizing native plants, plants of value to wildlife, plants of historical interest, plants that are appealing to children, and, whenever possible, permaculture principles. Then the grassy lawn and existing yews were removed during the summer.  A brick walkway, a few trees, and a variety of shrubs, perennials, and annuals were in place by the time the students arrived in late August.

,

2012 spring ijs garden IMG_0594
During the garden’s first spring in 2012, most of the ground was still covered with bark mulch, but the youngsters were having fun.
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Another view of spring 2012. Here students are drawing the daffodils and small tulips that they had planted in October as bulbs, part of the initial plantings in the newly established school garden.

After Six and a Half Years:

2017 k students in Crown Street GardenIMG_4218
Now you can see (part of!) the same area in September 2017
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Another view from autumn 2017 as some of the IJS 5th Graders prepare to harvest apples.
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Autumn 2017
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Early morning light, autumn 2017

The following two-part article, graciously published by the Justice and Environment Mission Group of the Sisters of Holy Cross (in their Earth Beats newsletter in 2015) sets forth the rationale for the school’s initiative.  (I regret to say that the second and third pages of each pdf load rather slowly.  However, they will appear!  Thank you for your patience!)

EARTH BEATS Je 2015 FINAL 1 Corrected
EARTH BEATS Je 2015 FINAL 2