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 adminstrators 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.

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, whenevever 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.

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During the garden’s first spring in 2012, most of the ground was still covered with bark mulch, but the youngsters were having fun.

 

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.

 

Now you can see (part of!) the same area in September, 2017

 

 

Another view from Fall, 2017 as some of the IJS 5th Graders prepare to harvest apples.

 

Fall, 2017

 

Early morning light, Fall, 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