Sunflowers, etc.

For the second straight year, the “Planting The Seed” garden at Nolan Elementary-Middle School, grew sunflowers.  Spearheaded by our sponsor, Maura Ryan-Kaiser, who knowingly went against all the standard rules of  garden planting and management…just to have “fun”, the sunflower patch was quite successful.  Her method was absolutely maddening and yet she was successful.  So successful, I move that it should forever be called the Maura Ryan-Kaiser & Family Wildlife Preserve.  She may not accept the designation but after what she accomplished, it should be hers to lose.  Whether or not she accepts the honor, the flowers did become a wildlife reserve and that was pretty cool in itself.

We had attempted to grow flowers, including sunflowers the last couple of years.  Due to poor timing and vandalism, we haven’t had much luck.  But this year, we all have come to accept that this was a banner year.  The flowers added another dimension to the garden (and I’m not a flower guy) from a beauty standpoint but also  from a practical standpoint.  Our flowers brought bees and lots of them  to pollinate our vegetable plants.  Gardeners, at all levels, know the benefits of working in the garden side by side with our pollinating partners as they move from flower to flower.

Our flowers, more so than our vegetable plants, attracted and fed birds, rabbits and squirrels.  They also attracted beneficial insects.  Not quite intentionally, Maura, her lone young assistant and God, created an eco-system in the school yard adjacent to the raised beds we were growing vegetables in.  We were able to grow our vegetables in relative peace as the varmints…ahem, I mean pests…um, the animals found comfort with what was theirs to take.  To be so exposed, a garden without barriers, and not lose more than 3% of our yield to animals and two-legged varmints is quite an accomplishment.  To be truthful, we lost more to vandalism that we did to the hungry animals.

Not knowing what we were going to get from the wildflower patch this year, we will be better prepared in 2014.  There are a lot of ways the flowers can be used in the classroom and they should be used to decorate a few desks also.

(Where’s that suck up Little Arthur David when you need him?)

So take a look at the flowers.  I’ve posted them from start to finish.  You will see after facing incredible odds (in Maura’s hands), how they grew and grew.

 

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Nolan Garden 2013-25

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And Maura, This One’s For You!

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