Friday, April 22, 2011

New Feature, Part III: Storybook Characters!

Kathy Murray sketches faces and features
Several former inhabitants of Pooh's Corner in the Carolina Children's Garden are returning this month!  Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Tigger, and Kanga used to live all together in Pooh's Corner, but over the years, several members of this merry bunch wandered away.  At a special Storybook Painting Party on April 9, 2011, volunteer artists painted faces and features of these beloved characters on new plywood cutouts prepared by volunteer carpenters and painters.

Marie Daniels painting Piglet

Real, live versions of several of these characters were also present, courtesy of a local petting zoo; USC student Julia Grasso provided an extremely popular finger-painting activity for children, and a beekeeper was on hand to answer questions about Pooh Bear's favorite food--"Hunny!"

Michael Radcliffe of the Wateree Beekeepers Association provided bee education!

Visit our Facebook album to see more photos of this special event and learn about the volunteers and artists who made the event possible!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Feature, Part II: Cold Frame

"But round the end of the cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr. McGregor!
-Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit
In Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the unfortunate title character has a harrowing experience at the end of a cucumber frame.  Said cucumber frame is depicted in Potter's accompanying watercolor illustration (above) as a wooden box with a glass lid.  This contraption was doubtlessly used as a cold frame in which warm-season vegetables (including cucumbers) were produced in a cool, short-summered climate.

In the Carolina Children's Garden, Mr. McGregor has his very own garden--complete with a white picket fence, two raised vegetable gardens, a freshly-painted tool shed, and a border of lovely daffodils.  Now, Mr. McGregor also has...wait for it...his very own cold frame!

This stunning Potteresque cold frame was designed and constructed by the multi-talented Hattie and Donald Bruce Monson.  The frame is made of treated pine lumber (which, Hattie notes, no longer contains arsenic--a chemical that, in the past, made treated lumber unsuitable for the construction of vegetable beds) with a Plexiglas roof.  Hinges, handles, and hook-and-eye latches make the frame easy to open and close.

Constructing the frame was a learning process for the Monsons--Hattie reported that this was the first "permanent" cold frame they had constructed, having used only temporary cold frames made of plastic stretched over hoops to protect young seedlings in the past.  The frame had to be made to fit into an existing wooden square in Mr. McGregor's Garden--the remnants of the Garden's original cold frame, long since vanished.

While Hattie admitted that the cold frame "did look nice in the garage," the best part of the process was seeing the frame installed in its intended destination beside Mr. McGregor's toolshed.  The installation process required the help of several friends, including Master Gardener Kathy Murray and USC student Christine Burkes (pictured below).

Keep your eye on Mr. McGregor's Garden, as more changes are in store...the frame will soon be painted, and, when the weather begins to cool this fall, expect to see plants migrating magically into the frame!

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Feature, Part I: A Teepee Trellis!

Thanks to the creativity of Master Gardener Joyce Bibby and the efforts of volunteers at the recent April workday, Garden visitors can now rest in the dappled shade beneath our new teepee trellis!  The teepee is made of crape myrtle poles buried slightly in the ground and tied tightly together with twine.  Twine was also strung between the poles like the spiraling strands of a spider's web to provide more structure for the pole beans, planted in pots around the base of the trellis, to grow on. 

Find the teepee between the stage and the parking lot, adjacent to the rain garden!  Expect a boulder to appear in the teepee by the end of the month....

View more photos on Facebook.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April Additions

Once a month, Master Gardeners and community volunteers meet in the Children's Garden for a few hours of old-fashioned hard work.  The April workday, held on April 7, 2011, was no different.

Gardeners Conspiring
Prior to the big event, Workday Coordinators Mary Kelly and Joyce Bibby (above) devised a Plan of Attack.  On the day itself, Master Gardeners tackled an assortment of projects: Joyce Tillman tidied the Alphabet Garden and planted annuals; Mary Alice Williams worked with high school student volunteers to plant petunias in the Three Bears' Homestead; Marie Daniels made plans for the future of the Butterfly Garden; Joyce Bibby and David Sprung created a great new teepee trellis using crape myrtle poles donated by Howard van Dijk; Hattie Monson, Kathy Murray, and USC student Christine Burke installed a cold frame; Arlene Marturano planted sunflowers amidst the daffodils in Mr. McGregor's Garden; and Chanda Cooper ate the M&Ms thoughtfully provided by Mary Kelly (thanks, Mary!).  

Planting sunflowers
Watch the blog for more detailed posts about the new teepee and cold frame, or, better yet, visit the Garden and see them for yourself!  As always, thanks to the many volunteers who make the Children's Garden possible.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Caution: Wet Paint!

After tackling the white picket fence around Mr. McGregor's Garden at the recent Kiwanis Aktion Club Workday, volunteer Jack Hatfield decided to do even more: he painted Mr. McGregor's tool-shed!

In the classic story of Peter Rabbit, the tool-shed is a place where the crotchety Mr. McGregor stores spare flower pots, rakes, hoes, and other Useful Things.  In the Carolina Children's Garden, the tool-shed is a place where kind and cheerful Master Gardeners store, well, flower pots, rakes, hoes, and other Useful Things. 

Mr. McGregor's Toolshed, from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

We are happy the shed has received such a nice face-lift, and we are extremely grateful to Mr. Hatfield for donating his time and talent to this cause!  (We think Mr. McGregor is grateful, too!)

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Delightful Daffodils...

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils...
-William Wordsworth

Visit the Children's Garden right away to see our lovely new daffodils in bloom!  Over 1,000 daffodil bulbs were donated to the Carolina Children's Garden by Jenks Farmer of Lushlife Nurseries ( earlier this spring.  Volunteers planted them throughout the garden--around the perimeter of Mr. McGregor's Garden, along the fence at the Three Bears' Homestead, and in the pine straw borders of the Butterfly and Bird gardens.

Bend close to experience their lovely fragrance! 

...For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude; 
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
-William Wordsworth

Monday, April 4, 2011

Photography Contest Winners Announced!

The recent Lenticels in the Lens photography contest prompted many photographers to hit the trails with cameras in hand!  Submissions of photos of lenticels (pore-like structures often seen on the bark of trees) were received in three age categories, and the photos were judged by a panel of experts, including scientists, naturalists, and educators from Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and the Richland County Master Gardeners Association.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the following WINNERS:

Youth Winner: Joshua Venegas, age 9
Photo from Chapin, SC

 Youth Honorable Mention:  Jimmy Parrott, age 10
Photo from Camden, SC

Teen Winner:  Anna Fowler, age 18
Photo from Greenville, SC

Teen Honorable Mention:  Noel Venegas, age 14
Photo from Chapin, SC

Adult Winner:  April Kelley
Photo from Columbia, SC

Congratulations!  Each winner will receive a field guide to trees, and all submissions will be featured in a gallery on the opening day of the Sandhill Farmers Market (May 3, 2-7 pm) and, subsequently, on the bulletin board in the Carolina Children's Garden.

Stay tuned for details about our next contest!