Thursday, July 28, 2011

Garden of Pinks

"From earliest boyhood the pinks have been my companions.  Mounds and rings of Grass pinks were in the front yard, left there by my mother, so different in their delicacy from the weeds and brush and deep smells of the forest from which the farm was cut that they seemed like tokens from another and remoter earth.  Their fresh colors and spicy fragrance were of a different order of things, and they led me out to hopes of far countries.  To this late day the memory of them lingers." 
--Liberty Hyde Bailey, Garden of Pinks, 1938

In honor of L.H. Bailey's mom, I planted some "pinks" by our entry sign.  Pinks are Dianthus flowers.  There are many, many different species of Dianthus.  This species of Dianthus is late blooming with varying shades of pink blossoms and thin grassy leaves.  I hope to add a variety of pinks to this small garden beneath the sign.  If there is anyone out there that would like to donate some pinks, let me know and we will add additional species of this pretty perennial to the bed beneath our sign.  I think Liberty Hyde Bailey would be happy to know that his mother's interest in pinks has not been forgotten!

Friday, July 22, 2011

"the background of the day"

"There are two parts to the common day, -- the performance of the day, and the background of the day.  Many of us are so submerged in the work we do and in the pride of life that the real day slips by unnoted and unknown.  But there are some who part the hours now and then and let the background show through.  There are others who keep the sentiments alive as an undertone and who hang all the hours of work on a golden cord, connecting everything and losing none; theirs is the full life; their backgrounds are never forgotten; and the backgrounds are the realities."
--Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Garden Lover

John Stempien, Museum Director, shared passages from the Liberty Hyde Bailey book entitled The Garden Lover with us this morning in the Brunch at Bailey's event.  The above quote was one of my favorites.  It had me thinking back into some of the background of my days as a child.  My parents owned a small cabin on Lake Superior.  We would drive there for the weekend after spending the week in the city of Minneapolis.  My parents refused to build a road into the cabin, so as not to disturb the plants and animals but also to leave the sight and sound of any car in the distance.  Walking the quarter mile or so to the cabin, the path took us right through a huge stand of ferns.  My brothers and I called that stretch of the path "The Land of the Giants," because by mid-summer the ferns were easily as tall as my head (I was 8 or 9 at the time).  It felt like we were walking through a jungle as we brushed back the tall fronds and made our way to our little escape on the lake.  And now, as I wonder through the backyard of our school on our garden path and look at the beautiful ferns beneath the trees, it brings me back to that magical land of the giants in my childhood and into the background of my days.  What a gift those woods and water were to me.

I wonder . . . what background do we give to our students?  How can we frame their days of education in beauty?  And wouldn't it be wonderful if we took the time to "part the hours now and then and let the background show through?"  And then maybe someday they will grow to "hang all the hours of work on a golden cord, connecting everything and losing none. . . "  That would be my dream for every student.

"The joy of flowers is of the backgrounds.  It lies deeper even than the colors, the fair fragrances, and the graces of shape.  It is the joy of things growing because they must, of the essence of winds woven into a thousand forms, of a prophetic earth, and of wonderful delicateness in part and substance.  The appeal is the deeper because we cannot analyze it, nor measure it by money, nor contain it in anything that we make with our hands.  It is too fragile for analysis."  --Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Garden Lover  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Thoughts

"I live and love as seasons fly
And then, O Teacher, here am I.
I stand within the cosmic sea
And dreadless wait my destiny--
I stand with bird and beast and tree
And all the things unbond and free,
For they and I and all together
Pass on in space and time and weather."
--Liberty Hyde Bailey (Taken from his poem entitled Outlook)

Greetings from the Liberty Hyde Bailey Interpretive Garden Path!
The ferns have started without us!  And right they should, for many of us have been vacationing and enjoying this fleeting summer season.   Wouldn't it be lovely if we simply added a rock boarder around these amazing plants and a path surrounding it?

If you have (or know where to find) large rocks that you would be willing to donate to this project, please drop them off under our sign and we will build a beautiful rock boarder for this amazing fern haven beneath the trees. 

Curriculum work is underway!  We had an initial meeting for anyone interested in working on curriculum last week.  Seven of us brainstormed and developed a loosely organized, brilliant (if we do say so ourselves) plan.  The goal will be to develop notebooks for each teacher that suggest garden path learning activities, sorted by seasons.  We're talking math, science, writing, music, art, social studies, health science . . .  If you have ideas to share with us, please join us for our next meeting, August 18th at 10:00 a.m. at North Shore.  If you have suggestions, but are unable to attend the meeting, email me at:  We love suggestions and ideas. . . the more the better!

A special thank you to everyone who donated plants for our Sun Garden.  Cindy, from HuntTree, did an awesome job designing this bed of flowers.  She is also taking really good care of it.  Thanks Cindy!

Carolyn has been caretaker of our blueberry bushes and helped with the flower bed.  Thanks D~!

 Our Edible Wild Plant Garden was taken over by a vast array of weeds (as you can see by the picture below)!  I turned my back for a few weeks (as I headed into the mountains and to a family reunion) only to find our beautiful dandelions were overtaken by weeds!  After a few hours of weeding the other day we are back to dandelions!  It's an interesting feeling to be pulling weeds and hunting for our precious dandelions.  It felt somehow very satisfying to be saving a plant that has so often been treated with such disdain.  I went back today and fertilized them.  I hope to mulch them in the days ahead to protect them from further invasions.  I feel like I've made a new friend out of an old enemy.    

This is a community project.  We want your voice to make these gardens blossom for the students of South Haven.  Join us as we venture into our backyard and discover, learn and grow!  

Peace,  Becky Linstrom