Art In the Garden

On a warm day in the garden the students learned about creating art with items found, while gaining ownership over their garden.


They were inspired by the Garden Educator explaining the art of Andy Goldsworthy.


As students were collecting items for their projects, questions came up around picking flowers and fruit.

The Garden Educator explained that if there are 10 or more of the specific flower, they could pick a few flowers.

They also learned to wait to pick the passion fruit until it is ripe.

Students identified plants in the garden…lavender, rosemary, succulents, lamb’s ear and more.

Then we had an art walk and students had the opportunity to explain their project, while other students listened and could make comments at the end.

Great day in the garden!

“Finished Projects”

IMG_4458 IMG_4468 IMG_4469



December Garden

December Garden

Had a lovely day at Pine Grove yesterday, we drank apple cider with chamomile, read about possible winter break projects-designing a garden and identifying water sources or doing some writing about plant and animal cells, then we sang carols around the tree in the garden.
Thank you, Colleen and it was great to meet some of the amazing students of Pine Grove!

Animal Detectives

1st graders at Hapgood Elementary acted as Animal Detectives searching for insects, birds and other animals in the school garden.  They turned over logs to find worms, observed rolly pollys on a rotting pumpkin, and noted a hummingbird pollinating a shrub. Students sketched these critters and silently observed as scientists. Finding and observing snails was a highlight for the students.  Near the end of the class, the teacher decided to have the students observe the movement of the snails with a “race” and the entire class gathered around to watch!

1st Grade Snail Race

~Summer Fun in the Garden~

Thanks to the Girl Scouts and some of the other students around this summer we made some improvements to the garden and no strawberries went to waste! Giant tree stumps were donated to improve our seating area.  The students watered, seeded, painted, and of course, harvested strawberries. They painted a rock to be the garden mascot for a hide-and-seek game.

La Huerta Visits North County Schools

Some students had an opportunity to visit La Huerta sustainable vegetable garden at the Santa Barbara Mission last fall.  Other students were lucky enough to have a special visitor, Judy Sims, teach a lesson at their school this spring.  She captivated the students talking about Mission era history and plants, including cotton and broom corn.  She brought heirloom seeds, including; corn, beans and squash to share with the schools for a 3 Sisters garden planting.  The students thoroughly enjoyed our special guest!


Telling the story of a seedBroom CornPumpkin SeedsCorn

Harvesting Carrots!Judy SimsCotton


The students of Buena Vista Elementary love talking about worms and who better to teach them about this subject, than parent Joel Marshall, Director of Village Farmers Market Association.  He is an avid gardener and vermicomposter, and is now working to get a farmers’ market started in the Vandenberg Village community.

The weather last month was off and on rain and this particular morning the sky was ominous.  Joel had signed up to talk to the students and I was hoping we did not have to cancel.  We met in the garden and then walked ~20 feet to the closest classroom, opened the door and brought half of the class out (at a time) for the lesson, including his son.  The 4th graders walked out of class and gathered excitedly on the hay bales.

It was chilly outside, but the students forgot about that as soon as Joel started passing around carrots from his garden for them to try!  He explained that all of the green waste at home (including carrots), goes to the worms, the worms digest it, and then he uses this rich fertilizer on Worm Lessonhis garden to grow more carrots and other veggies.  Some students thought that it was a little strange that the worms helped “grow” the healthy snacks they were eating!

Then the students gathered around the stacking worm bins that Joel brought in and they all had a look.  He asked them why the worms wiggle when the lid was taken off…they live in the dark!   He did not want to disturb the worms too much, so the students had a quick look and the lid went back on.  There was a lot of excitement when he held out his hand for the students to see the worms! The rain held off for us and the class had a chance to fill out a worksheet to reinforce the ideas learned during the lesson.  Thanks again to Joel for his time and we look  forward to having him visit and help with the Buena Vista school garden again in the future!

Here are the worm links and book titles Joel provided for the class:

Worms Eat My Garbage, Mary Appelhot

The Worm Book, Loren Nancarrow & Janet Hopgan Taylor

GEM Network

This photo was taken on a recent carpool from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara.

We spend our drive time catching up on the happenings in our gardens, lessons we have done, telling stories and of course, laughing!

I am very grateful for our network of Garden Educator/Managers (GEMs) working together to grow the s´Cool Gardens program.

Thank you GEMs for all of your support, creativity, and networking!