Some of us like to get our hands dirty. A couple of days ago, I dug the holes in our black clay gumbo for some new plants. Today, I brought compost to help fill the holes and I planted my “gift” Jewel of Opir. We will see if it lives up to its reputation and spreads all over in my Texas Wildscape. Then I planted two Nandina’s to frame a couple of purple sage plants and to cut down on the mowing. While I was there, I added compost to an ailing Barberry. I will prune it back this Fall. I added compost to a reviving yellow Knock Out rose and a few more roses and grasses in the same area. Hopefully they will come back, too. I planted a Texas Umbrella plant in the same bed as a rugged Canna and another Texas Umbrella plant on the other side of the yard. Then I began planting more of my wavy front line of lariope. I was in shade up until the lariope and I ran out of compost. I have loaded up some more. I put some more rocks in the bottom of my refrigerator raised bed and laid out some more cardboard for new beds.
It is fun to see the different shapes in nature. Different leaf shapes take care of plants in different ways. The same is true of what is growing under the ground. Roots have different shapes and help plants in different ways. After School Gardening will look at leaf shapes and draw them. We will collect leaves and compare them to our drawings.
As part of my After School Science activity we will study Geology and Soils. Nature provides different soils for different plants and trees. We will mix up different components of soil – clay (which is in abundance in our location – black gumbo clay), and mix in sand and compost. We will look at a Texas Soils Map on the internet. We will draw different parts of the soil. We will draw rocks in the landscape.
One of my After School Activity Clubs will teach Sewing and Cooking.
I had the opportunity to help a new friend, an adult, learn to sew on a button. It is so automatic for me, since I had been taught how to do this as a young elementary student. It required me thinking through how I cut the thread off the spool, thread the needle, tie a knot in the thread and the order of sewing through the holes in the button. (We sewed on a couple of buttons with four holes.) Then, the final act of tying it off and cutting the thread. Another adult was fascinated by the process as well.
It feels so good to know how to do things, practical things as well as decorative things. I am very aware of the skills which my grandparents surely had, which I don’t. I look forward to teaching what I know as well as learning from others.
I have begun my research for my After School Activity Clubs today. The World of Gardening Club (WOG) includes soil and bugs! We will mix a good combination of soil, compost, expanded shale and minerals to create a good garden mix. We will also build a Compost Pile and learn my song about building it. (Greens and Browns and Water and Air, Compost!)
I started with Good Bugs and then checked out Beneficial Insects! Lady Bugs or Lady Beetles, Beneficial Nematodes (!), Parasitic Wasp, Preying Mantis, Thrips Predators (hopefully I can stop the Thrips before they get to my roses which are trying to come back this year). We will look for and catch bugs and draw them for our Journals.