a The Learning Garden

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

World of Wheat

Big news. 

all that dreaming paid off, look!

the wheat sprouted last week
despite the heat

all we feel is honour, 
at the systems already in place

and gratitude for the hard working garden crew
(Dewan, Kieran, Angela and others)
who work and grow
even in the furnace of an Okanagan summer,

for the wheat

+ + + 

Canadian wheat has an uphill battle these days, including:
Furthermore, the word-wide wheat shortage reached the UK in 2012.

Please let us be poetic
and upstanding
like the mighty wheat -
with gratitude,


Monday, July 07, 2014

Weeds and Wheat

Summer greetings,

There's new life in the Learning Garden...

Meet Dewan Darnardi, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Learning Garden. Go Dewan!
Meanwhile Angela Finlay is the stellar summer Garden Manager.  

RIght now, the crew is weeding, doing some planting, and fixing up the old school compost box.

Last month, a bird (kill-deer) made a nest in the centre of the Celtic Spiral...under a lone, 7 inch tall weed.  The bird did its best to protect the eggs...from this increasingly popular human meditation place. As always, the garden made room and space, for all. 

Student Sharline Konkin has created a space age strawberry tower, which raises moisture from below. Note the genius of the PVC pipes...vertical gardens...and the cool use of space:

Sharline's daughter, Eiliya, another friend of the Learning Garden:

Meanwhile, weeds continue to bring questions and callouses. On the one hand, we have never wanted a perfectly manicured garden here at the LG. On the other...to what extent do aggressive weeds take over and choke out all other species? On the other (three hands?) the drive for the perfect lawn has brought about aggressive pesticides and genetic mutations.

Dr. Leonard Perry at the University of Vermont has this to say:

"Most may think this topic absurb at first glance, but there are actually reasons you might want to have a garden of weeds.  They can provide greens for cooking, medicinal uses, crafts, or food for wildlife.  Most weeds double as wildflowers, some more attractive than others and so better suited for a garden just for beauty.
The best way to control weed seed dispersal is to cut them off before they ripen.  Use an old-fashioned scythe, grass clippers, hedge shears, or string trimmer to cut back to half height after flowering.  If you don't get to this, as I often don't, then mulch desirable weed plants with at least two inches of grass clippings or similar organic matter.  Or you can weed your weed garden, odd as this sounds, as you would any garden."
Weeding...the weeds? 

Mother Earth says:

"Contrary to their reputation, beneficial weeds under certain circumstances can be helpful in the garden by holding top-soil, pulling up water and nutrients, providing food, controlling insects and more."

Sometimes it's good to think of things another way.

Dream of Wheat

Turning to wheat, the dreaming of planting wheat in the Celtic Spiral has come true. Thanks to Dewan and Kieran Rogers, Learning Garden Club. Yes- those are the rocks collected by the school children last Spring.

Planting wheat will help us raise awareness of the world food shortage, including the wheat shortage in Britain last year, due to climate change and flooding. We also support the Canadian Wheat Growers. Thanks also to our funder, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, for making this project possible.

Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.
Gerard Manley Hopkins

All for now.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Green Radio Network

Dear Garden Friends,

Students continue to labour in their 12 week student teaching practica, enlivening classrooms across the Southern BC interior. (Very proud of all). The Learning Garden slumbers in the BC Southern Interior. . . 

. . . and Green Radio Network lives. 

Tune in. Green is good.

See you all soon.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Rocks and Ripples

Dear Middle Years Philosophy Class and Friends,

One very special day this term, Rutland Middle School and their teacher, Mr. Ryan Scorgie, visited the Learning Garden and the Middle School Teacher Ed class. 

We collected rocks, built a Celtic Spiral, then filled it with soil.

Click to view the slideshow:


Why a spiral?

In Celtic art and symbolism, the spiral represents the path leading from the outer world (materialism, external awareness, ego) to the inner (enlightened, intuitive)world. 

Some other spirals....

and who could forget,

More on our aspiring garden spiral in Spring 2014. 

With peace, for the coming weeks,


Of Middle years philosophy, and the Fruit
Of that learning garden and peace tree, That
Brought light and inspiration into our pedagogy
Sing O Educational Muse!
And though this poem, epic not be
This course truly was.
. . .

(From student Chris England's poem, "The Legend of Philosophers 2013", read during our final class of the term).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ocean Update

Dear Students of Term One,

With the garden asleep, we have had time in class to think about the ocean. 
Is...the ocean broken?

These films of Humpback Whales were recently taken off the Southern coast of British Columbia.  

Victoria (D'arcy Island) BC.

What is the whale trying to communicate to the humans on the boat? 

How can humans respond?

Compassion: Compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering. (Oxford English Dictionary)



Thursday, November 07, 2013

Pumpkin Power

Dear Middle Years Philosophy Class,
Your beautifully written and illustrated story about the lost and found pumpkin patch was way better than Cinderella...

Good to know I "designed and sewed" those green trousers from discarded material. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

Poetry Garden

Dear Humanities-English,

Thank you for your support this term...you're an inspirational group to teach with and learn from. 

Wordsworth reminds us why we do this work:
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky.
(leap on)