“Granny believes that flowers are for sharing. It is built into the program that students pick a bouquet of flowers to take home twice a year.”
Our flower gardens were established from others sharing the bounty of their gardens. In the spring of 2002 we had a perennial exchange. We received donations of hundreds of perennials, and many people brought seeds as well. One person brought a quart Zip Loc bag of orange cosmos seeds and another brought a gallon of zinnia seeds. We had a lot of zinnias and cosmos that year; they are still an important feature in our gardens today.
Flowers as a teaching tool
Students collect flower seeds as part of the seed dispersal lesson and press flowers that are used to make bookmarks for Mother’s Day. The flowers attract insects for students to study. Students take cuttings of mums, butterfly bush, curly willow and blue beard to propagate new plants to take home.
“Thank you” for volunteering
Come Bearing Flowers
Each week volunteers make large bouquets of flowers and deliver them to various businesses and organizations nearby.
On various occasions throughout the year, including Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day and the Great Outdoors Weekend, we invite the community to visit the gardens and pick a bouquet of flowers.
Each year, we invite big brothers and sisters in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati program to visit the gardens with their “littles” and pick a bouquet of flowers to take home.
Sharing Perennial Plants
If you are starting a garden program, don’t forget the flowers. The plants from our first perennial exchange and ones we have added since then continue to reproduce by seed and spreading. They produce masses of flowers from spring to frost that are put to use in many ways.
Since that first year, we have given away hundreds of perennial plants and starts to other school garden programs. In addition to other garden programs, we have donated plants to the Loveland Arts Council, Chamber of Commerce, a Habitat for Humanity home and many others. We have also harvested hundreds to sell at our spring plant sale.