Resilience and hummingbirds at Seattle’s Graham Hill Elementary

Jul 01, 2011

Seattle’s Graham Hill Elementary and their Woolly School Garden suffered some calamities this spring, but with true Woolly spirit, the garden is up and running again, keeping the playground adorned with flowers and colorful veggies for the summer!

The school had their vertical Woolly Garden planted and ready to go when something quite sad happened: vandals broke into the school and tore apart both the greenhouse and the garden. Cambria Cox, Graham Hills’ garden director, said “It was a huge bummer and a setback … but that didn’t stop us from persevering!”

With Woolly verve, students, teachers, parents and neighbors got to work rebuilding and replanting their garden. Cambria organized a series of work parties, where students planted chard, spinach, broccoli, lettuces and flowers on their Woolly wall, and a mural was painted across from it. The kids also each created a prayer flag, which are now strung across the outdoor space: the garden is now lightly shaded with artwork from the same students planting and learning in the garden. “Many students had never held a seed before, never tried a radish, weren’t totally aware of where their food comes from. I was pleasantly surprised when just about every student enthusiastically tried anything that was grown in the garden–broccoli, arugula, sorrel — kids wanted to eat it! The garden is definitely inspiring wonder and curiosity,” reports Cambria.

Last week the school threw a garden party, with ice cream from a local creamery and mint lemonade from the Graham Hill’s own garden. “It was the culmination of so much work and struggle, but also resilience and hope,” said Cambria. “It was so great, the kids had a blast and it was gratifying to see things looking so beautiful. Our students have learned how to grow food from seed. How to make a salad. How to plant seeds and starts. What plants need to thrive. How to attract beneficial insects and wildlife to the garden. Resilience in the face of adversity!”

And the beauty continues … hummingbirds have discovered the Woolly garden’s nasturtiums, and are returning daily for nectar! A green little world has been created on a patch of Seattle blacktop, all thanks to the woolly efforts of one school community!

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