Dear garden aficionados!
Last Wednesday a group of fifteen students toured the garden. They eagerly entered from the trolley, joyful despite the heat, and proceeded to explore. The students ranged in ages from 3rd to 5th grade with varying knowledge of plants, gardens and Thomas Jefferson. Some students were entirely unaware of the former President while one student described the beautiful gardens at Monticello in great detail!
Regardless of what the students knew before entering they garden, they all enjoyed touching the feeling different plants & flowers. They particularly loved holding the bolls of cotton & learning that cotton fibers constituted 75% of the material in a dollar bill.
We explained to the students that plants, while often edible, can also have medicinal and practical uses. We let the students put Calendula on their palms and explained that the flower has the potential to heal minor cuts and burns. We also let the students feel the flax that had been spun into linen. Amazement spread throughout the student’s faces after they discovered that a plant could turn into a shirt!
Teaching children about the importance of gardening proves invaluable in today’s society when processed food reigns supreme in the supermarket and clothes get mass produced from abroad. By fostering the connection between crops, clothes, medicine, and food we are showing children to understand the ramifications of what they eat and wear. Hopefully they understand why local and natural is better!
At the conclusion of the tour, most of the students voiced interest in learning how to grow peanuts, corn & flax. Getting kids motivated to learn about nature and be outdoors instead of thinking about video games or television proved incredibly worthwhile (even in the nearly unbearable heat)! I cannot wait to bring a series of garden groups in to the garden in the upcoming months!