Garden Journal: July 12, 2012

Hello everyone!  Last week, we had the pleasure of sharing our garden with 40 very enthusiastic campers from SEED (Summer of Ecological Experience and Discovery) Day Camp.  The camp groups arrived and were very excited to see the garden and learn a little about Thomas Jefferson and his intentions for a botanical garden at UVa.

The driveway was packed with campers ready to come tour the garden!

SEED Day Camp is located on a 10-acre campus atop Pantops and run by faculty and staff from Mountaintop Montessori.  Campers spend their summer days working in Mountaintop’s gardens, harvesting and cooking fresh food, and exploring their surrounding natural landscapes.  In addition to gardening, their campus comprises several classrooms where SEED Campers explore various topics in botany, art, and geography.  As one can see, all of us at the TJ Garden were very excited to show our garden to this fantastic group!

Many of the campers had several questions along the tour!

Fascination with buckwheat seeds!

The camp groups arrived and I had the pleasure of leading two tours of the garden to two wonderful groups of kids.  Each group was fascinated with our cotton plants as well as the buckwheat with its strange yet interesting smell!  They were also very interested in hearing about the uses of buckwheat and enjoyed seeing and feeling buckwheat flour.

Looking at buckwheat flour and admiring the hops behind us!

The campers were also excited to see the Passionflowers and their edible fruits called Maypops.  Many of them said they had seen or eaten Passionfruit before but had never seen the actual Passionflower!  Near the end of each tour, the campers also sampled some Calendula Salve, a smooth salve made from Calendula flowers that can be used medicinally as an antiseptic or for healing itchy bug bites.  One camper said that after putting the salve on his mosquito bite, it stopped itching immediately!

Calendula flowers (Calendula officinalis)

After the two tours, all the campers sat on the hill next to the garden and ate lunch before leaving to take a tour of the Pavilion gardens.  I talked to a few of them and was excited to learn that many campers had gardens of their own and enjoyed growing their own vegetables such as tomatoes and squash!

The campers were excited to see that our garden friend came for a visit!

Overall, it was a successful day!  I enjoyed sharing our garden with the SEED camp community and I look forward to bringing additional groups to visit in the near future!

~Kari

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