Sunday, 30 June 2019

Saturday Workshop: Nature Paintbrushes and Weaving

A wonderful day at the UBC Orchard Garden!  The sun was shining, the food was plentiful and the company was delightful.  We even had a puppy visit!  We started the day with some fresh baked goods, fruit, tea and water and had a welcome circle before the activities began. 

Our first activity of the day was making nature paintbrushes.  Participants scoured the Orchard Garden for items that they could use to make paintbrushes.  Sticks, cones, grass, leaves, flowers and blackberry bark all went to good use to create beautiful paintbrushes that people used to paint signs for the garden.  The natural paintbrushes were also used as ornamentation in the garden.

Creativity was in the air!
Beautiful signs for the garden were created!

The second workshop was weaving in the garden.  We provided participants with the option to use natural materials found in the garden, yarn, or both.  A wide variety of weaving was created, and it was wonderful to see how different each person's piece was.  The weaving was a calm and meditative time where we all got to try out hand at making something with what the garden has given us.  

Weaving in and for the garden!

For lunch we all harvested ingredients from the garden!  We showed the participants where mint, lemon balm, rosemary, sage, lettuce, garlic scapes, and edible flowers were located and how to appropriately harvest them.  We were mindful not to take too much of each so we can allow the plant to continue to flourish.

We used these fresh ingredients to make tomatoe and garlic scape pasta salad, feta mint watermelon salad, and a fresh garden salad.  To supplement the lunch we had cheeses, bread, crackers, and homemade baked goods.  It was a delightful feast and a great way to end our workshop!

Garlic scape and cherry tomato pasta, yum!

Friday, 28 June 2019

Summer Solstice Celebration
What a day!  We arrived in the rain and left in the sunshine. Rain did not "dampen" the spirits today. With our flower head garlands and musical entrance parade, we were off to a great start, rain or shine! 
It was a day full of fun activities, laughter, socializing, and playing in the beautiful garden. Half the fun was just setting up the space for an engaging, child friendly event.  First, I want to say how amazing it has been to work in the garden with all of you fellow teacher candidates!  Nothing but smiles, laughter, and good, good fun. I will miss you all and wish you all the best. You will all make the most amazing teachers.  It was so impressive all the great food that everyone worked so hard to prepare for today's Summer Solstice Event.  And a big thank you for all the support from  the Saturday Workshop gals.  There was so much effort put into all the little details today. Such great team work. And to think we actually found a home for the 70+ loaves of delicious bread from the Bread Afair.  We rock!

We started the day with a welcoming parade into the magical Orchard Garden with the Trillium preschool enjoying  home made instruments made out of recycled apple sauce containers filled with dried beans and attached with colorful elastic bands. Solare led the group with her garden fairy attire and owl whistle, and with  Susan playing her mini accordian.

The preschool was led on a garden tour, exploring the vegetables, herbs, bees, flowers, and fruit.  It was so exciting to see all the smiles and excitement. 
Next, we divided into groups and the children had a chance to visit several stations, such as the  'Exploring our Senses' table, the 'Mud Kitchen/Story Telling' station, and the 'Herb Scavenger Hunt'.  At the 'Exploring our Senses' table, children were able to use playdough and imprint different items found in nature, such as rocks, shells, pinecones, acorn hats, cedar, pine, and sticks. 

 Students at the 'Mud Kitchen/Story Telling' station were able to have free play and  fun using mud and kitchen utensils. 

The 'Herb Scavenger Hunt' had the children adventuring through the garden... touching, looking, and smelling the different herbs and finding them within the Orchard Garden.  
Herbs used for the scavenger hunt
We were fortunate to have some very honoured guests visit our garden and share in the festivities.   The Dean of Education, Dr. Blye Frank (picture here with Susan Gerofsky) and.........who both spoke about their personal stories of connection to the land,  love for the environment and appreciation for the work of the Orchard garden.
Adults also had a chance to enjoy some activities at the Orchard Garden, such as making teas from fresh herbs and also making gratitude rocks.
We had plenty of homemade food to enjoy.  Many of the recipes were inspired by herbs and vegetables growing in the Orchard Garden, such as garlic scape cheese scones and garlic scape hummus, rhubarb jam, watermelon mint feta salad, lemon balm water,  honey herb tea, and apples baked in cinnamon.  There was green salad, pesto potato salad, beet hummus, oat bars and cookies, banana and lemon loaf, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, and more! 

Well, we said good bye to our guests, cleaned up and said farewell to the Orchard Garden until we meet again at the Saturday Workshop held tomorrow (Saturday June 29th).  Get ready for some more fun activities, such as weaving and making natural paint brushes in the Outdoor Garden.

Thanks again!  hay č xʷ q̓ ə

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Hints of wonderful delights for tomorrow's Solstice Celebration!

Our team was busy cooking up a storm today in preparation for tomorrow's celebration. We combined what we harvested from the garden such as rhubarb and garlic scapes with local produce to create some fresh, colourful, healthy snacks and special dishes.

Not only were the kitchens busy, but team members also worked on preparing information about the various herbs and their unique qualities growing in the garden, on creating signage for different activities and decorations to add a festive touch to the day! Looking forward to seeing you all in the garden tomorrow. Surely the sun will be there to greet us! 

Planning, planning, and more planning: Saturday workshop preparations

Planning for the Saturday workshop continued today at a coffee shop in Vancouver
where we worked on the handout for the workshop, Art in the Garden: Nature
Paintbrushes & Weaving including the schedule of events, information about the
activities and a write-up of the recipes that we will be introducing on Saturday.  

Coffee shops are a great place to hang out and plan :)

We also went home and worked on creating natural paintbrushes from materials
collected in our yards, gardens and the local environment.  Experimenting with
using blackberry bark as a way to attach items together has been an interesting
exercise as it is tight enough to attach things together but can be a bit challenging
to tie and sometimes difficult to tie tight enough.  While we will try blackberry bark as
a material at the UBC Orchard Garden on Saturday, we will also bring some hemp rope
with us in case participants would like to try a variety of ways of attaching materials
together. Some items that were collected to try to create the paint brushes were sticks,
moss, leaves, flowers, blackberry bark, pine cones and more.  Katy’s daughter, Eva, got
creative with taking photographs of the prototypes, they make great pieces of art as well
as being paintbrushes. Students in classrooms may decide to make a variety of tools, use
some with paint and others as stand-alone pieces. We’re curious to see what the
provocation and exploration of this activity leads to for participants :)  

Items collected from the garden and the local environment.

Stripping blackberry bark to make ties for the paintbrushes.

A stick, a grape leaf and a blackberry tie do the trick to make a paintbrush!

Three examples of paintbrushes made from garden materials.

It can be fun to use the paintbrushes as art pieces and/or installations in the garden!

We plan to invite workshop participants to create some signs for various sites in the
Orchard Garden (the bees, herbs, 3 Sisters planting, etc) using their created painting
tools. We’re grappling with the question of what to paint on? Jen found some bits of leftover
lumber, but they look a bit too dirt-sodden for signage painting. Jo may have saved the day
by offering to bring some long boards that were the outskirts of a recycled door that was cut
up to make our permaculture signs a couple of weeks back, and Katy is checking with a
neighbour who may have some lumber. We are getting a taste of the resourcefulness that
teachers use to make things happen in the garden in a sustainable way!

See you on Saturday!

Summer Reading in the Orchard Garden

Take some time to read these beautiful and informative illustrated books about solstice, gardens, and enjoying all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer!

June Reading Spotlight: Summer Solstice by Ellen Jackson

Image Source
People have always looked up at the sun with wonder and gratitude—so it is no surprise that humans throughout history have chosen to celebrate the summer solstice, the time of year when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky.
The Summer Solstice offers some fascinating descriptions of these celebrations. From ancient rituals to modern festivities, people have found many ways to express their thankfulness for the sun’s gift of warmth and light. The Summer Solstice depicts the mysterious rites of the Egyptians, the tales of fairies and selkies, the modern parades and baseball games—all part of the fun and folklore of this happy time.
The book includes a Hawaiian myth about the origin of the seasons, and some hands-on activities that allow everyone to participate in the celebration. The summertime mood is enhanced by Jan Davey Ellis’s informative yet appealing illustrations that express the joy and warmth of the season.

Title / About*

*All 'About' information is from the book covers or from Scholastic Canada.
Author / Illustrator
The Yoga Game in the Garden
The second book in The Yoga Game series wiggles its way to the garden. Hum like a bee! Grow like a tree! Enjoy another delightful yoga practice with more entertaining rhymes, enchanting riddles, and whimsical illustrations. Critters and creatures help plant the fun with The Yoga Game in the Garden.
Kathy Beliveau / Denise Holmes
Secrets of the Vegetable Garden
What lives in the vegetable garden? Shine a light behind the page and see…
Explore a fruit and vegetable patch up close and find a small world filled with great surprises! From popping pea pods to wriggly worms, the hidden wonders of this busy world will be revealed.
Carron Brown / Giordano Poloni
Flower Garden
Bring nature into your classroom with this glorious, picture-book celebration of flowers, growth, and possibility – a fiction offering that makes an innovative and yet seamless connection to seed-planting and science activities.
Eve Bunting / Kathryn Hewitt
Miss Rumphius
As a child Greant-aunt Alice Rumphius resolved that when she grew up she would go to faraway places, live by the sea in her old age, and do something to make the world more beautiful – and she does all those things, the last being the most difficult of all.
Barbara Cooney
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!
Three hungry rabbits foil Mr. McGreely’s attempts at growing and eating from a vegetable garden. Children will cheer for the bunnies – or for Mr. McGreely – as they delight in Candace Fleming’s clever sound effects and G. Brian Karas’s vibrant, funny illustrations.
Candace Fleming / G. Brian Karas
In the Tall, Tall Grass
If you were a fuzzy caterpillar crawling through the tall, tall grass on a sunny afternoon, what would you see? To find out, just follow the tiny tour guide as he inches his way through the pages of this book. You’ll see ants and bees and birds – hip-hopping bunnies too. You’ll even hear the sounds some of them make!
Denise Fleming
Grandpa’s Garden
Grandpa has sprouted trays of potatoes. We bury them and pat the soil around. And then we wait…It’s hard to wait!
Complete with fact-filled notes and simple guidelines on planting and caring for your own vegetable patch, Grandpa’s Garden offers you all that you need to pull on your boots and start digging!
Stella Fry /
Sheila Moxley
Charlie’s Dirt Day
When Charlie and his dad follow a parade of their neighbours through the local park, they discover everyone is walking towards a big pile of dirt! But this isn’t just any pile of dirt – this is compost. Charlie learns from his neighbors about the gardens they have and the delicious vegetables they grow in them.  
Andrew Larsen / Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli
My Forest is Green
Join a curious artist as he explores the wonders of his urban forest. Using different artistic mediums like collage, photography, paint and more, the boy creatively depicts the many shapes, textures and colours of his natural surroundings. My Forest is Green is a poetic look at nature and its fascinating details. What’s your forest like?
Darren Lebeuf / Ashley Barron
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
Up in the garden, the world is full of green leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. In this exuberant book, discover the wonder and activity that lie hidden between the stalks, under the shade of leaves…and down in the dirt.
Kate Messner / Christopher Silas Neal
Rose’s Garden
After traveling the world in her fantastic teapot, Rose is ready to put down roots. She sets about planting flower seeds in a neglected corner of a bustling city. And then she waits—through rain, cold, and snow. Rose waits, never doubting that the garden she envisions will one day come to be.
In this luminous picture book inspired by and dedicated to the late Rose Fitzgerald Kenny, Peter H. Reynolds offers a heartwarming story that celebrates the true spirit of community and the power of nature, beauty, and faith.
Peter H. Reynolds

Summer Solstice Preparation, Tuesday June 25th

What does the Summer Solstice team have in common with the honey bees and the mason bees in our garden? We are all busy preparing delicious, beautiful, inspiring, fun and colourful surprises for the guests who will be attending this year's Summer Solstice Celebration on Thursday!

Solare spent the morning up to her ears in flowers, arranging beautiful flower ornaments and creating a colourful welcome sign for our event!

Solare's beautiful flowers! 

Solare's colourful and artistic welcome sign, which will greet our guests as they enter the garden.

In order to ensure that our guests can find the garden, Bethan has been making directions signs! On Thursday morning, we will put all of the signs in waterproof holders (just in case it rains) and place them strategically along the road so that visitors will know that they are heading the right way to the garden. 
Bethan's direction signs will help ensure that our guests find their way to the garden!

Steph has been creating small homemade instruments for the children. She has been making the instruments out of apple sauce containers, dried beans and rice, and elastic bands!  These instruments will be used by the children as they parade into the Orchard Garden! What fun! 

Steph is creating instruments out of homemade and reuseable materials.

The children will be given instruments to use as they parade into the garden! 

This morning, Stacey took a stroll along the beach, where she collected some loose parts for our sensory table. The loose parts included some small bits of driftwood along with a lovely eagle feather. She also found some stones that have been smoothed and rounded down by the ocean, which will be perfect to use for our gratitude rock activity! 

The smooth rocks that Stacey found at the beach today, which will be used for our gratitude rock activity.

The beach materials that Stacey found, which will be used for an activity at our sensory table. 

Later on when she got home, Stacey had some fun making some good old fashioned play dough! In honour of the summer solstice, she decided to make her play dough a bright and sunny yellow colour. She hopes that the colour will bring us some sunshine this Thursday! The children will be able to make impressions in the play dough using natural materials, and create their own summer solstice story! 

The children will be able to create imprints in the play dough using natural materials! This will be one of our activities at the sensory table! 

Stacey also made some beautiful bouquets for Thursday's event using flowers from her garden at home! She also put them in some recycled glass milk containers for a more rustic vibe. 

Steph's beautiful bouquet of sky blue hydrangeas! 
Steph's flower bouquets!
Denise started creating a wonderful herb booklet for our adult guests to look at during their visit! Each page will explain the health benefits of each herb and its culinary uses, as well as a simple recipe that guests can try out! So far, she has written out a page for mint and lemon balm. When the booklet is done, there will also be a page for rosemary, lavender, and fennel as well!  This will be used to complement our "tea" station, where adult guests will be invited to create tea out of ingredients from our garden, along with some lavender that Denise will bring with her on Thursday! 

The "mint" page of the herb booklet Denise is creating. 

The "lemon balm" page of the herb booklet that Denise is creating. 
Kathleen has been busy finding old cooking utensils and materials that we can use in our mud kitchen! She has gathered lots of materials that the children can use to "cook" with while they are in the garden. She also has an old plastic table and chairs that the children can sit at while they explore their newfound culinary talents! 

Today, Joey collected children's books for our younger visitors, as well as some books that our older guests will enjoy! She has found some great books that can be read aloud to the children. When the adults and older guests arrive, there will be a basket filled with books for interested teachers and garden enthusiasts! Tomorrow, she will give us more details about the books she has found for the event! 

As the blogger for today, I spent the day getting updates from the rest of the team and editing the blog together. Everyone has been hard at work, and it makes me excited to see how much progress we have made! During the afternoon, I started my next task for the day, which was to find tea bags that would work for our herbal tea station. 
Caitlyn visited Murchie's Tea to find compostable tea bags for the herbal tea station.
I was very happy to discover that Murchie's Tea sells fully biodegradable tea bags! When our guests create their tea out of freshly picked herbs from our garden, it will be nice to know that we can compost the tea bags, as we want our event to be as environmentally friendly as possible! 

Fully compostable tea filters for our herbal tea station. 
When I got home, I had fun creating inspirational words and designs on some rocks, which we can use as examples for the gratitude station. I have a number of different coloured permanent markers, and had a lot of fun figuring out which ones will work. Although the yellow marker doesn't show up super well, some of the brighter colours (such as orange, pink and red) did work out quite well, along with the blue and green permanent markers! 

Caitlyn's "be mindful" gratitude rock she made at the beginning of this year, along with several other rocks she made today. 
Way back in September when the UBC Education program began, each person in my cohort was given a rock and asked to write an inspirational message to ourselves. We were supposed to choose a word, phrase or idea that we wanted to keep with us in order to stay motivated and inspired during the rest of the year.  I decided to write "be mindful" on my rock, and it always reminds me to be present and enjoy the beauty of every day.  I know that our guests will love creating their own gratitude rocks during the Summer Solstice Celebration and I can't wait to see what Thursday's event will bring! 

Tomorrow, we will be cooking lots of tasty treats for our guests to enjoy at the event, along with finishing up any other tasks before the Summer Solstice Celebration begins! We will have lots of exciting things to share on the blog tomorrow, and can't wait to share them with you!