Thursday, February 16, 2017


The silver lining of a February Nor’ easter is the arrival of seed catalogs—
a welcome reminder that spring is just over the horizon and it is time to plan the summer garden. 

Pursuing the pages of Johnny Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds catalogs with their color photographs of the hundreds of varieties of vegetable, fruits, herbs, and flowers or the intricate, detailed  ink drawings of Fedco Seeds is a delightful break from the snow and winter winds. 

This activity of selecting a garden theme and plants would bring as much joy and excitement into every classroom.
I recently came across a great theme — a garden that explores plant dyes. What a great idea for an art class!  
And certainly there are the STEM curriculum connections to nutrition, science and history.  
The plant selection could focus on those that produce primary colors such as: red onion skin and beet root for red; marigold and calendula for yellow; red cabbage and leaves and stems of tomato plants for blue. Experiment mixing the primary colors to see if you get secondary colors!  
There is no reason not to consider expanding the plant palate of the garden to include some native shrubs and trees that can also be used for dyes. The USDA Forest Service has a lot of information on the native plant dyes and their uses.

If you are ready to start planning and could use some ideas and a sample lesson plan check out . This national nonprofit organization based in Burlington, Vermont is  a leading resource for garden-based educators across the country. 

Once the garden is planned it is time to get really creative thinking about what to do with all the hand dyed natural fibers— maybe building a loom?

Don’t forget to keep a look out for pussy willows!
Check out the June 2016 Blog posting 
"A Plant For Children & Pollinators"

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