Putting the Heschel Garden to Bed!

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

When the arborists backed their large truck into our garden and dumped a heaving pile of fluffy cedar chips, the students were alive with excitement, unable to stop themselves from running up and tumbling down the fragrant mound. After school, garden clubbers of all ages and sizes grabbed a hold of rakes, shovels, and wheelbarrows to begin the hard work of distributing the chips over the garden area. The hard work kept everybody warm as snowflakes gently fell. And if garden work was not enough, a hot chocolate break did the trick.  On this cold and snowy evening we put the garden to bed.

The Toronto Heschel School’s learning garden is a very special place for anyone who spends some time there. In the garden we meet strange friends like worms, snails, caterpillars, and butterflies. We cheer on seedlings as they reach upwards to catch a bit of light, we learn about how plants defend themselves when we emerge from the bushes covered in burrs. In the garden we get to taste and feel and watch and listen as life is busy bustling around us. When we put the garden to bed we are helping students to understand that nature is seasonal and cyclical. Just as we wake and sleep, so does our garden. Before the last frost we planted tulip bulbs which need a chill period before they bloom in the spring with the onset of warm weather. Most students are surprised to find out that a flower actually needs cold weather.

When we arrived at school in the morning after putting the garden to bed there was a fluffy white blanked covering the entire school yard, keeping our sleeping garden comfortable and safe until it wakes in the spring.