Junior Gardeners

The Junior Gardener program is open to preschool and elementary school children who are the children or grandchildren of Garden Club members. This group has been dedicated to promoting educational projects that strive to teach children a love of gardening, an appreciation of nature's beauty, and the value and protection of our natural resources. The group setting provides a forum in which to teach children methods of cultivation and utilization of plants to enhance our quality of life, as well as the responsibility toward to the environment and civic beautification.

Activities for the coming year will include interplanting daffodil bulbs with daylilies at the Acton Arboretum's daylily garden, a visit to Life Care Center of Acton for a Thanksgiving garden therapy session, a winter horticulture project, and a spring floral design project.

April 2006 - Arbor Day Planting

On Thursday, April 27th, the Junior Gardeners met to plant a shade tree at NARA Park between the playground and the pond beach. It was purchased by the Town of Acton with funds donated by the Acton Garden Club. The large, 4" - 5" caliper green European Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) was planted in honor of Arbor Day. The tree was generously supplied to the Town of Acton by Mr. Anthony Capizzi, owner of Capizzi & Co., Inc., who provides landscape design contracting and ornamental nursery services in Acton.

Tom Tidman, Town of Acton Natural Resources Director, worked with Cathy Fochtman, Junior Gardener chairman, to select the type of tree and a suitable specimen. The European Beech was chosen for its size and beauty. At maturity, it will stand about 50' high and equally wide, reaching its massive horizontal branches out to the beach area and into the playground. It has smooth, elephant hide-like bark and lustrous dark green leaves that hold their green late into fall and turn rich russet and golden brown in color.

A planting hole was dug and the tree lowered into the hole. The Junior Gardeners helped Tom Tidman backfill the hole with loam and fertilizer, carefully tamping down the soil and leaving the trunk flare visible. The tree was watered and the branch bindings removed, revealing the beautiful branching structure of the tree.

The Junior Gardeners have committed to a weekly watering schedule from May through September for the European Beech tree.

Each Junior Gardener family went home with an Eastern Redbud tree seedling (Cercis canadensis) to plant in their yard in honor of Arbor Day. A small flowering landscape tree, the Eastern Redbud can be seen around town in bloom, with rosy pink flowers on leafless branches.

January 2006 - Horticulture Workshop

Our horticulture workshop was attended by eleven children and seven adults. We discussed planting bulbs for indoor growing. They were able to each plant a pot of Paperwhites, Pink Amaryllis and spring blooming Viridiflora (green striped) tulips for forcing. Paperwhites are easy and quick to grow. Amaryllis are also easy, but take a number of weeks to begin growing, but what a show they put on! Viridiflora tulips have a streak of green somewhere on each petal. This contrasts dramatically with the basic flower color (purple, orange, pink, etc.). These tulips are more challenging, but not difficult – put the bagged pot in a cold but not freezing area to simulate winter for eight weeks, then bring it into the house, water and watch it grow and bloom! An instruction sheet was provided on bulb care for each type of plant. They are easy to grow in the sunniest spot in the house.

For those members that were interested in having supplementary lighting for their plants, an instruction sheet on constructing a plant stand was provided. Interested attendees signed up to have a plant stand constructed and delivered to them by chairman, Cathy Fochtman.

Each plant stand was constructed from assorted PVC (plumbing) parts. A 48" long, two fluorescent bulb shop light is suspended from the stand to provide lighting. Chains allow you to adjust the height of the suspended shop light. For growing seedlings, you’ll want to have the light only inches away from the top of the container; as they grow, you can raise the height of the light. The stand can be set on a tabletop or on the floor.

Want to build this stand?

November 2005 - A Visit to Life Care Center of Acton

As part of a Thanksgiving garden therapy session at Life Care Center of Acton, the Junior Gardeners met at Carol Matson's home to create dried arrangements for the residents and the afternoon before Thanksgiving the Jr. Gardeners met at the Life Care Center and assisted the residents with fresh floral arrangements.

September 2005 - Bulb Planting at the Acton Arboretum

The Junior Gardeners met at the Acton Arboretum on a picture perfect late September day to interplant fragrant daffodils in the Daylily Collection. The new Narcissus collection includes five varieties: white Narcissus 'Thalia', recurving Narcissus 'Pheasant's Eye', double Narcissus 'Cheerfulness', jonquil Narcissus 'Quail', and early Narcissus 'February Gold'. They were planted in single variety clumps of nine between the entire stretch of daylilies along the stone wall on Taylor Rd. The 500 bulbs will bloom from March through May.

Gardening with Young People

The Gardening with Young People program has been activated in rotation with the Junior Gardener program. Four times per year, different groups of young people from the Acton-Boxborough community are invited to participate in a hands-on educational project involving the following interests: horticulture, floral design, conservation, civic beautification and garden therapy. The Gardening with Young People committee provides assistance and funding, if necessary. In the past, the committee has worked with cub scouts, brownies, schools, and the Acton Memorial Library Children's department. Although our Gardening with Young People program is currently inactive, we hope to renew this program in the near future.

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