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Burbank Gardens News

First grade students released their class butterfliesby Harriet Wong

The Burbank Garden Classroom and Vegetable Garden are beautiful and bountiful! 

We invite you to visit the new gardens, discover what has grown and changed since the spring, and enjoy them with your students/children. 

Thank you to everyone who helped water the young plants and keep them growing during the warm dry spring:  the fourth grade students and teachers, the BASEC gardening club led by Burbank alum Ross Hall, and the many Burbank families who volunteered.

By the end of June the new Garden Classroom had flowers blooming in the butterfly garden, leafy hosta under the trees and bright day lilies throughout. First grade students released their class butterflies and observed Black Swallowtail caterpillars in the parsley!

In the Vegetable Garden some radishes and greens were ready to eat in June! Families enjoyed a spinach and kale salad at the Fourth Grade BBQ. Colorful lilies planted by 4th graders bloomed along the edge of the garden. 

By July the corn and pole beans planted by 3rd grade students were starting to grow tall. Green tomatoes were appearing on tall plants in the first grade bed, and the basil, beets, and carrots planted by the 2nd grade were getting stronger. Marigolds and nasturtiums added a pop of color to the raised vegetable beds. 

Black Swallowtail caterpillars in the parsleyHuge thanks to the 20 families who joined our Summer Tending Team! These families watered the gardens for a week during the summer break. In July the weeds grew too, and we thank the volunteers for putting in extra time to keep them under control! We also thank Walker Thomas, our Eagle Scout volunteer, for touching up the Garden Classroom patio and path with another layer of stone dust. Teams of families worked in August to add new plants – donated as class gifts to teachers -- and make the gardens look their best for the start of school. Thank you volunteers! 

The purpose of the gardens is to engage children. We are thrilled that a group of BASEC Summer Camp students came to Burbank every week to observe and work in the garden. They pulled weeds, watered, and harvested what was ready. The campers were excited to taste blueberries and tomatoes, and to pick a bag of fresh greens to bring home!

Every two weeks through the summer the BASEC campers and some parent volunteers harvested vegetables for the Belmont Food Pantry. In July Burb

 included juicy tomatoes, carrots, and long pole beans. The Food Pantry is grateful for the fresh-picked organic produce to offer those in need.ank donated bunches of red chard, kale, a few lettuces and scallions, and some basil and parsley. Even some shiny eggplant and a bunch of beets!  August harvests

BASEC summer camp students picking kale in the Burbank vegetable garden

As we start the new school year, we can all look forward to enjoying the growth in the gardens.

The Garden Classroom has bright milkweed and aster, among other native flowers and shrubs. Spectacular butterflies have been spotted during the summer!  Look out for other pollinators in the flowers, and seed pods or other signs of fall.

The vegetable garden is at its best! The corn has flowers and ears, and the pole beans are climbing the corn stalks while large squash leaves shade the ground in the Native American “Three Sisters” scheme planted by the third grade. The “teepees” are covered with Scarlet Runner climbing beanstalks planted by Kindergartners, and the tomatoes are heavy on the plants. 

We invite you to come see for yourself! All are welcome to enter the gardens, and enjoy them with respect and care.

Enjoy a tour of the gardens!  Sunday, September 13, 11am-3pm, Burbank Gardens will feature in the annual Belmont Green Gardens Tour sponsored by the Green Alliance/Sustainable Belmont. 

During the school year, Burbank classes will be able to observe and use the gardens for hands on learning related to their curriculum.  BASEC after school groups will also continue with gardening activities.

Swallowtail Butterfly in the gardenHelp support the school gardens! There are many ways to get involved: 

  • Volunteer to help out with gardens/grounds cleanups in August, November, and April (dates TBA).
  • Help with watering and garden tending after school or evenings this fall. Watch for sign-ups in the PTA newsletter. 
  • Assist your child’s teacher/class with garden-based learning activities. If you can be an occasional Garden Volunteer, please let your class Room Parent or teacher know. 

Questions about the gardens or volunteer opportunities? Please email Harriet Wong hiwong@post.harvard.edu or Heather Barr heatherabarr@gmail.com).

We welcome your ideas and suggestions! 

Allergy concerns? The School Nurse has a list of all vegetables and herbs planted in the gardens. Please contact Ms. Blake or your child’s teacher if you have concerns about allergies or sensitivities.

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