Hopewell Elementary School (HES) Garden Club’s annual plant sale is TODAY Friday, May 9th from 3:30 until 5:00 p.m.
The HES Garden Club plant sale is one of two fundraisers per year raising money for seeds and supplies for the “Freddy’s Garden Parch” located on the parking-lot side of HES. The other yearly fundraiser is a bake sale in the fall.
In addition to profits from these fundraisers, the Garden Club also receives money through the PTO, some of which is from Hopewell Harvest Fair (HHF) grants. This past year, the HHF grant to the HES Garden Club paid for propagation mats, a new sink in the greenhouse, as well as a potting area with shelves. And, beyond monetary help, this spring, Hopewell Valley Girl Scout Junior Troop 70646 members, as part of their bronze award project, built benches for Freddy’s Garden Patch, donating their time and muscle, along with troop leaders Jen Stillitano and Colleen Azeez, and with the help of Glenn Swenson.
Dawn Wessler, volunteer gardener for the past 4 years, maintains the garden as well as teaching Garden Club programs. This year, there are 4 groups of Garden Club members, a total of 40 children. meeting every other week. The club program begins in the spring each year when members learn about planting seeds, composting, growing plants, watering and repotting. In the fall, club members learn about harvesting and fall planting. This summer, there will be a “summer workshop” allowing neighborhood families to water and tend to the growing plants and harvest whatever is in season.
The garden gives back in a variety of ways — educationally and nutritionally. “The children are afforded the opportunity to appreciate and excel in academics through real life, hands-on experiences in the garden,” stated Beth Perrino, HES PTO member and grant writer. The garden is also used during the day by teachers and students. Sometimes teachers connect observations in garden with a particular lesson; it is used for math lessons such as measuring water collection from receptacles placed in the garden, for science lessons about soil composition, plant parts and insect observation, and some teachers even take students into the garden for a change of scenery to read or write poetry and prose. Also, Wessler also explained that the garden is certified to allow certain items, such as herbs, grown in the garden to be used in food preparation at the school.
Plants available for purchase today include a variety of vegetable, herb and flowering plants will be available. All proceeds will go to upgrading the garden fence specifically to raise the height to prevent deer ravaging the garden.