On Veteran’s Day, a wonderful group of 25 girl scouts, aged between 10-16, came to the garden and helped us to plant around 30 native plants in a new ‘native bed’ at the back of the garden. They donated the funds we used to purchase the plants (from Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay). At a follow-up meeting, the girls were asked for one word to describe the experience and they replied: “Fun, Enlightening, Interesting, and Hard Work”. We started the session by explaining why native plants are important (habitat and fodder for our endangered pollinators, help to form a drought tolerant ecosystem, and so on) and then we got to work clearing the area, digging holes, planting, and finally mulching to suppress weeds. The new bed will need to be watered sporadically during the coming year’s dry season, but will be left to its own devices afterwards.
Charlotte Kadifa, a Palo Alto Girl Scout SALT member wrote this piece to summarize the experience:
“The fourth annual Palo Alto Girl Scouts’ Service Day was held on Veterans’ Day, November 11th. Service Day is organized by our high school scouts’ Service and Leadership Team (SALT), of which I am a member. SALT partnered with six nonprofit organizations to provide volunteer opportunities on Veterans’ Day for 160 Girls Scouts ranging in age from 6 to 16 years old.
“For the second year, Common Ground Garden was one of the nonprofits with which we collaborated. In addition to SALT members, three troops of scouts (a total of 25 girls) volunteered at Common Ground Garden. Senior Troop 60648, Cadette Troop 60310, and Junior Troop 60518 spent the morning planting a native plant garden. The native plants were purchased for Common Ground by a grant to SALT from Silicon Valley Bank. Girl Scouts provided the “girl power” to plant them!
“On arriving at the garden, Emily and Paul explained to us how native plants are not only drought resistant but also help the environment by efficiently sequestering carbon.
“They taught us how to break up the hardened soil with a fork and dig with the spade shovel. The Junior Scouts hauled mulch by wheelbarrow for the new garden. The Cadette and Senior Scouts dug the holes for the five-dozen new plants at the designated locations in the garden bed. Older scouts and younger scouts partnered to add compost, place the plants in the new holes, and spread mulch around each plant. Six of us had the challenge of planting a three-foot-tall bush with spikey leaves that poked through jeans and work gloves. We handled it with the utmost care!
“Interspersed with the physical exertion, there were plenty of moments for examining rolly pollies, admiring the variety of shapes and colors of leaves and blossoms, and basking in the beauty and peacefulness of the shaded gardens.
“At the end of the morning, we all initialed a wooden plaque to commemorate our contribution to the project. It was very gratifying work to create a native plant garden that will be long lasting and provide educational opportunities for the greater community that Common Ground Garden serves.”
We at Common Ground Garden are very grateful to everyone who was involved in the project! So far, all of the plants are thriving 🙂