Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pitt River's Front Garden - formerly a Green Games Project



I wanted to let the photos speak for themselves, but I think some clarification is necessary. Just imagine, that I used to think the "Before" picture was ugly!
The school is  going to be demolished after the new school building is complete, around September, 2013. This, of course, really limits what kinds of gardening projects you can undertake. I had wanted my Green Team to work on beautifying the front garden, so that the school would look more welcoming during this awkward phase. This section of the front garden was in question, since the part of the building in the background was slated for demolition. When it was decided to keep that section intact, the garden seemed safe for another two years.

The frustrations, aside from the obvious?

1. It wasn't easy to get the grant to buy the plants - the money came in around June 28, last year.
2. Getting the plants - one Rona location offered me a really good discount, but they're an hour's drive from home, and my trunk doesn't actually hold very many plants.
3. Only having my student gardeners for a 25 minute block really made it hard to get the plants in. 
4. The principal found out late on a rainy, Friday afternoon. There was no time to dig up the plants and relocate them, or store them to be replanted next week.

Obviously, my disappointment outweighs both the cost of the flowers and the time to plant them. The hardest part will be facing the kids on Monday. 


The trees came down on Saturday. I went back on Sunday to see if they'd removed the debris, but it was still there. So, Monday morning, I took the Green Team out to survey the wreckage. By the end of Monday, the debris had been cleared, and the stumps removed. It was actually worse than I'd expected. The few flowers on either sides of the trees are fine, but I don't think anything in the disaster zone can be saved. The stump removal was something I hadn't anticipated - I'd thought the worst would come from the work boots of the clean up crew. I really hadn't pictured the ground getting torn up the way it did. The kids and I will have to discuss moving the survivors to a better spot tomorrow.

Another P. S.

Friday morning: The Green Team and I went out to water the salvaged and replanted flowers. We had moved them to the lower garden which seemed like it would be left alone. A student reported that "they" were removing more trees outside. Water buckets in hand, we went out to investigate. Sure enough, some younger trees were being removed (they will be replanted somewhere else to save them from what's next). What's next? It seems that the front garden area will be redone by the construction company (or someone). Anything we have planted was wasted. Wasted time. Wasted effort. Wasted money.

A little bird told me that the courtyard is next... and since the whole thing will be demolished eventually, the word was "salvage what you can". But not 'when'. I have more to say... it won't be posted here. 

The continuing saga of the garden: very late in June, the excavator dropped by...
Hopefully, the next picture has something "green" in it.

11 months later. Still waiting.


  1. What a horrible thing to happen....I am so sorry. I know that it is difficult to get these things going, and then to lose the garden so my mind, though, I see an excellent opportunity to talk about development and loss of environment on a bigger scale and looking towards the future with the new school.

    1. I was hoping that I would be able to report on teachable moments, and lessons learned... not yet. With today's complications, it's gotten a little harder. Maybe next week.

  2. From another colleague in the same district:

    That is SO very disheartening! I can empathize completely! Our school did a "greening the grounds" project years ago and parents got in and helped plant little trees and plants etc. After several years, the District went to redo the front of the school for the new driveway, and virtually the same thing happened. We asked if we could remove the plants and trees ourselves ahead of time... they said that would violate union rights. We asked if groundskeepers were going to save the plants... they said it would cost too much and wouldn't be worth it. Quite demoralizing!!!