Sunday, March 20, 2011

branch border

spring is here and it has been quite warm already! we have been digging in the earth at school and planning some extensive playground improvements. we had a parent work day this past week and will have another this coming weekend. one of the projects we completed recently was this lovely flower bed.
some of these bulbs were already here when we first moved in. some we have planted over the past couple of years. they spring right to life when the weather begins to shift despite the fact that they are rooted in firm red clay. i have wanted to give this bed a proper border for some time now.
one of our dad's built mini sawhorses and came to class to saw some maple branches with the children to get us started. there wasn't enough though and i squealed with delight when i found the perfect branches to complete the project on the side of the road in someone's discarded brush pile. i am not sure what kind they are (a type of birch??) but the bark is so, so smooth. matt came over and sawed them down to size for us (thank you doug and matt!!).
some mamas brought some grape hyacinths and some blooming ground cover to add to the bed and put some sweat equity into the project. a few of the children (including my own, given the many hours we spent here over the course of two days) enjoyed helping out, too.

to make the border sturdy took some serious work but the end result is charming. we dug a trench to embed the branch pieces, pounded them in with a mallet, pounded the mud back in on both sides, and then pounded some more! there is almost the same amount of each branch under the soil as there is sticking out. i added some clay soil conditioner in as mulch and to help break that clay down.
of course a sweet little gnome and fairy moved in right away! this colorful little gnome i found at the thrift store a few weeks ago and i was just itching to get this bed done so that he could find his new home. today was our first day back in class since he arrived and it was so fun to watch the children discover him and go over to greet him. ;)
this border mimics the sandbox on the other side of the playground. soon we will have more of the larger ones throughout the yard for walking and balancing on!

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