Posts Tagged ‘Fresno’

Poppy killers!

   I am so bummed. We have been hand-watering little sites in front of my school to support California poppy growth in this year of little water. We only have an hour a week on gardening, so we want results with that little time. The California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica, is our state flower, and it’s part of 4th grade California history. During spring break, a grounds maintenance person wiped them out like they were weeds. They were still blooming! We never made it to see the seed heads spring open, scattering seed everywhere. Argh!!!


California poppies, from the wikipedia commons files.

    I guess we need to add a sign: “Rake Around Poppies,” “Let Us Live!”, “No Poppy Killers” — I could go on but I won’t! Or I move on to focusing on another area of school less likely to be messed with. This didn’t happen last year, and I will find out why. It’s so frustrating to hear from my principal about how he loves our attempts to beautify our campus, and then in one week of vacation it’s wiped out! Or I combat it with the biggest poppy seed planting ever in fall of 2015!  gives you the details on the California history link.


Gardening Elective Coming to Starr!

Next week I start teaching a gardening elective two mornings a week at Starr Elementary in Fresno. I’m so excited to be able to bring my hobby into the classroom, and to bring my classroom outside some of the time. If you have thoughts on what activities will work in my narrow 30 minute time frame, please share. I also will be teaching a journalism/blogging elective two days a week, so posting will be more regular. It’s been tough taking on this class mid-September, but I’m loving it. Starting gardening when we’re in fall and almost winter will be interesting.

State schools superintendent to speak at Cultivating Health Central Valley schools summit

Will I see you Sept. 16 at this event in Fresno? The Healthy School Summit – Cultivating Healthy Central Valley Schools will feature keynote speaker Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction. Check it out. Obesity among school children is a serious problem.

I look forward to finding out what role school gardens might have in addressing this problem. Others who would be interested: school personnel such as nurses, cafeteria managers, teachers and beyond; school board, community, youth and PTA leaders; and of course, farmers and growers. It’s an all-day 9:30-4 event.

This event is presented by the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program and funded by The California Endowment. RSVP requested by Sept. 12.

Organic farmer to speak at Community Gardening Conference

Don't forget to RSVP

Tom Willey will be the guest speaker at conference Sept. 3.

Tom Willey, of T&D Willey Farms, will be the lead speaker at the upcoming Community Garden Conference Sept. 10 in Fresno. Tom and Deneese run a 75-acre farm in Madera, according to their website They have been farming since 1980 and their farm became a certified organic operation in 1987. One look at their plantings, click the Year-Round Crops button to the left, reveals a diverse collection that follows the Mediterranean seasons of the San Joaquin Valley. I look forward to hearing what he has to say. Other topics will include starting a community garden, planning a plot, and keeping a school garden. We’ll also tour the Peach Community Garden. Bring your cameras in case you see an idea you’d like to steal or a plant you’d like to grow!

Fresno gardening conference coming up

An organizer for The Giving Garden at Fresno’s Rata High School will be one of the guest speakers at the upcoming Community Garden Conference. The event on Sept. 10 will be held at Sunnyside High School in Fresno, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunnyside High is at 1019 S. Peach, south of Kings Canyon Road. Best of all, admission is free! How many educational opportunities are free anymore?

at Sunnyside High School

Hope to see you there Sept. 10!

I checked out some youtube video from the first garden conference, hosted by the Fresno Community Garden Coalition, a project of Fresno Metro Ministry. Looked like a promising beginning. Attendance appeared to be a little light in the video. Maybe this year it will catch on. I hope to be there and hook up with some inspired school gardening connections for my future job (thinking positive!).

As I cruise the web looking at school gardens elsewhere, we here in Fresno have some catching up to do! Rata High’s garden shows just how beautiful a school garden can be — beyond rows of raised beds. I’m looking forward to learning more new about other community gardening efforts in Fresno at this community gardening conference.

One stylish school garden in Fresno

Vegetables are coming in and The Giving Garden at Rata High in Fresno is just getting greener. Makes me smile every time I pass it. Take a look at their latest photos if you want to see what a stylish school garden can look like.  Not sure what I’ll be doing by August because like so many other teachers, I’ve been laid off. Several irons in the fire. Meanwhile, I stop and smell the …. vegetables.

Garden designed for disabled students

Excited parents can get a lot done working together. They are the impetus behind the new Giving Garden at Rata High School in Fresno, just down the street from me. Check out this Fresno Bee story, Once the garden grows in a little more, I hope to post a few pix of features that would work for any school garden. They had an architect design theirs, and some parents do the pitching to sponsors for the project.

The parents did a great job, and you can talk to them on Facebook, It’s one of the most lovely designs I have seen, and I have toured several school gardens in Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Riverside and now Fresno. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something inspiring in this story like I do.  🙂

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