When Peterson reopened in 1997, we had a dream to add a garden to our campus. Soon, that dream became a reality through a Girl Scout Gold Award project. By the end of the first year, our Kindergarten children enjoyed a delicious salad made from the lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, and carrots they planted. The last planting of the year was pumpkin seeds so the next class would have the excitement of picking their pumpkins from the vines in October. The garden and its flowers quickly became a favorite of the children. They added live worms and ladybugs from their “hands on” Science units, and learned why the worms and lady bugs are important for the garden. The children left Kindergarten with the fondest of memories!
During the 2004-2005 school year, a Peterson parent took the original “garden dream” and expanded it to encompass a teaching garden with something for every grade level. Each classroom designed a stepping stone tile to add interest to the garden. A delightful mural was painted by a parent as a backdrop for the cutting flowers planted by the first graders. An area was set aside and planted with many butterfly enticing flowers, and it is not unusual to see a dozen or so butterflies “dancing" among the colorful plants. It is a perfect place for our second graders to release the butterflies that they have studied in Science. An herb garden was added which adds the perfect “seasoning.” In addition, California plants and State flowers are added yearly by our upper grade classes. A beautiful tree provides a wonderful shaded place for classes to read together or enjoy a nature lesson in the garden.
Parents continue to volunteer their time and energy to care for our garden, so our garden is not only a place of beauty but continues to be a place of learning. This has not been a forgotten project and continues to evolve. Most recently, our garden gazebo was remodeled as an Eagle Scout Project. Peterson’s students and staff thank the many parents who “man” our garden. They can be seen watering, trimming, planting, or weeding our garden. Best of all, they sometimes take a break and just sit and enjoy the beauty that surrounds them.