Season blooms at youth garden Monday

POULSBO — Birds, butterflies and even a chance to have tea with Peter Rabbit are on the slate as the Raab Park Youth Garden prepares to kick off its eighth season of offering local kids green thumb fun.

The garden, created through a partnership by Washington State University Extension Master Gardeners and Poulsbo Parks and Recreation, is open to the public year round. But Mondays during the summer, kids and parents are invited into the space for stories, learning, crafts and lunch. Kids’ events at Raab begin June 28 and anywhere from 50-100 children are expected to visit on any given Monday, said Master Gardener and Raab Park volunteer Sandy Bochonok. During the summer of 2003, 515 kids and 316 adults attended the Monday programs.

“It’s going to be a wonderful summer for children who really enjoy the public park, who might not have a lot of money and who want an opportunity to learn about gardening,” Bochonok said.

This year’s Raab Park Youth Garden schedule is:

•June 28 — Welcome to the Garden and Peter Rabbit Tea Party, bring a plate of cookies or snacks to share and a small container with a drainage hole to plant a miniature Peter Rabbit garden

•July 5 — Stepping Stone Day, bring a disposable pie or cake pan and small decorative bits to make stepping stones to take home and for the garden, $1 materials fee per child

•July 12 — Butterflies in the Garden, learn about the fascinating world of butterflies and moths and help make signs for the garden and to take home

•July 19 — Herb Day, explore the world of herbs and go on a herbal mystery tour, then use wire, twine and beads to create garden decorations for the garden and to take home.

•July 26 — Winter Vegetables, learn about veggies that are harvested in the winter but are planted in the summer and plant up a pot of winter vegetables to take home while helping the youth garden plant its winter crop

•Aug. 2 — Water Wise Plants, learn how plants store energy and water and help add plants to the garden’s water wise area, create your own porous pots and plant water wise plants to take home, $1 materials fee per child

•Aug. 9 — Birds, Bird Feeders and Bird Houses, birds are an important part of our garden, build bird feeders and houses for the garden and to take home, $1 materials fee per child

•Aug. 16 — Art in the Garden with Jean and Bob Webb

•Aug. 23 — Bog Garden, Jan Bahr from Roadhouse Nursery will tell kids about water-loving plants and how to build bog gardens. Bring money to purchase plants and a container without drainage holes, or a container with drainage holes and a saucer

•Aug. 30 — Native Plants and Harvesting the Garden, participants will go on a nature walk to learn about native plants and harvest the garden to donate to Fishline Food Bank

Events take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the garden at Raab Park and are free unless otherwise noted. Participants should bring a sack lunch and wear gardening clothes.

The youth garden events are hosted by Master Gardeners and community volunteers from sources like the Poulsbo Garden Club and local nurseries. Peg Tillery, Horticulture Coordinator for the WSU Kitsap Extension is one of the handful of people who have been involved in the garden since its inception in the summer of 1997 and said it has become a real community resource. She added that she’s looking forward to the next season and getting to meet new parents and kids.

“Now, the families that were with us in 1997 are grown and we’re getting a whole new crop of kids and families,” Tillery said.

Besides an educational session about outdoor topics and a make-and-take craft project, each Monday will also include free time for parents and children to explore the garden and get their hands dirty. Kids can water, weed and even help plant veggies in the “Plant a Row” section.

“And at the end of the summer series, we’re going to harvest all of the produce and make a field trip to Fishline to donate them,” Bochonok said.

All children attending Monday activities must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, or to RSVP to bring a group of five or more children, call Poulsbo Parks and Recreation at (360) 779-9898.

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