The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

July 30, 2013

Children learn about gardening

BY JENNIFER BAILEY jbailey@dancomnews.com
Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Children’s garden club members saw more fruits of their labor and patience on Monday outside the Danville Public Library.

Raised beds featuring different themes, such as the Pizza Garden and Butterfly Garden, make up the Children’s Wonder Garden located on the west side of the library.

Club members, mostly around the ages of 6 to 12, found one red ripe tomato, but the rest remained green.

That didn’t bother 10-year-old Caden Rodriguez. He said he likes the green tomatoes, particularly fried green tomatoes.

“It’s good. It’s delicious,” he said.

Another little gardener, Kole Hile, 6, said he loves watermelon.

“It’s all I eat,” he said about summer eating.

A green caterpillar also attracted the children’s attention Monday morning on one of the plants.

This is the second year for the Garden Club at the library. The club runs year round. During the summer, the club meets on Monday mornings. When school starts back, the club meets during afternoons. The club also still meets about once a month during the winter.

Lisa Abdelghani, Master Gardener and Children’s Department assistant, oversees the club.

Other Master Gardeners and volunteers help out too, such as by reading stories and talking and working with the children.

The children have had fun this summer planting all sorts of herbs and vegetables, such as thyme, oregano, pineapple sage, parsley, basil, eggplant, pumpkins, watermelon, peppers and squash.

When asked what the children do with what comes out of the garden, they said “we will eat it.”

Rodriguez said he and his siblings have taken home a zucchini, cucumber and other things such as a spider plant.

“You guys have done a wonderful job,” said visitor Susan Biggs Warner, who works with the Vermilion County Conservation District.

The children also have created journals to record what they’ve been doing, such as planting the seeds and watering the plants and flowers.

Abdelghani teaches the children how to plant, nurture and harvest the fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs.

“I always tell the kids they’re scientists,” Abdelghani said.

“The more you trim the herbs, the better they grow really,” she told the children.

The garden’s raised beds and materials were donated by the Master Gardeners and others.

The Danville Library Foundation helped the garden receive a National Gardening Association grant.

The grant is one of 10 awarded from 500 applicants from 12 Midwestern states.

The $1,000-valued award included vegetable and herb plant starts, classroom items, tool package and money for soil.