Ashcroft CiB plants flowers and seeds of knowledge

Communities in Bloom members work in the gardens as well as in the local schools.

Ms. Marlow’s Grade 1 class at Ashcroft Elementary School planting sunflowers and potatoes (and harvesting dandelions)

Ms. Marlow’s Grade 1 class at Ashcroft Elementary School planting sunflowers and potatoes (and harvesting dandelions)

The Ashcroft Communities in Bloom group has been very busy over the past month. Flowers have been planted in the barrels in the downtown area and the planters at the historic firehall are filled with annuals ready to burst into full bloom.

Once again, our group is working with various classes at Ashcroft Elementary School and introducing them to the joy of planting and growing vegetables. Ms. Marlow’s Grade 1 class have planted sunflower seeds as well as potatoes. The potatoes are grown under a thick layer of straw and the plants will eventually poke their leaves through while the potatoes form underneath. In the fall, students will remove the layer of straw and collect the potatoes beneath.

Ms. Mulholland’s Grade 4/5 class potted tomato plants last week and took them home to care for them.  The tomatoes are started in the Walker’s greenhouse and then transplanted into four inch pots. When established in the small pots, they are taken to the school along with large two gallon pots and soil.

Students are instructed on how to transplant the tomatoes into the large pots and are given information on the growing and care of the tomatoes. Students are then allowed to take their plants home where they can keep them in the pots or transplant them into their home garden if they have one.

Students who participated last year were eager to share how they took care of the plants and harvested wonderful, tasty tomatoes.

Both these projects have a dual purpose in that they have a history component. Ms. Kathy Paulos from the Ashcroft Museum will be invited to speak to both classes on the history of tomatoes and potatoes in Ashcroft.

Communities in Bloom were pleased to be able to work with the Village of Ashcroft to complete the lovely new planter at the north end of Heritage Park. Where there was once a long row of cedar trees there is now a brick planter filled with daylilies, burgundy barberries and blue oat grass. The striking contrast in colours will be a great compliment to the various colours of blooms that the daylilies will produce. Ashcroft Village council recently proclaimed the daylily as the “official flower of Ashcroft.”  The daylily is a good choice as it is a plant that is showy both when in bloom or not, has many different varieties, tolerates our hot, dry climate and thrives with little or no maintenance.

Communities in Bloom is now in the preparation stages for the judges visit in mid July. We are competing once again in the National component of the competition and are working hard at improving our standing from last year.

Andrea Walker