One More Rain Garden on its Way to Growing: A Day in the Planting of a Garden

By 9:30 in the morning at Thomas Chalmers Specialty School, it was about seventy degrees, sunny and beautiful. The week before, workers removed the slab of asphalt that covered about an 1800-square foot plot, now replaced by a thick patch of mulch—ready and waiting for planting. On this Friday morning in June, thirty-five 6th and 7th grade students joined Baxter International and CNT staff to plant the recreated space with 500 native plants. For a few students, this was even their very first time handling plants.

Principal Patricia Dossiea noted the swings that used to be there kept breaking so the space mostly existed for parking. She decided that a garden was a far better use than more parking, adding that the garden will be good for water drainage, and is a better view for the 1st, 6th and 7th graders who may look out their classroom windows.

Today, the area is re-established as a beautiful and productive green space. The east and west sides of the garden are anchored by two trees, allowing for partial shade. A bioswale resides near the east side tree. It is projected that in a heavy rain, the swale will be a place for the water to rest while waiting to seep into the land. This will help alleviate some stormwater issues for Chalmers and neighbors.

The students were eager to participate in the transformation. Led by their Science Teacher, the students met up with Baxter International and CNT staff to go over the plan for the day. The first order of business was to break into groups, led by Baxter International employees, and then carry the plants from the Possibility Place Nursery truck to the site. The group leaders had areas of the site designated as their planting zones. The students and the leaders found their plants, listed on the garden design plan, and the planting began!

The students helped rigorously plant, still maintaining their lively conversations and laugher. When CNT asked Principal Dossiea how she felt about the garden, she stated with a smile on her face, “Wonderful”.