Pleasant Plains, how does your garden grow? [Loch Raven]

The halls of Pleasant Plains Elementary School might be quiet this summer but there's activity outside in the gardens! Actually, 176 square yards of activity in four elevated garden beds with both flowers and vegetables. The entire garden is bordered with colorful annual and perennial flowers native to Maryland.

The school has had a learning flower garden for over 15 years, in which teachers could organize a small independent garden project. But this year, the school kicked it up a notch. Because they were working to become a Maryland Designated Green School, they undertook the project to make the gardens a place where students could better learn about gardening and growing and eating healthy foods, while doing their part to help the environment.


The project was supported by financial contributions from surrounding communities, donations or help from Home Depot, two Target stores and Walmart. Various families undertook the job of constructing the raised beds as well as other chores necessary before the actual sowing of seeds could happen. Then, more than 250 people including students, staff, parents and community members helped with the planting, watering and weeding of the garden during the school year. Finding volunteers through the summer has been more of a challenge, so new volunteers from the community would be welcomed. Persons interested in volunteering can go to the Pleasant Plains Elementary School website and click the link on the lower right of the home page to learn about volunteer opportunities in the garden during August.

This year they planted tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins and squash, as well as flowers. To further educate students as well as any adults who are interested, plans are in the works to host a gardening workshop outside of the school day.


And their hard work paid off — not only in the vegetables and flowers they've harvested but in May, they were notified the school had qualified as a Maryland Designated Green School. An article in the school's summarized "getting the designation shows recognition of our school's hard work and efforts in reducing waste such as water, paper, electricity, and food, and increasing awareness in the environment for our students by learning about native animals and plants, Maryland habitats and waterways."

Next year, they hope to raise additional funds to cover projects such as birdhouses, garden stepping stones, recycling posters, and tree/plant identification plates.

Nicholas Linehan, vice president of the Associates of Loch Raven Village, no longer has kids at the school; nevertheless, he helps with the garden.

"Loch Raven Village and Knettishall enthusiastically support the garden but more importantly Pleasant Plains Elementary School and the garden is a gateway for the residents who may or may not have school age children to connect with and support their neighborhood school.

"However, Pleasant Plains Elementary School is the real garden! It is a best kept secret garden, nurturing students so they can grow their own futures."