One of the many things that I enjoy about my job is when I am asked to visit school gardens.

You can read about a previous school garden visit here.


Yesterday, I was asked to come to my daughter, Gracie’s, class to talk about what I do as a horticulturist.  


As I’ve shared before, Gracie has autism.  She and the other kids in her class have been learning about gardening, which includes having their own school garden.


The kids were so excited to show me what they were growing.


Healthy, green tomato plants were laden with new fruit that the kids took the time to show me.  Even though they were hidden underneath the foliage and still green, they knew where each new tomato was.

Gracie was anxious to show me a young squash growing.


The only red tomato in the garden took center stage.


In addition to growing plants, the kids were also learning how to compost, which they will use to help enrich the soil around their garden.


At the end of the garden plot, was a grove of struggling citrus trees along with a few grape vines.

The teachers and class had just inherited this neglected citrus grove and wanted to learn how to care for them.


Despite years of neglect, the trees were still had some fruit.


An old grapevine was growing into the grapefruit tree and Gracie had to show me the lone cluster of grapes growing on it.


Finally, the kids showed me their new peach tree, which they earned the money to buy from their  recycling efforts.  

The peach tree will be the first, of hopefully many new fruit trees, that will line the walk to the garden.


I had a wonderful time with the kids and found myself teaching the teachers how to care for their new garden.
Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

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