The Cherokee Master Gardeners, along with some teachers and parents, are helping fourth- and fifth-grade students at the south Cherokee elementary school to get some lessons in gardening while beautifying the grounds.
This week, the Master Gardeners of Georgia contributed $700 to expand the gardens at the school. Russell Brannon, district director, presented the check to the group.
The project began in the summer of 2010 when two teachers and two parents from Little River Elementary School completed an intensive Master Gardener training course. They worked with school officials to submit a school garden proposal that was approved by the Cherokee County Schools Grounds Committee.
During the 2010-11 school year, parent, student and teacher volunteers and a Boy Scout troop changed a grassy, barren area into a garden. The work was supported totally by fundraising, including sponsorship of gardens by parents.
A parent contributed the material and hours of work to construct large stone planting areas for annuals and perennials.
The garden includes a butterfly garden, a bird garden, and a sensory garden. Three raised wooden boxes are the vegetable garden. A rock garden with miniature gardens in galvanized tubs will complete the plantings.
The Budding Gardeners Club began in the fall of 2011 under the leadership of three master gardeners, Laura Johnson, Nancy Joyner and Sherry Wileman. Fifteen fourth- and fifth-graders participate in eight meetings per school semester.
Cherokee Master Gardeners assist with the meetings and present topics of interest to the students. Additionally, the children gain hands-on experience in planting, maintaining and harvesting a vegetable garden.