Springing Forward With Gardening at NKE

As I write this, spring fever is setting in and plans for spring gardening are in motion. What a relief after another Wisconsin winter! Seeing the daffodils pushing up through the crunchy brown leaves always seems like a miracle.

At NKE, gardening actually started in March, as groups of students from third and fourth grades did a “winter sowing” project in which seeds are planted in soil in milk jugs, then set outside in the snow. The kids were super enthusiastic about getting their hands in the dirt, planting the seeds and then being set loose in the Arboretum to trod through the snow and place the milk jugs in the sun. Thanks go out to NKE parent Anne Michels for organizing and leading this project! Keep an eye on our Facebook page to see what comes to life in our milk jugs.

Our first NKE Arboretum volunteer party is planned for Saturday, April 25, from 1–4 p.m. Traditionally this is our spring cleanup day, when we rake out beds and tidy up the space. This year some other things on our docket include pulling the (invasive) garlic mustard, installing fronts on our compost bins made out of repurposed wooden pallets, hooking up our rain barrels again (we certainly hope any freezing weather is over by then!) and digging out the area for our new rain garden.

Several people have asked me what a rain garden is. Basically it’s a shallow depression planted with native plants that have extremely deep root systems. Typically you put a rain garden in a place where you want to capture rainwater, diverting it from going down a storm drain. Those deep roots absorb an amazing amount of rain water. This is ideal for a place like the NKE Arboretum, where a large volume of water comes off the roof and causes water problems for the surrounding building.

We’ll hope to see you at our spring volunteer party—come for the whole time or drop in for a half hour. Bring your kids and your work gloves. It’s always fun to see the progress and meet other school families.

As always, you can keep tabs on our progress at www.nkearboretum.org and our Facebook page. Happy spring, and happy planting!

Copyright © Netherwood Knoll Arboretum
Visit Us On Facebook