Looking for some feedback - our school's native garden

rutgers1(6NJ)

The following is a Native American themed garden (The Lenape lived here in New Jersey) that I created with my elementary school class a few years ago. Last year, we added many native plants. I am excited about working to expand it this year. Your thoughts are appreciated!

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I think your unknown plant is jewelweed (impatiens capensis).

Aster, is spelled with an "e". If you are doing a school project you might want to make sure you get the spelling right. :-)

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Iris GW

Good for you guys! The two unknowns that you have are Solidago (Goldenrod) with the Aster and Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), both of them very nice native plants.

Is this garden in full sun?

Here is a link that might be useful: Nature's Poison Ivy remedy - jewelweed

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kwoods(Cold z7 Long Is)

Nice!

Incorporate some stuff that butterflies like and the kids will probably love it. Coreopsis, Echinacea, Monarda didyma, Asclepias all come to mind. They would create some year round interest as well... add a birdfeeder and attract native birds. Gold finches are fattening up on all my seedheads right now. Helianthus annuus (Sunflowers) would be fun and in keeping with the Native American theme as well.

Good luck! You're doing a great thing for the kids!

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Nice idea. I would probably include important food plants to the Lenape if that is your theme. I'm sure wild strawberries and raspberries would be included and are appropriate for gardens. You could also include any plants they cultivated as well. You would have to do some research there to see what they grew or picked from wild plants.

The peoples that lived here in Western NY were the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois). Beans, corn, and squash were very important food plants to them. There is a state historical site not far from where I live that is where a major settlement of the Seneca (one of the Haudenosaunee people) was. At the site they have a food demonstration garden (corns, beans, squash, etc.), a medicinal plant garden, and an ethnobotanical hiking trail. The ethnobotanical trail has metal plaques that focus on a specific useful or medicinal wild plant. Each plaque has an illustration, names (English and Seneca), and as uses for the plant. I included a link to the historical site I mentioned.

-FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Ganondagan State Historical Site

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rutgers1(6NJ)

Thanks for the feedback - and help with the identification.

It does get a lot of sun. A few of the plants didn't do well, and I assume it was because of the sun issue. We have had the village for a few years now, but only planted the native plants at the very end of the school year last year. A gentleman from the Native Plants Society of New Jersey was kind enough to let me come down and take some plants from his property, and I planted them and labeled them to the best of my ability. Then school ended. Next month I hope to get back out there, research everything, and make sure that I know what is going on out there.

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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

If you have some space I'd consider Jerusalem Artichoke. This is a very confusingly named native sunflower that I have heard was grown by native americans, and actually spread around the eastern half of the continent by humans. The roots are the edible part of the plant. one great thing about this plant is that it is in spectacular bloom with hundreds of 3 inch sunflowers in september when school is returning to session. it is a large plant, at least 6 feet tall and spreading to form a large clump, but durable and easy to grow. I have no idea why it is called jerusalem artichoke - not from jerusalem, not anything like an artichoke.

The yellow plant next to the aster is a goldenrod, probably solidago canadensis. This is a great plant for attracting butterflies in the fall and is very easy to grow, durable (kids won't easily kill it), and spread to for a clump.

The mystery plant with orange flowers is jewelweed - impatiens capensis. Jewelweed is considered a treatment for poison ivy - you break the stems and spread the juice on the poison ivy rash. jewelweed is an annual plant that should return from seed in the spring - look for seedlings in april and may. It does best in a moist area.

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Iris GW

The wikipedia has the explanation of the name for Jerusalem artichoke that I've heard in the past.

Here is a link that might be useful: Read the Etymology section

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Wikipedia has the history for the Jerusalem Artichoke name. I included the link below. Jerusalem artichoke can spread and do get quite tall but they were an important foodstuff as well as being a beautiful blooming plant. They would be a nice addition to the back of your garden.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Jerusalem Artichoke

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terrene(5b MA)

THe garden looks terrific! I love it. It looks very natural and the wood you've used is very attractive and works really well with the split rail fence. Perhaps you could do a project with the kids to make a trellis, maybe a teepee trellis, out of natural wood and grow a native vine up it?

Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is an annual that will reseed and is favored by Hummingbirds. According to Wikipedia "The seed pods are pendant and have projectile seeds that explode out of the pods when they are lightly touched, if ripe, which is where the name touch-me-not comes from". Maybe that's something the kids would enjoy doing.

Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and Jeruselam artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) are both aggressive growers so they need lots of room. You might want to move the Goldenrod towards the back of the garden. Helianthus gets huge but what a beauty it is in bloom! They both attract lots of bees and butterflies.

Here is a picture of Jerusalem artichoke I took at a farmstand -

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bob64(6)

I love the garden and I love the concept. I think the corn, beans, squash combo is sometimes referred to as a "three sisters" garden. Your students are lucky to have you. Goldenrod is relatively easy to keep going (sometimes too easy), jewel weed does well at reseeding itself around here. I believe that jewel weed seeds are edible but doublecheck that before testing it on a kid. Plants that bloom while school is still in session would be good for this garden. The wood asters are in bloom now here in NY. Early spring bloomers include blood root (for shady areas). The american native version of cranberry shrubs and blueberry shrubs might be nice. If you can get the native version of strawberries they would make a nice ground cover in places.

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rutgers1(6NJ)

I just picked up some blueberry shrubs, low growing. I also got some native roses. Unfortunately, they are both at school, so I don't know the exact names.

Will jewelweed reseed if the area around it is mulched?

We have an area of bulbs in the back of the garden that was there before we started this up. I was thinking of taking the bulbs out since they are not native. At the very least, I would like to plant a bunch of different flowers - perhaps something like the jerusalem artichoke. The area is about 5 feet wide by 25 feet long. I am new at this, so this might be a stupid question, but is there a mixture of seeds that I could put back there so that the section will flower with different flowers from spring through late fall? I am picturing a SPLASH of color, with a bunch of different types of flowers. The rest of the garden is somewhat compartmentalized, with a certain type of flower taking up a specific place. However, for that spot, I would love to just make it a mish-mosh of flowers. Is this possible?

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

The jewelweed should reseed if mulched. Nature mulches with fall leaves... and plants still reseed.

I probably wouldn't remove the bulbs. They can grow in amongst the natives. The bulbs are up and blooming long before most natives are. The blubs are done blooming around the time the natives start.

You can buy pre-mixed seed mixes that are selected particularly to provide blooms throughout the seasons. I would recommend that you look at the various seed mixes available at Prairie Nursery, Ion Exchange Nursery and Prairie Moon Nursery. All three have web sites and deliver seed mixes via mail order.

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rutgers1(6NJ)

joepyeweed...Thank you so much for the suggestion. I am headed to those site now!

Today, we planted 50 bearberry plants in the front of the school. There is an area in the front where erosion is impacting us big time. The sandy soil is washing down onto a frequently used pathway, and from there it hits the playground. Over the next year, my goal is to plant many native plants, and perhaps a few non-natives, to help control the erosion.

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