Growing and learning | February 26, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - February 26, 2010

Growing and learning

Education — through classes or demonstration plantings — plays a large role at Gamble Garden

Education is a strong part of Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden's mission of serving the public, and learning is neatly entwined throughout its programs.

Classes are offered regularly on gardening or cooking in the Carriage House. Most fill quickly. Additional lectures have been scheduled in honor of Gamble's 25th anniversary(see sidebar).

Roots and Shoots, an intergenerational gardening program, brings Walter Hays Elementary School third-graders to the garden each week during the school year to grow vegetables with older volunteers. For the kids — the shoots — it's a science and nutrition lesson; for the adults — the roots — it's a chance to connect with the upcoming generation and pass on knowledge.

The planting beds serve as a silent educational component of the garden, with many of the plants carefully labeled, and visitors encouraged to stroll through and jot down the name of plants that thrive in this area.

While some beds hark back to Miss Gamble's day, such as the heritage iris bed or the cutting gardens, others represent plants that thrive in a Mediterranean climate or focus on native plants.

Gamble's latest demonstration bed, made possible by a recent gift, offers drought-resistant plantings.

"Many people who want to redo their gardens come here for ideas," noted Vanessa Roach, Gamble's executive director.

Beds are rotated and replanted to reflect changes in gardening trends.

"We want to be in the forefront of environmentally sound garden practices. We set an example," Karen Olson, former Gamble Garden president, added. That's partly why two water-efficient gardens have been added to this year's spring fundraising tour.

An added component is the horticultural library, which was organized by retired professional librarians. It's open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Books may be used on site.

UC Master Gardeners are at Gamble every Friday morning to answer horticultural questions — often dipping into those books for answers.

Nearby retirement communities schedule docent-led garden tours, which can be arranged with a minimum of eight people at $5 apiece.

— Carol Blitzer


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Registration now open

Sign up for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here