Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Many students and staff have tried and failed to keep this garden going
in memory of our beloved 8th grade science teacher Virginia (Gin) Wildman Pooler.
She taught at Whitney from 1976 to 2000,
and was a favorite of all our students.
Cancer took her way too early.
You will find the Memorial Garden at the South entrance to our school 
and the students pass it every morning on their way in.
It is especially lovely right now because of the care senior Saumitra Kelkar has put into it
with Advisor and Science teacher Aileen Perry,
one of Gin's former students.
The plans for this garden were formulated in 2014 
and planting started last school year in 2015.
Saumitra wanted it to be a Wildlife Garden for Butterflies and Hummingbirds,
something Gin would have loved.
Saumitra has been so successful 
that this garden has been certified by the University of  Kansas as a Monarch Waystation.
Everyday we see so many beautiful butterflies coming in and out 
as well as hummingbirds galore.
It is also a refuge for wasps, insects and lizards.
The Loquat Tree is the only surviving plant that was left in this garden when Saumitra took over.
It's fruit is ripe and ready for picking.
I may have swiped a few the other day.

This last week we had a delightful surprise. 
The students counted 15 caterpillars munching down on several of the milkweed plants.
They decimated them in one day and then disappeared.
I was able to capture them while there were a few leaves left on the plant.  :)
They were huge and so vividly striped.
A close up of the wildflower seed mix that Sametra spread throughout the garden.
And an even closer look at the variegated nasturtiums that grab my eye every time I walk by.

Saumitra knows the Latin and common names for all the plants in his garden.
He told this is Lupine and one of his favorites.
These are just starting to pop up and bloom.

The best part about this garden 
is that other students have started to become interested in tending this garden with Saumitra.
Everyday on my way to and from the office I see kids looking for bugs,
waiting to see if a certain flower has opened,
helping with the watering and weeding.
It has become a community effort.
Thank you Saumitra.
I know Gin would love it and given it her blessing.

1 comment:

  1. This is an amazingly large area to tend! Of course, I'm partial to wildflowers in general and milkweed in particular, so I can't imagine a better choice for planting. Kudos to Saumitra and hopes that his good example will be followed next year.