Monday, June 13, 2011


Today Jenny Lee did her WISE presentation and I was the student evaluator, along with Erin Hoover.  I just wanted to make a blog post to shout out to Jenny- GREAT JOB!!!

I also wanted to reflect on the experience.  It was such an incredible help to watch Jenny do her presentation and see what comments she received about it.  I hope that this will enhance my presentation.  Here are a few things that I learned:
- What did I really learn about myself?  Add a deeper meaning, do not just skim the surface
- A lot of the process may be clear in my own head, but I must make an effort to articulate clearly to the audience what that process is
- Its fun to have the audience use their hands, or get engaged through a different variety of visuals
-Use movement and eye contact!!
- Be prepared and organized- because that really shows through in your presentation!
-Have an overview at the beginning of the slide show, to give the audience a sort of 'road map' of where I will take them during my presentation
- Good enunciation, take my time while speaking
-show your passion and confidence about your topic

End of the Year

I have to say, my blog is looking a little lonely now a days.
However, I met the minimum requirements for my number of entries.  And I have been blogging up until the last day of WISE class.  To be honest, I wasn't sure if I still had to blog after the day when our WISE class ended...but anyway, here is another post!!

This semester has been incredible in so many ways.  I have learned a lot about myself, and a lot about my community in just a few weeks.  I found it very satisfying to be given a project of my choice to focus on for the last semester and seeing where I take it.  And I definitely took it in several different directions.  I became a master composter, I became a Cayuga Landscape intern, I am designing a garden for the Ithaca Children's Garden, and I am a much larger contributor to my community.  These are the things that I have gained from my WISE experience that I am very proud of, and that I will never forget.

There are very few things about my WISE project that I regret.  There are some things that I wish had gone differently.  For one, I wish I had more time to focus on my project.  With other class work, and college applications, and Green Team, it was definitely a challenge to give my WISE project all the time that it needed and deserved.  Another thing that I wish that had gone differently is the arrangements with the Ithaca Children's Garden.  I am STILL waiting to her back from them about when I can begin my gardening.  This was one of the most discouraging parts of my project.  I have spent hours upon hours preparing plans for this garden, and now I feel as though I have been led on.  I truly hope that they still want me to continue with this garden.  I have been itching to actually create my own garden, and unfortunately now I will have to do that after the school year ends.

Although it is a little inconvenient still having to do a lot of English work after the school year ends, I am very glad that I took WISE.  I feel that WISE allowed me to explore not only a topic of my choice, but myself way more than another English class would of.
I have my presentation on Wednesday, and honestly, I am a little nervous.  But I know that it will go fine. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sample Presentation

Carrie Hasse bravely volunteered to due her presentation early, in order to show her fellow WISE students what a presentation should look like.  Overall, she did an excellent job.

Carrie's presentation was unique in the fact that it used very little visuals.  She had no power point, or posters, or anything.  She did show us the book that she writes her poetry in.  But other than that, she only spoke to the crowd.  This is a very risky move because it is more likely that she would lose the attention of the audience.  But Carrie's tone, movement, eye contact, and other tactics really enabled her presentation to be stimulating without any visuals. 

Carrie also did an excellent job of referring to research, and personal experiences all in her one presentation.  Carrie really set the bar high for the level of presentations.  I learned a lot about how the evaluating and presenting process is set up.  I am eager to get started on mine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Quick Update

Here is a quick update of what I have been up to...

I generated a list of what I would like for donations from places.  I am going to have Ms.G write me up a little letter that I will present to the places that I am asking donations from. 

Still no response from the Children's Garden.  I got their number tonight online, and I am going to call them tomorrow.

I have most of my ideas for the garden sketched, but they are not very pretty...

Tomorrow is the WISE sample presentation at the school at 6!

Monday, May 23, 2011


I realized that I haven't had a blog post to just vent about my project...

Well, there are some little things.  Like my inability to draw is making my sketches for the garden look kinda crappy.
The bigger problem, though, is the Children's Garden.  I have all of my plans ready to go and I want to move along with the garden project.  I have sent the Children's Garden a few e-mails, but I haven't gotten a response.  I know they are busy.  I am very anxious to keep going though, and I don't want to wait around much longer!

Phew...I feel a little better now.

Class Day 5/23

Today in class we did a 10-15 minute write about what we know now that we didn't know in September.  After that we talked about upcoming events.  Our last class is next Tuesday! yikes. Sitting there in class, I realized how important it was to me to attend as many WISE students presentations as possible.  I want to be able to see what my fellow students are doing.  Because soon I will be off to college, and I won't be able to see these kids everyday!

So anyway...Mrs.G wanted us to blog our What I know now that I didn't know in September.  So here it is!

I know now that there are so many community classes to get involved in, garden related classes.  I'm not sure if this abundance of classes is only available in my topic, or if other topics such as pottery and photo also have classes in great numbers.  I now know the importance of focusing on one task rather than trying to handle many.  If I could put all of my energy and effort into one project- it would be amazing.  I have found during my WISE project that I have so many great ideas, but my other focuses such as school and clubs keep me from totally excelling in one area.  I also know now a lot of WISE projects depend on other people and sources, in order to be finished.  For example, right now the way my project is going is being dictated by the Ithaca Children's Garden.  I know how to compost!!! I know that my project could have very easily been to become a master composter.  I know the importance of community contacts.  These people can be great resources.  I know now that every single person has their own ideas and motives and goals that they want to achieve.  And to make your ideas and motives and goals crystal clear to others is a very difficult task that demands the use of many different forms of communication.  Pictures, speech, body language, examples, metaphors, eye contact; and sometimes even then your ideas are still vague to others.  Maybe as vague as my last few sentences...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Research- Musical Plants

The following research/list comes from the book The 400 Best Garden Plants by Elvin McDonald.

Here is a list of musical plants that I found from the book.  Once I pick the flowers that I want to use, I will do further research.
-Coral Bells
-Angel/Devil Trumpet
-Million Bells
-Viola Pansy
-Eustoma; Texas Bluebell
-Chilean Bellflower
-Carpet Bugle
-Coral Bells
-Blue Trumpet Vine
-English bluebell
-Spanish Bluebell
-Temple Bells
-Silver Bell

Music Garden Now

Here are some picture of the Music Garden in its current state...

When standing looking at the garden, this is the area to the right.  In the background in a fence, with the treble and bass clefs made out of vine.  The large hump is covered in weeds, and underneath it is a plastic tube made into a tunnel. From the fence to the edge of the garden (so in this picture- from the fence to us) is 27 ft.  From the hump to the edge is 14 ft.
This is the tunnel under the hump.  I'm not sure how this tied into the musical garden theme before...I think I should ask Leigh that. But anyway, the tunnel is 2 ft in diameter.  It is about 6 feet long (including the weeds on either side).
This is a close up of the fence with the treble and bass clef.  It is 4 ft high. and about 11 ft long.
This is the best shot I got of the whole garden.  There is a big U around the garden of wood chips.  There are a few tiny trees scattered around, I will have to ask Leigh how big they will get.  On the outer sides of the U are a few extras (on the right side of the U is the tunnel hump and the fence with the clefs).  The width of the wood chip U is roughly 13 ft. all around. Based on my definition of the garden boundaries, altogether it is 75-100 feet in length (from end to end longways).
This painted drum is in the center of the U wood chips.  It has a handle tied to it, and obviously makes a noise when hit.  From the edge of the garden to the drum is about 10ft.  And from the drum to the far end of the garden is about 10ft. From the drum to the sides of the garden is about 7ft.  And when I say the side edge of the garden, I mean to the where the grass ends and the wood chips begin.
Here is a close up of the painted drum!
This is the back end of the garden.  There is a rectangular frame at the very end.  It is 6 ft in height.  At the bottom of each side there is a plastic tube.  This tube is filled with stones and can be turned upside down to make a rain noise.  Past this frame is just a swampy area with grasses, that serves as sort of a barrier before the road.  You can't tell by the picture, but this part of the garden is downward sloping.
This area of the garden is on the left of the U shape.  It needs some definite work.  I will have to ask Leigh what it was originally... Right now it is a bunch of weeds, some long pieces of wood and some scrolls of violins.  In the right hand upper corner of the picture you can see a fence.  This is another fence with a treble clef.
This is a better picture of the left side of the U shape.  A few trees and another 4 ft fence with a treble clef on it.
This picture should be flipped, I'm sorry that I couldn't figure out how to make it right side up.  Anyway, it is 6 ft in height.  It is located on top of the wood chips, on the right side.  Hanging from the top are strings of wooden beads.  When you move these strings, they are suppose to make noise. But it barely does.

This garden needs a lot of work.  Here are some before pictures before I do my transformation!

Things I have done...

This week has been pretty successful following my plan!

I emailed David is a little piece of what he said:
"I'll have to give this some thought but what comes to mind for making into
an instrument would be some of the Bamboos for a flute. Some names could be Virginia Blue BELLS, Canterberry Bells, Carpathian Hairbells, Trumpet Vine (
a woody plant though), Bugleweed (Bronze Beauty) and Viola. If you look
through any books on perennials I'm sure there are more names you will see.
Just stop by Lowes or Home Depot and page through some of their books."

I also e-mail Leigh from the Children's Garden, and still waiting for a response back from her.

I took some picture and measurments of the Music Garden as it is now...I will post them shortly.

I also have brainstormed info for my research commentary and narrative.

Lastly I have done a sort of rough draft of my plan for the garden.  I did a rough draft of parts that I want to include in the garden, just not a full garden rough draft.  I have to put the pieces together.  I will posts those shortly too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Today's update...
Beautification was cancelled for tonight.
I e-mailed David Mastroberti for some ideas for my Music Garden. 
I also got materials ready for my internship tomorrow. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Research- Gardening Zones


The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map.

What are Zone Maps?

Gardeners need a way to compare their garden climates with the climate where a plant is known to grow well. That's why climate zone maps were created. Zone maps are tools that show where various permanent landscape plants can adapt. If you want a shrub, perennial, or tree to survive and grow year after year, the plant must tolerate year-round conditions in your area, such as the lowest and highest temperatures and the amount and distribution of rainfall.

Great for the East

The USDA map does a fine job of delineating the garden climates of the eastern half of North America. That area is comparatively flat, so mapping is mostly a matter of drawing lines approximately parallel to the Gulf Coast every 120 miles or so as you move north. The lines tilt northeast as they approach the Eastern Seaboard. They also demarcate the special climates formed by the Great Lakes and by the Appalachian mountain ranges.

Zone Map Drawbacks

But this map has shortcomings. In the eastern half of the country, the USDA map doesn't account for the beneficial effect of a snow cover over perennial plants, the regularity or absence of freeze-thaw cycles, or soil drainage during cold periods. And in the rest of the country (west of the 100th meridian, which runs roughly through the middle of North and South Dakota and down through Texas west of Laredo), the USDA map fails.


Zone: 5a
Region: Mid-Atlantic

The Growing Season

Across the Mid Atlantic region, our average growing seasons range from the "blink and you'll miss it" 144 days (May to September) in Albany, NY to an eye popping 231 days (April to November) in Baltimore, MD. This makes for a spurt of gardening activity in spring to "get it all in" before the window of opportunity shuts. This is particularly a concern in mountainous areas and far northern areas where cold and shorter days often lead to shorter growing seasons. Trees, shrubs, and perennials grow well in this climate, especially in warmer areas that experience less severe weather extremes. All the traditional annual flower and vegetables can be grown here, with the only exceptions being season extending techniques that may be needed in northern areas for warm season crops such as melons and sweet potatoes. Drought and flooding can sometime be a concern with one following the other in some years.

Four Week Plan

There is still time to get everything done that I want to with WISE.  Four weeks left until the end of school.  Let's see what I can do.

Week 1 (May 16-22)
-Pick 1 or 2 research sources from my bibliography and do some research.  My research portion is lacking in areas other than community contacts.
-Design a rough draft of the Music Garden and present it to Mr.F on Wednesday at my internship.  Hopefully he will have some feedback
-Compile a list of info that I would like to put into my narrative/bibliography/research commentary.  Basically just some brainstorming for the written assignment
-E-mail David Mastrobertti about ideas for plants in the Music Garden
-If Leigh doesn't get back to me by Thursday, send her another e-mail

Week 2 (May 23-29)
-Pick 1 or 2 research source from my bibliography and do some more research!
-E-mail/call nurseries in Ithaca to get donations for my garden
-Finalize garden plan
-Write a rough draft of my narrative
-Attend WISE sample presentation at 6 on Thursday

Week 3 (May 31- June 5)
-Start planting in the Music Garden
-Write my bibliography and research commentary
-Begin ideas for how to do my presentation
-Finished copy of narrative, have Mr.C review it

Week 4 (June 6-12)
-Finalize presentation plans
-Continue gardening in the Music Garden
-Review Materials for peer evaluations

I think that if I follow this plan perfectly, adding things as I go along, I can finish everything that I want to do.  If you see my slacking- CALL ME OUT!

Class 5/16

How is it the 16th already? Wow...

In class today we confirmed our presentation slots (well...most of us).  I confirmed mine! Wednesday June 15th at 1:30 pm! Come stop by the school if you want to see it :)

We also signed up for peer evaluations.  I signed up for Jenny Lee's on June 13th at 11 am.  I picked hers because I am really interested in seeing her final photos!!
I also picked Marley's presentation on June 15th at 9 am.  I am really interested in seeing what jewelry she has created. 
The funny thing about what presentations I picked to evaluate are the same ones the Erin Hoover picked! So we will both be evaluating these presentations. 

Other things to keep in mind: Final write ups are due soon...The final written portion is due 5 work days before my presentation. Lets see, that makes it June 8th for me. WOW.  We got an e-mail about the details from Mrs.Gergely.  That write up includes the bibliography, narrative, and research commentary (yikes). 

This are crazy! Lots of work to get done! I do not want to be a procrastinator! A plan should be made....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

List- Nurseries in Ithaca

I need to start making some contacts and getting donations from local nurseries.  Here are some options, and their contact info:

**The Plantsman Nursery: (607) 533-7193
**Agway: (607) 273-2505
**Cayuga Landscape: (607) 257-3000
**Michaleen's Florist and Garden: (607) 257-3203
**Baker's Acres:  (607) 533-4653
**The Magic Garden: (607) 564-9055

Here is a link with a list of vendors from the plant sale.  If I need more contacts, this is a great resource!

Plant Sale- 5/14

Yesterday was the plant sale, sponsored by the Cornell cooperative extension. 
I went with my mom, and we browsed the selection.  There were a lot of great plants!  But I kept my eyes open for only plants with musical names.  Looking back, I wish I would have taken a close look at all of the other plants! Anyways... here is what I found:
The Magic Garden had a few plants with musical names that included the angel/devil trumpet, coral bells, and million bells.  Also, a lot of the nursery's had viola, (commonly known as violets or pansies). 
So now I know that there are some flowers out there that can be used.  But there still are some issues....

I saw Leigh from the Children's Garden there.  I reminded her about the e-mail I sent talking about dates and when I could get my design approved by the committee.  I also asked about a budget in the meeting.  Right now, there is no money for the Music Garden.  Crap... This means that I will see if there is another round of WISE grants, and if not I will have to ask for donations or raise my own money.  I will have to figure it out!  Leigh also said that this has been a busy week for the Children's Garden, so it is taking a while for her to get responses.  I am a little concerned right now.  I wanted things to be moving a bit faster than they are. 
I was doing some thinking, though, and WISE is a process.  I feel confident that I have done a lot in my process so far.  Of course I have high hopes for where I want to be by June 15th....but I have come to terms with the fact that if I do not accomplish this, I have done a lot to be proud of so far.  I want to keep going! (I still hope the Children's Garden will get in a higher gear with me! We will see)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Research- Sound instruments


This is a pebble chime instrument.  By dropping pebbles on the outside edge of this metal sheet, it makes a noise. 

I like the natural look to this music garden.  As you can see in the far back of the picture, there is a zylaphone type of an instrument.  I think I will be able to create something similar to this.

 Here is another music garden, with an orange thunder drum.  There is also different sized pipes in the background that give off different noises when struck.
I want to figure out a way to make a piano type landscape like seen in this picture.  I think it would be an interactive way for kids to walk through the garden...if there were piano key paths.

There is a lot of planning that needs to go into this garden.  I e-mailed Leigh from the childrens garden about details, and I am waiting to hear back from her.   But until then, I have been brainstorming what cheap items that I could use for noise props in the garden.  Empty trashcans could work for drums, and hollow pipes may be able to be transformed into a musical instrument.  Also, maybe I could find a plant or some sort of pebbles that would make noise when stepped on.  I want the garden to be interative for the kids, allowing them to use as many senses as possible.  More ideas to come!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Class Day 5/9 and Mentor Meeting

Ok after a week of slacking off for WISE, I'm ready to get back into the grove of things!

First matter of business:  WISE class today.
We discussed scheduling presentation dates.  Then we signed up for presentation dates.  Surprisingly, this took all period.  And as of right now my presentation date will be.....drum roll........JUNE 15TH @ 1:30!!!

Can I finish everything by then? Well, that's the plan!

Today in class Ms.Gergely also gave me my blog evaluation.  There was a lot of positive input on the evaluation, which was really encouraging! The one suggestion that was listed was to separate my business posts from my other blog posts.  A business post, according to the evaluator, is not as interesting to read and includes lists, class overviews, and general reporting out on what I have done.  This is an interesting suggestion, and maybe I will try it.  I will also make sure to label all posts with specific titles so that reader knows whats coming.  This may require several blog posts per day (or in one sitting), due to the fact that I will need to separate my posts. 

Mentor Meeting:
I haven't been reflecting on my mentor meetings in my blog very I hope that isn't a strict requirement.  But I have indeed been having mentor meetings.  Mr.Creagan and I usually have shorter meetings, but we cover a lot.  This week we talked about the Garden.  We tried to brainstorm some ideas of flowers to include, but ultimately decided that Mr.Fernandez would be the best resource to ask.  Also we looked at the calender, and roughly made a week by week plan.  By next meeting (Monday, a week from today).  I should have my design plan done for the Garden.  Then, that same week if possible, I should present my plan to the committee at the Ithaca Children's Garden.  The following two weeks will consist of asking for donations and finalizing information.  Then hopefully the garden build day can happen June 11th (a Saturday) just in time for me to be able to present about it on the 15th.  I really hope everything goes according to the plan, because if so I think things will be a success.  Time is ticking, and this is a crucial push in my WISE project. 

Mrs.Gergely once talked to us in class about how she enjoyed the intensity of finals week.  It gave her the chance to really push herself and see what she could do in a given amount of time.  Well Mrs.Gergely, its that time for me right now- lets see what I can do.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Ok, I just have to add some pictures!! Then I will be done!

I just looked up images of some of the musical named flowers...not too many pretty ones...
Campanula (bellflower)

Angel trumpet flower

Cotula coronopifolia (brass buttons)

Primula denticulata (drumstick primrose)

Isopogon anemonifolius (drumsticks)

Amsinckia intermedia (fiddlehead)


As you may know, I have a difficult task to accomplish.  The Music Garden. 
My options of plants are limited. The funds for the project are non-existent. Yikes. is a list of flowers with musical names!

-Acmenosperma claviflorum Syn. Syzygium claviflorum (trumpet satinash)
-Allamanda cathartica (common trumpet vine)
-Cordia subcordata (sea trumpet)
-Thunbergia (trumpet vine)
-Eucalyptus salubris (fluted gum tree)
-Eucalyptus stowardii (fluted horn mallee)
-Isopogon anemonifolius (drumsticks)
-Platycerium rupestris (elk horn fern)
-Sida cordifolia (goat's horn)
-Amsinckia intermedia (fiddlehead)
-Craspedia globosa (drumsticks)
-Campanula (bellflower)
-Moluccella laevis (bells of Ireland)
-Cerastium pedunculatum (bell flowered mouse ear)
-Codonocarpus cotinifolius (bell fruit tree)
-Erica cinerea (bell heather)
-Gilia campanulata (bell shaped gily flower)
-Uvularia sessilifolia (bellflowers)
-Beilschmiedia pahangensis (horn laurel)
-Datura metel (horn of plenty)
-Fedia cornucopiae (horn of plenty)
-Viguiera deltoidea parishii (triangle goldeneye)
-Neodypsis decaryi (triangle palm)
-Polygala cruciata aquilonia (drumheads)
-Primula denticulata (drumstick primrose)
-Rumex pulcher (fiddle dock)
-Ficus lyrata (fiddle leaf fig)
-Crepis runcinata (fiddle leaf hawk's beard)
-Sarracenia leucophylla (fiddler's trumpet)
-Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper)
-Gentiana acaulis (trumpet gentian)
-Trumpet Flower (many)
-Ribes leptanthum (trumpet gooseberry)
-Zantedeschia aethiopica (trumpet lily)
-Narcissus pseudonarcissus (trumpet narcissus)
-Cecropia peltata (trumpet tree)
-Sarracenia flava (trumpets)

Site Source (another blogger!):


I was absent on the class day when we received "Get a Grip and Set Your Sights Above Adversity".  This is an article about resilience by Jane E. Brody.

I found this article to be very interesting.  I never really though much about the meaning of resilience, but it is a very important aspect of ones mental health.  Resilience is basically the ability to cope with stresses and setbacks in your life, and turn negative experiences into positive ones.  The key to having resilience is being able to focus on what you can control in your life.  If one puts all of their energy into changing something that they have no influence on, then their life will feel helpless and hopeless.  A quote that I really enjoyed from the article was "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."  I agree that trying to decide what things you have the control over can sometimes be difficult.  Often one may really desire to change something that they simply cannot. 

Some important steps to gain resilience: -know that you are the author of your own life. -identify your negative scripts and assume responsibility for changing them. -nurture your self esteem. -develop a new skill.  -shed people or activities that are no longer satisfying or efficient. -don't be afraid of change.

Class Day 5/2

This past Monday in WISE class...

We did a lot of house keeping this week, because the end of the year is coming up so quickly! Monday our 4th quarter mentor evaluation is due.  The Monday after that (the 16th) our creative project is due.  Thursday that 26th is a sample presentation at 6:00, which I am very excited about! And sometime soon after that will be our own presentations.  I feel a lot of WISE work coming on in the near future....

I haven't recieved my blog evaluation I hope I get this tomorrow. I really want to see what improvements I should make on my blog.

Class again tomorrow!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Compost Fair

I have been extremely busy these last two weeks, and now everything that I slacked off on is catching up to me! I'm sorry blog- for not giving you enough attention.

Before I talk about the compost fair, I want to just brainstorm a list of things that I need to do in the next one or two weeks.  This is just a quick list to get my mind going:
-research musical plants
-go to the Childrens Garden and check out the spot
-observe some landscapes around town for inspiration
-do that sheet with Mr.C for class on Monday
-research zones
-read and respond to the article that we read in class last tuesday (I was absent)
-Creative project for class on the 16th
That seems pretty good for now. 

The Compost Fair was on Sunday, May 1st!  It is entirely run by the Master Composters, so we had an enormous amount of work to do.  I was there on Sunday from 9-5.  I would say the event was a great success!  I was working at the basics booth, and therefore I talked to a lot of people who didn't know much about composting.  The best part about this was that I got to really see how much I do and don't know about composting.  The fair had music, food, demo sites, compost consultations, a plant swap, an advanced composting area and more.  I am excited to hear how the fair went for the other booths, because I only got to be around the basics booth.  On May 12th is graduation, and I will have finished my Master Composter course!! Becoming a Master Composter could have really been a whole WISE project by itself.  There is a lot of work and time that the course demands.  But I am excited to incorporate my composting skills into the Music Garden (adding some compost to the soil for healthy plants!)

Here is a few of us at the compost fair!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mr. Jones

I forgot to mention a crucial item in my last blog post about what I did over break.

I have seen Mr. Jones a few times over the past month at the school, and we have talked a lot about my WISE project.  Mr. Jones is not only an avid reader of my blog ( :) !!!), but he is also a landscaper!!

Thursday of last week, right before my composting class I met up with Mr. Jones.  He is doing a landscaping project for one of the residents in Fall Creek.  She has a small area of land right in front of her home that has a few existing plants, but needs a new design.  And thats where Mr. Jones comes in!

He talked to me about his plan for the space, but he also gave me a few general landscaping tips. First, the LMNOT of gardening...
These are some important factors to keep in mind before doing a landscaping project.

Another really cool thing that Mr.Jones taught me was the vantage points of a space.  Most people when landscaping, garden right up against their house.  This is a great way for people walking by to see the landscape.  But what about the residents? They are not able to enjoy what they have created! So Mr. Jones says that before he does a project, he looks at the space from many different vantage points and designs accordingly.  I love this idea! I have never thought about it like this before.  It is something that I would like to do when designing the Music Garden.

Lastly, Mr.Jones sent me a link to Michigan State University's 4-H Children's Garden. They have a music garden too, and I could get some ideas from it!

So finally I would like to say- THANK YOU MR.JONES!!! I have learned a lot from you and I plan to keep tagging along to learn more! Its also cool to know that someone is regularly reading my blog! You rock! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Wise Break

When Mrs.Gergely told us in class this week that we would not be required to blog over break, I was super excited.  Over break I didn't even unzip my book bag.  Surprisingly though, I did a lot of WISE work without even realizing it.  Let me tell you about it:
The first few days of the break were spend celebrating my birthday, and visiting colleges.  PS: I have decided on a college.  Thanks for the 41,000 dollars IC- you win :)

By Thursday, I got down to business with my WISE work.
Thursday morning I got up early and went on another (more intimate) tour of Tetra Tech.  Trish, one of the managers there, gave me a lot of information about the company.  First, the unique thing about Tetra Tech is that is houses all of the necessary specialists in order to completely carry out an architecture project.  They have electricians, plumbers, architects, civil engineers, landscape architects, construction workers, and more.  This way, the work can be done more efficiently all inside one firm.
The most interesting part of the tour, for me, was when I brought up the topic of landscape architects vs. landscaper designers.  Now, there is no official difference.  But most cases these two titles mean different things.  Architects have more experience with the civil engineering portion of the project.  They usually  work more with the sewage lines, and water pipes, etc.  They really don't work with plant species.  A landscape designer knows more about plant names, and the characteristics of each plant.
I heard a few of the employees at Cayuga Landscape joke around once, saying how they can never trust a Landscape Architect because they don't take into consideration the type of plant and its needs.

The next thing I did marked a SIGNIFICANT part of my WISE journey.  I meet with Leigh at CCE.  She is the main manager of the Ithaca Children's Garden.  She has a project for me!!!!!! This is so great, because I always have felt funny telling people about my WISE project.  I would say...oh, I'm learning about Landscape Design.  But now I can say, well I have been doing a lot of research on Landscaping and I'm designing a garden for the Ithaca Children's Garden.  It sounds much more put together.  More like a project.  I'm super excited.

This project will be a huge task though.  It is a lot more difficult than just designing a regular old garden.  It is a themed garden.  And the theme has already been chosen by the Ithaca Children's Garden.  I will be  re-designing their Music Garden.  The Music Garden was put in two years ago by some Cornell Students, I believe.  It has not been maintained since, and now it really needs a lot of attention.  I have to continue with the musical theme while re-designing.  And the list of restrictions is quite long.
These are the things I am required to do with the garden:
-All the plants have to have musical names, or make music, or can be harvested to make an instrument
-Because it is a children's garden, the plants must not be prickly or poisonous
-The plants must be deer proof
-The plants must be tolerant of our zone (more info to come on this subject later)
-The garden will be in the direct sunlight, and therefore I need to pick plants that can handle this weather
-Leigh also wants me to design it in a way that is inviting for the kids to explore and get right in with the flowers
So, now, I have to go over to the garden and take a survey of the land.  Then, I will do research on what items I can include in the garden.  Next, I will make a design sketch and present it in front of a committee.   If they like it, I will  be able to go ahead and get started on the planting!  I will most likely make a big deal and advertise the planting day and make a community build day out of the project.

Now, this is a huuuuuge task.  It will take a lot of work and preparation.  But honestly, I am very excited to get started and see what I can create.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gardening Galore

        There is nothing like spending an afternoon planting pansies on the commons.  Really.  My first day of Beautification Brigade was yesterday, and I couldn't be more excited!!! We were filling the flower beds on State Street with pansies.  Unfortunately, the flower beds we somewhat destroyed.  The wood is deteriorating, and the soil is matted with roots from the tree center piece.  Most of our work consisted of digging up and churning the soil that was in flower bed until it was acceptable for the new flowers.  The pansies that we planted were not yet bloomed, so right now it looks like a bunch of leaves in the flower beds.  Very soon they will be bloomed and colorful though!  One of the best parts of Beautification Brigade is working with other community members that are passionate about gardening and beautifyng the city.  I had some great conversations with the other volunteers.  Also, people walking by always comment on our work and that makes it very rewarding.  The comments usually span from thank you so much, this is great! to what organization is this for?  But I would have to say that my favorite comment of the night was when a guy walked by, looked at me, and said: daayyuummmm girl, you too pretty to be digging in dat dirt.  Highlight of my night right there.  Honestly though Beautification Brigade is a really fun volunteer opportunity for me where I can learn about gardening and plants and also be outside. 

      Today was my internship.  First, Mr.Fernandez asked me to do some research on strawberries.  I had to look up a few different kinds: Wendy, Honeoyo, Hecker and Allstar.  One interesting fact I learned about strawberries is that there are two main types.  June bearing and day neutral.  As far as I know, June bearing types produce one large crop, while day nuetral continues to produce fruit continually through out the season.  Then I helped Mr.Fernandez sort out his old landscaping catalogs.  Not too exciting, but I am grateful for the experience!

     After school there was an NHS meeting.  The group wants to do some sort of a community project.  With not much input, I was elected to spear head the project. Yikes!! But thats okay, the more gardening the merrier.  Ideally, the group would like to get a space approved by the Mr.Mills and plant a garden on school grounds.  So right now I will be looking into getting that worked out.  If all else fails, but I get a space with the Ithaca Childrens Garden, then I can have them help me plant.  We will see!

Other things to look forward to: College visit this weekend to Boston University! woo  My birthday is on Tuesday!! wooo Shadowing Trish from Tetra Tech on next Thursday!! woooo Compost class tomorrow!! wooo
I'm so tired.  When will life slow down?!?!

Monday, April 11, 2011

One way out of the rut

In class today we read our class mates journals and responded to them.  I found this helpful, because I could see what others are doing.  I realized that I have A LOT of community outreach, and that needs to be balanced with other things.  My project has consisted of interning at Cayuga Landscaping, going to Composting class, and touring and e-mailing other community contacts about my project.  But I want something more.  I want to do something different and refreshing.  I will have to brainstorm...
Today we received a handout titled "Out of the Rut" Journal Activity.  It lists some prompts that can be helpful when wondering what to journal about.  Once you pick between planning, recording, and reflecting, you take five minutes to make a list! I decided to do the list about Planning:

-7 things I want to accomplish in the next week: Set up an interview with Tetra Tech landscape architect, confirm a meeting with the Ithaca Childrens garden director, plant some flowers with the beautification brigade, brainstorm what I could do instead of e-mailing and community contacting so much, meet with Ms.Gergely about what I could do differently to refresh my project, make a sketch of a landscape layout for the quad at the high school, learn a new plant name at Cayuga Landscaping on Wednesday.
-5 people I should talk to about my project: Ms. Gergely, Mr.Creagan, Leigh from the Children's Garden, Susan from Tetra Tech, David Fernandez from Cayuga Landscaping
-Supplies I need to get: hmmmm not sure if I need any supplies.  Maybe I could talk to David about what I could use to sketch a layout for the quad?
-3 things I should talk to my mentor about: What I could do differently with my routine, how I could sketch a layout for the quad, my progress so far/what he has noticed in my progress
-7 things I want or need to know more about: do you know if you have a good soil? Fertilizers...what exactly are they used for and do you actually need them?  What materials do I need to sketch a layout design?  Other than the Beautification Brigade...where can I volunteer to just plant things?  What kind of landscapes are most prevalent in the Ithaca community?  When is Pat going to get back to me about Master there going to be a program this year? What kind of project is the Children's Garden going to provide me with/what will I need to learn before then?

 Rhododendrons are woody plants with showy flowers.  There are about 1000 species and they can be either evergreen or deciduous.  Mr.Creagan mentioned this flower today, so I wanted to see what it looked like!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It finally feels like spring! This weekend has been consistently warm, and its hard to think that spring isn't just around the corner.  This month is filled with college tours for me.  This past Friday I visited Hofstra University.  At first, I had no interest in this school.  But after visiting- I really got a good impression of it.  What I liked most, surprisingly, was the campus.  It is located in Hempstead, New York.  Naturally, I pictured a dirty city.  The campus was an oasis though.  It was full of trees, flowers and beautiful green quads.  In fact, the campus is a registered arboretum.  Although the surrounding city wasn't the nicest, it wasn't that bad either.  And the city is only forty minutes away (Jones beach only five!!) so overall I was impressed. 
While walking through campus I was thrilled to identify a flower! In an earlier post I showed a picture of a daffodil.  And then walking on campus I put my knowledge to use and identified the numerous daffodils all over campus.  I also recognized the not yet bloomed tulips!  This may seem like an unexciting thing for most, but I found it really cool to be able to identify the flowers.  The campus had a few forsythias.  My mom pointed them out to me.  I really don't like the look of forsythias, but I guess its good to know how to identify them!
Forsythia are flowering plants part of the olive family.There are 11 species of this plant, and they are native mostly to Asia.  This deciduous shrub grows 1-3 meters.  The flowers of the plant produce Lactose. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The future of our quad...

At 5:45 I woke up today.  I woke up before the sun did.  Leaving at 6:45, I drove for an hour picking up Green Team members and driving out on 79 to get to the tree farm.  We found our tree almost instantly, it was so beautiful.  When we looked at the tag, we saw that it was a Autumn Blaze Maple tree:
The qualities mixed by the autumn blaze maple tree are brilliant orange-red color in the fall, dense and healthy branching, and enhanced growth that protects from insects and disease. They are known for their excelled speed of growth. The autumn blaze maple tree can also live in a variety of climates, ranging from the frigid cold of zone three, to the humid south of zone eight.  It will grow to fifty or sixty feet, and it had the ability to grow in a variety of soils.  This maple is recently the most requested tree in the United States.

Soon everyone will be able to see this tree in the quad, we plan to plant over spring break!

Tonight is composting class. Leigh from the Ithaca Children's Garden is having some child problems.  I'm just being silly, but she did have to cancel our meeting tonight because her son is sick.  Next Thursday we will meet.  I also got an e-mail back from Tetra Tech.  I need to give them my available hours and then one day I can do shadow one of their landscape architects! YES!

Lastly, yesterday I had my internship at Cayuga Landscaping.  David and I talked a bunch about which trees to look for to put in the quad.  But then I joined Melissa at the garden center and we potted perennials! Busy work, but still enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


My pick for today is the elm tree
The Elm tree is a decidious tree found most commonly in North American and Europe. 
The reason I am researching trees is because tomorrow we are going at 6:30 (yikes!) to pick out a tree for the quad.  I have a lot to do tonight, and an early morning tomorrow. So tomorrow I will update you on my internship and the tree picking process!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Flower overload?

So, I think it's really good that I am posting everyday.  It keeps me in tune with my project and my work requirements.  But I feel like all that I'm really doing is posting pictures of flowers!! Maybe what I can do is each week make a post with a few different types of flowers and plants...and identify them?  I'm still weighing my options, but I don't want everyone out there to get sick of my flowery posts! Today I will do a shrub...

 A conifer is a plant which bears its seeds in cones. Some examples would be the pines, spruces and hemlocks. Almost all of the conifers have needles which they keep for at least one year.  This picture is a good example of some dwarf conifers.  Now, I haven't confirmed this with research, but Mr.Fernandez says that these dwarf shrubs are just genetic 'accidents'.  A tree will develop this genetic trait and now these shrubs are very common landscaping plants.  There are so many names for all of these shrubs.  And they are all long and complicated....yikes!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm no pansy

But this flower sure is! This is a picture of a pansy.  The pansy is a hybrid flower derived from the Viola species.  Pansies come in a variety of colors.  The great thing about pansies is that they can survive the cold weather! Their life span is usually about two years.  
Speaking of pansies, tomorrow if you go to the commons at five (and if it isn't raining) you will see me and the Beautification Brigade planting pansies!! Tomorrow is the first day of Beautification planting, and it will start on the commons! 
More updates: The Ithaca Children's Garden e-mailed me back.  I hope to meet with Leigh on Thursday to discuss some more plans.  This could be my final gardening project!  Chesna's mom from LACS e-mailed me too! She told me they are planning to plant a garden at their school and I am welcome to come in to one of their meetings any time.  Lastly, I e-mailed Susan from Tetra Tech and asked to shadow a landscape architect for a day.  I hope it works!

WISE class today...we did more show and tell.  I showed the garden planner design that I made.  As the weather gets nicer, it makes me want to go outside and plant! That's what I will do tomorrow! Wednesday is Cayuga internship, like usual.  Thursday is Children's Garden meeting.  Busy WISE week. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Daffodils are spring blooming flowers, they usually reappear every spring without re-planting. 
That is my flower of the day :)

So, I tried using Sketchup today and I found it pretty difficult.  I went on Gardener Planner Online instead and made a design plan.  The design I made is for no particular space, it was just a trail run to see all of the features and figure out how to work the program.  It took me a good couple of hours just to do one trial run. phew! Here is the layout:
It's a little blurry... but here it is! The bigger bush-like looking things in the top left corner are trees.  There is a half circle patio with sofas on it.  The square in the right hand corner is a gazebo.  The rectangles on the right are raised flower beds.  There is a pond and some stepping stones as well.  Nothing special, just playing around with the features!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


 This is a Daylily. I think that these are very common because Mr. Fernandez talks about them a lot.  From what I learned online, they have a wide variety of colors and shapes.  This makes me think that they are pretty difficult to identify... Also, I learned that these flowers open at sunrise and wither at sunset, and repeat that process daily.  Lastly, they are perennials.

So, I guess I will talk a little bit more about my week rather than just blog about flowers! Mr.C and I only had a brief meeting this week.  We talked about how next week the Green Team is going to take a field trip the Cayuga Landscape's tree farm.  There we will pick a tree for the quad!!! We are leaning towards a honey locust, for its high branching and sweet smelling blossom.  But we will also do some looking around once we get there.
Thursday night was composting class, and I had to give a presentation! I talked to the class about stealth composting.  This is a topic that I only recently heard about.  Its a simple indoor composting system that only requires two bins, wood chips and saw dust!
The wood chips go in the bottom of the larger container to absorb any liquid.  The inside bin has holes in it for aeration (lots of oxygen encourages aerobic decomposition, which doesn't have a smell).  Then you layer the bottom of the smaller bin with a few wood chips and some saw dust.  Each time you add food scraps to the inner bin, you must cover it with sawdust to help control smell.  A lid must have holes or be ajar in order for air flow.  Once the bin is filled, it can be set outside, open to the elements, and it should sit to cure for about 2-3 months.  Then you should have compost!

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Friday, Friday...

Trillium has 40-50 species, and is a spring woodland perennial native to North American and Asia.  The flower has three petals and three leaves.  The petals typically turn pink as the age.  The seeds of the trillium are spread by ants. Cool!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Fortune Cookie

Yesterday it was spring.  The air was warm and the crocuses were blooming.  Unfortunately, I didn't know that they were crocuses... and I didn't know the name of the ornamental grass, or even the half in bloom pussy willow.  As I walked with David Fernandez around Cayuga Landscape, he would point excitingly to a plant starting to bud and ask me if I knew its name.  Sadly, I knew none of their names.  Yes, I felt totally out of my league.  Fortunately, David and the crew at Cayuga Landscaping are some of the nicest, most enthusiastic bunch of people.  They have no problem explaining even the simplest of flowers to me...Actually, I think they kind of like it.  Nevertheless, my new mission for this week is to post a picture of a plant EVERY DAY. And list its name.  And hopefully stamp that information permanently in my brain.  Then, I can always come back into my journal and review the names I forget.  So, here you go...

Crocuses.  These crocuses are not fully opened, but I liked this picture because it shows how many different colors crocuses come in.  Crocuses are perennial flowering plants native to the coastal regions of Europe. There are seven different species of crocuses.

There we go! One flower now in my knowledge forever.  Anyways, yesterday I had my internship at Cayuga Landscaping.  At first, I ended up in the office room, stapling and making copies.  I was secretly thinking to myself...uh oh, this is going to be a real internship where I do only the mindless work isn't it?  But, I also thought how grateful I was that Cayuga Landscape was letting me just pop by every Wednesday and follow them around.  Luckily, I only made a few copies and found a typo in their newsletter before David escorted me out of the office. He handed me off to Melissa who was 'planting' bare root bulbs.  I learned a lot from Melissa.  Bare root bulbs are sold in the very early spring, and they are kept in gravel so their roots do not settle into place.  Then when a costumer wants a certain variety, it is very easy to just pluck the bare root right out of the gravel.  It is very important to keep bare roots very moist, so their exposed roots do not get brittle.  The last thing I did before leaving, was made label cards for all of the bare roots and placed the labels next to the appropriate bulbs.  Pretty productive day.

What the weird thing was though...I met my mom and sister for Chinese food after my internship.  We talked and ate and at the end of the meal, of course we got some fortune cookies.  And guess what mine said?
            "Your love of gardening will take on a new meaning in you life."

That is exactly what it said. GO FIGURE! How weird, right?  We will see...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Architecture Tour

On Thursday the 24th I accompanied the Learning Web to a tour the Tetra Tech architecture building in Ithaca.  First off, I guess I had never given much thought about what to expect.  When I arrived at their office, I was very impressed with the design of the building.  All of the furniture, lighting fixtures, desks, even cork boards were innovative and trendy in one way or another.  It was a really cool thing to see.  Most of the tour was about architecture as it applies to buildings.  But, there were some landscape architects in the building.  Unfortunately, the tour did not cover what their daily work consisted of, so I got the contact information of the woman who led the tour.  I am going to e-mail her now see if there is a time when I can do an interview with one of the landscape architects.  What I enjoyed most about this tour was that I could see where my field of interest can be applied to in the real world and turned into a career other than just being a gardener or building your own landscaping business.  I am looking forward to learning more about their firm.

Other things to do this week:
-Tomorrow is my internship at Cayuga Landscaping
-Thursday I have a presentation in my composting class!
-By Friday, I need to fill out my WISE self-evaluation form.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Child Laughs

Sorry, take a moment and bear with me.  I am facing a obstacle in my personal life, and really slowed me down.  Have you ever experienced anything quite like it?  My family assured me that everyone experiences challenges that totally set one back.  But I never imagined being so bogged down and so undetermined and motivated like I usually am.  For my mental well being, my homework for this week is not to focus solely on WISE and other school work, its to focus on making myself lighter again. 

A Child Laughs by Mark L. Stinson
Sometime, somewhere,
A young child is playing in a field.
His friends - the golden leaves and the waving grass.
Dancing, singing, calling aloud to the wind -
Laughter is his one rule and concern.
When the darkness comes to devour him
he giggles at it and makes a joke...
The darkness is burst. The child laughs.
This simple dream -
a vision of innocence and beauty,
is the light that casts my shadows -
The splendor that makes our darkness
ever more deep.
I wish I could laugh and play
like the child on that bright day.

It will take time, but I am already on my path to a better state of mind! Sorry if this is a tad over-emotion for all of you.  Not to worry...just thought I would share.

Anyways, I have a lot to talk about what I did last week.  I think I will blog about that tomorrow.  Today in class we started off by taking a lap around K building, which was very fun and refreshing.  We also did a show and tell! Which I didn't get to do, but will do next week. 
Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I had a plan to write every day of the week.  I wrote Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then life came and knocked me down.  For some personal reasons, I was unable to write the rest of the days.  I do have things to say though.  Just no energy to say them.  Luckily my three entries a week is covered.  My writing challenge will have to take place another week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 1

Despite the cold, the snow, and the ice, I headed out to Cayuga Landscape this afternoon.  We discussed the possibility of future spring days.

David Fernandez was in his office when I met him, speaking with another possible intern. He was a perky, happy man who radiated a sincere personality.  As we sat in his office, we discussed how I became interested in landscape design.  The conversation soon shifted to him recalling stories of the people who first inspired and worked with him as a landscaper.  Next we flipped through pictures of previous Cayuga Landscape projects.  We discussed each picture, its types of flowers, ornamental conifers and stone work.  I learned a lot about what types of plants the company uses the most, and what techniques (such as color contrasting) they use.  It was really nice talking to David Fernandez, he seemed eager to work with me even though I am such a beginner.

I met a lot of other Cayuga Landscape employees, and they all seemed really nice.  I was slightly intimidating.  Although my Timberland hiking boots matched those of the other employees, my skills seemed to be a barrier.  I couldn't just jump into a conversation about the bare bulbs in the back shed.  I didn't know half of the information that they talked about.  I really hope that I can learn more and feel more comfortable with such experienced people.  The next step I want to take before next Wednesday is learned more flower and plant names and being able to identity them.  This will really help me be able to be more involved in their work.

I'm excited to see what this internship will bring me, I have a lot of work to do to though in order to feel up to par with my fellow landscapers.
Hopefully no school tomorrow either!! :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I am an Intern

Hello Everyone,
You are now reading the blog of an intern at Cayuga Landscape!
woooohooo!! I'm so excited! David Fernandez called me today after school and I'm scheduled to start tomorrow!  I can't wait...I hope it serves to be beneficial for me.

The main concept of today's post is my WISE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT.
In class on Monday we began to read Happiness Revisited.  For homework, we need to do some responding and answer some questions.  So, here we go:

1)When do you feel most happy?
I definitely feel most happy when I am surrounded by people who care about me and who I care about in return.  These include my best friends, and my family.  In general when I think about when I am most happy, it is when I am with other people.
2)React/Respond to Article.
I found myself reading this article effortlessly and disappointed when the page ended.  Some of my favorite text from the article included: "Is this because it is the destiny of mankind to remain unfulfilled, each person always wanting more than he or she can have? Or is the pervasive malaise that often sours even our most precious moments the result of our seeking happiness in the wrong places?"  and "For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves."  This article served to be motivating for me and inspiring.  Yes, a lot of outside factors can tamper with ones happiness. But what about the things that we can control?  In order to be happy, we must first have a control of our inside emotions.  I think this is extremely difficult to do, but definitely worth while.  And when the article mentioned that overcoming challenges is usually what brings the most happiness, inspires me to challenge myself more often.  Because it is true, after studying for four hours and getting an A on a test is quite rewarding.  And working out everyday and winning a volleyball match does give me happiness.  So what are other challenges, maybe more mental, that I could do in order to achieve happiness? Food for thought...
3) Where are you on the flow chart?
Good question.  Hard to say.  I feel that for me, I am all over the chart.  Sometimes I am in the bored out of my mind portion of the chart, and that is when I come home from school and veg out on the sofa because I can't motivate myself to do anything better.  Other times, I am on the anxiety portion of the chart.  This is when I have homework up to my neck, compost class at 6, and I am having a fight with my best friend.  Fortunately, there have been times where I have achieve flow.  Regardless of how long this flow may have lasted, I still have experienced this.  I think what would be beneficial is to record when that flow is achieved, and then proceed with life according to the results....
4)How has this changed/remained the same throughout the course of your project?
I am going to take this question a step farther (or backwards?) and start from the beginning of the year in WISE.  At the beginning of semester 1, I was in the flow.  I had ideas about my project, but there was no rush, and I had Ms.G as a teacher everyday and she was awesome.  Then I transitioned into the anxiety part of the chart, as I realized I couldn't decide on a project.  But, when I did decide on a project, I was between flow and low anxiety.  Now I am getting into the boredom part of the chart.  I am in a schedule that consists of research, e-mails and compost class.  This is getting a little boring.
5)How can you achieve flow?
I assume this is for my WISE journey..not life in general. I think to move back into the flow part of the happiness chart, I need to mix things up a bit.  As I just mentioned, my routine is getting a bit dull. Maybe my internship tomorrow will provide an opportunity for some new ways to make my project more exciting.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Writing Challenge

Today in class we talked about our projects and such.  A lot of discussion about what our projects were and what we liked about our classmates blogs.  One thing we discussed is how hard it is to make a post everyday.  A few students have tried this, and although everyone thinks it is a good idea, it is difficult to do.  So this is my writing challenge.  I will see if I can post at least once every day!  I hope this works out...but I admit it may be a little boring for the readers.  We will see!

When I opened up my Yahoo account after school today I was pleased to find two very special e-mails.  One was from David Fernandez.  He said that today, being the second day of spring, unfortunately a little gloomy though, meant business! He said he would call me tonight about scheduling.  As it is 8:00 pm now...I have a feeling he may call tomorrow.  That is all fine with me, considering he is doing me a big favor!

I also got an e-mail from Dan Klein. I had e-mailed him earlier about where I could do my end of the year community garden.  He is the director of the Tompkins County Beautification Brigade.  He said that the Ithaca Children's Garden may have a project for me! So I e-mailed the Children's garden right away.

A few other updates...I e-mailed Tiffany Flemming, Cornell Education Outreach.  She said she will keep her eyes open for possible locations for a garden and ways to get funding for my materials.  I also e-mailed a few of the contacts that Claudia Brenner sent me... but no response from them yet. 

No compost class this week... I hope to get working on my shelves on Wednesday because that's when my mom can help me.  Also I want to get out in the spring air and see whats blooming! Happy Spring.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Annual Garden

The typical annual garden, filled with a mix of colorful flowers and ornamental plants.
Annuals can be grouped by color, giving off certain moods.  For example, the picture above is an all-white garden, giving off a peaceful ambiance. 

-Annuals need to be in well-drained soil.  If in pots, the pots must have drain holes.
-For best results, dig the garden bed 8-10 inches in depth, removing any weeds,clumps, sticks, stones, etc.  Add fertilizer and well-rotted compost and mix all together.  Let this mixture set for a week.
-Fairly easy to care for, just weeding and watering is all that these plants need.

-Wilting/collapsing= Either too much water, or a deprivation of water
-Clusters of green insects=Plant lice, can be rubbed off or watered off
-No flowers= Needs more sunlight, or special fertilizer for flowering plants
-Black/yellow flecks= Due to red spider mites.  Means the flower needs water. Remove mites by spraying the plant undersides with strong streams of water.

McDonald, Elvin. The 400 Best Garden Plants: a Practical Encyclopedia of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, Trees, and Shrubs. New York: Random House, 1995. Print.

Two Tramps Practicing...

To clarify the title, it's just a mix of the titles of the two stories we had to read for homework this week.  They were Practicing, and Two Tramps in Mud Time.

First, Practicing was a clip from an Internet article of some sort explaining the importance of practicing a skill.  The article describes that hands-on experience has no substitute, and that the only way to put your knowledge to use is through practicing.  Another topic that the article covers is getting out of ones comfort zone.  A person may practice something for so long, and get very good at that thing.  But the next step is to practice other material.  Getting out of ones comfort zone with help them expand their knowledge and gain new skills.  These skills should be reinforced with practice.  I like that the article points out that sometimes practicing is not fun, rather it is necessary.  They use the example that a lot of guitarists like to stick to playing the few tines that they know best.  But simply playing the sames songs over and over only "reinforces your present ability".  And although it may not be fun to play and practice something that you bad at, it is necessary for improvement. 

Second, Two Tramps in Mud Time is a poem by Robert Frost.  I really wish I would have been in class on Monday to have Ms.G's guidance and explanation on this poem.  But I'll do my best.  The main character is outside chopping wood on one of those April days that is hinting at spring, but at the same time threatening to show signs of the wintry cold; when two strangers from the mud join him.  The strangers are lumberjacks and want to chop the wood for pay.  The main character is finding joy out of the chore, though, and refuses to give it up for the two strangers.  The last stanza gives a hint at the theme, and that is that one should find a balance between their avocation and vocation. 

So, how do these stories relate to one another?  I think that others should not influence what you want to do.  If you want to chop wood for a living because it makes you happy, than do it!  And although it feels like you are doing your hobby for a job, practicing is necessary and can help you expand your skills. 
How do these relate to my project?  My project should be administered in a way that makes sense to me, and makes me happy.  And that in order to really stretch myself, I should get out of my comfort zone. 

How will I do this?  I think this coming week I will see what landscaping around Ithaca is visible, and that I enjoy.  It will get me outside and doing something new.  Then, I will try some sketches.  This will reeeally get me out of my comfort zone.

Upcoming Gardening Events

I got this list of events from Master Gardener, Pat Curran.  She also said that info on the Master Gardener class will be held at a informal meeting after April 4th.

Home Food Gardening Basics
This class is for the beginning vegetable gardener!  Learn where to site your garden, how to prepare the soil, how to start seeds, how to plant, when to mulch, and which easy veggies to try first.  Pat Curran, Horticulture Educator at Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension, will also discuss favorite varieties, container gardening, and harvesting tips.
This class will be held Wednesday, March 30, 7-8:30 pm, at Trumansburg Middle School, through the Trumansburg Community Education Program.  To learn more, or to sign up, please go to their website (, which has links to both the course descriptions and the registration form.

Learn to Prune Trees & Shrubs
(3) Mondays, April 4, 11 & 18, 7:00-8:30pm
at Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca NY
Each spring, CCE-Tompkins offers a training series for individuals who wish to volunteer with the Citizen Pruner Program and for members of the general public. Three workshops will be offered this year:
·         (4/4) Trees for Challenging Sites, with Dr. Nina Bassuk of Cornell's Urban Horticulture Institute
·         (4/11) Training Young Trees, Pruning Older Trees, and Tools of the Trade, with City Forestry Technician Jeanne Grace and arborist Keith Vanderhye.
·         (4/18) Pruning Shrubs, with Monika Roth, Agriculture Extension Educator at CCE-Tompkins.
Take one or all: classes are $5/each for the general public and FREE to volunteers! Join the Citizen Pruner Program! Citizen Pruner volunteers prune trees and shrubs on streets and in parks throughout the City of Ithaca.  Volunteer once a week or when available, from May through October.  Training dates are held at the CCE-Tompkins Education Center.  For more information, contact Monika Roth at (607) 272-2292 or

Dazzling Dahlias, Colorful Cannas!
Wed. April 6, 6:30-8:30 pm
Cannas, callas, tuberous begonias, dahlias, caladiums, lilies  the list of summer-blooming bulbs is long!  Some are winter-hardy; some need frost-free warm weather but bloom for months.  Some like it hot!  Others flourish in dappled shade.  Come explore the wide variety of summer and fall-blooming bulbs we can grow.  Dazzling Dahlias will take place Wed. April 6, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca.  Fee:  $5; pre-registration requested.  Please call 272-2292 for more information or registration.

Easy Perennials for Your Landscape
Tues. April 12, 6:30-8:30 pm
Perennial flowers are nice, but you don’t have a lot of time.  Which perennials are long-lived, healthy, and easy to grow?  This class will cover a couple dozen easy and durable perennials and also offer tips for low maintenance.  Easy Perennials will take place Tues. April 12, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Tompkins County Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca.  Fee:  $5; pre-registration requested.  Please call 272-2292 for more information or registration.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I do not have time for a long post today, so I will just give a taste of what I have been doing:

My mentor meeting today with Mr.C went well, we talked about where I could do my community garden.  I asked about doing it at the school, and there are some logistical issues...but there is a few possibilities.

Composting class was tonight! Composting is actually wonderful.  I hope everyone who reads this blog composts...and if you need help- I'll teach you!!

Anyway in class today we learned more about different types of compost bins, as well as reinforced our WONC and Lasagna layering techniques.
Every bin should have a balance of:


Sort of like in this picture:

I'll elaborate more later...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Computer Screen Nausea

Hey Readers-
How long have you been surfing the web, going on facebook, or blogging?  Two minutes? Half an hour? Two hours?
Well, I realized that I have been doing too much of my WISE work on the computer.  I have been making progress, no doubt, but I would like to take it in a different direction.  I'll still let you know what I have done today in front of my computer:
--My WISE homework which involved reading other student's blogs/commenting on them, doing an online survey and also doing an evaluation for our WISE teachers.
--E-MAILS!!! I have been e-mailing TONS of people to get resources for my projecs.  Today I e-mailed Betty Windstein, who is working with LACS on a community garden, Claudia Brenner who gave me some ideas of who I could tag team with on a garden, and Tiffany Flemming who works at a Cornell Outreach Program.  The bulk of my e-mails are about finding a place to do my community garden.  This is a pretty important step as I want to make it my final step in my project.

I realized my shelves are going so slowly because I don't know squat about woodworking, and rely a lot on my busy mother for help.  For the upcoming weeks I want to get outdoors and do something other than reading, blogging and e-mailing.

This is a picture of how the computer can do a really good job of showing a landscape plan.
Nevertheless, it's nice out and I need to get away from the screen.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Last week was my motivational week.  It did not go as well as I imagined.  But I evaluated what I did and realized it wasn't a complete failure. 

This is what I had planned to do:
-Finish my shelves
-Do some research
-Get an internship at Cayuga Landscape
-Find two possible places for my end of the year community build

This is what I actually did:
-Research on the basics of landscaping
-Gathered materials for the shelves
-E-mail confirmed an internship at Cayuga Landscaping
-E-mailed Claudia Brenner and she suggested two places for my community garden build
-Heard about an outreach coordinator at Cornell who could help me with the garden build

This is what was not done:
-Finishing my shelves
-Determine a regular day to intern at Cayuga Landscaping

So I did accomplish a lot.  But I also got bronchitis on Thursday and that slowed me down.  I did not get to blog about my mentor meeting last week either.  I'll add that right now:

Mentor Meeting 3/9/11
Mr. Creagan and I discussed mainly my internship at Cayuga Landscape.  Luckily, Mr.C is an incredible landscaper, and has done some work with Mr.Fernandez.  Mr. C feels that if I explain the relationship that I have with him, Mr. Fernandez will be pleased with the reference.  According to Mr. C March 15th is the day when landscaping begins.  A lot of people realize that spring is right around the corner and they start planning some landscaping plans.  I hope to be able to watch and learn what the landscapers do.  Also at the meeting we talked about a landscaping project at the school.  The Green Team is planting a tree in the quad this spring.  I am the Co-President of Green Team, and Mr. C is the teacher adviser.  Therefore, during meetings we talk about Green Team matters as well.  He said that together, him and I could do some landscape work with the tree in the quad.  Lastly, I told him that I contacted Claudia Brenner and she promptly gave me some suggestions about where I could tag team with some already started community gardens.  Claudia feels that it would be best if I join up with a project that's already started because a lot of projects like this go through a long approval process.

This week:
I am home sick today, that's why I can sit here and blog away at 2:00.  In a half an hour I will go to the doctor and hopefully get some much needed antibiotics to help me breathe again.  I will have to see what we did at our weekly WISE meeting this morning. 
Unfortunately, the Gardens 4 Humanity class is full. Crap. I am super bummed about this.  So I will have to do the bulk of learning about gardening through research.  That's alright I suppose. 
I also need to keep working on the shelves.  I want to upload some pictures to show you all what it looks like. 
I titled this blog 'Remedies' a) because that's the book I have been reading all weekend while laying on the couch coughing my head off.  b) because I feel that a lot of the WISE process involved remedies.  Remedies for when life comes up, and your project gets second place.  Remedies for when the gardening class is full.  Remedies for when things just don't go your way.  And I think one of the most interesting things about WISE is coming up with creative remedies for your problems.

P.s. I think I should stop making novel length posts.  It's probably discouraging and intimidating to readers...