Garden of the Month: September 2015
The Teaching Gardens of Saint Michael’s College
Last Spring I was introduced to Valerie Bang-Jensen & Mark Lubkowitz, cofounders Teaching Gardens of Saint Michael’s College, when my Mom and Valerie’s sister in law started talking about the Miss. Rumphius t-shirt my Mom was wearing during one of her art classes. They were both delighted to learn about the Outdoor Classrooms connection. Before I knew it I had Valerie and Mark’s contact information and found myself introducing myself virtually. I quickly learned Miss. Rumphius is a favorite book in the Teaching Gardens at Saint Michael’s College. Since then, I have been inspired by the incredible landscape that has been created for cultivating educators to teach outdoors using literacy and theme gardens. Welcome to the Garden of the Month!
The Teaching Gardens of Saint Michael’s College is an active outdoor learning laboratory that consists of an arboretum, a children’s literature garden ” Books in Bloom,” The Native Plants of Vermont Garden, the International Garden, and the Word Garden. Founded in 2004, these gardens have grown through collaborative work between the departments of Education, Biology, and Applied Linguistics. The gardens reflect interdisciplinary exploration and as a result expand the traditional concept of a garden.
In addition to serving our college community, these gardens are a destination in Chittenden County for visitors who want to learn about plants, their role in children’s literature and our environment, or just want to picnic in an aesthetically pleasing corner of our campus.
Thea Alvin stone installations: Thea Alvin, world-renowned stone artist, has created a stone arch “Time and Again,” and a negative/positive plinth as well as a bench with a scope through which the viewer sees the arch and plinth aligned. These links summarize Thea’s work and show her in action: Link 1and Link 2
Photo by John Hughes
Books in Bloom Garden: The Books in Bloom Garden was created to enrich the literary experience of reading children’s books in which plants play an integral role. Can you imagine the plot of Wizard of Oz without poppies? Or Winnie the Pooh without thistles for Eeyore? Mary Lennox’s transformation in The Secret Garden parallels the blossoming of flowers in the hidden garden. Our Books in Bloom garden features plants such as these that play critical or whimsical roles in literature. We invite you to visit the garden and enjoy a first-hand experience with the plants and the books. Our children’s collection in the college’s Durick Library contains many titles with plant connections.
International Garden: The International Garden was conceived of and planned as a way to celebrate through plantings, the great diversity of countries represented by international students and international faculty and staff members who are or have been members of the Saint Michael’s community throughout its history. As a Teaching Garden, The International Garden is intended to provide and encourage opportunities for everyone at Saint Michael’s, community members, alumni/ae, and visitors to learn more about the countries and cultures which, and students, faculty and staff members who have enriched and continue to enrich our community by their presence.
Outdoor Classroom Garden location:
GPS:If you are using a GPS to direct you to The Teaching Gardens, please use the address, “30 College Parkway, Colchester, VT” which directs you to our south entrance. After turning left into campus on Campus Road, bear left again and find parking in the visitor lots near the Ross/Tarrant sports and recreation facility.
- FROM EXIT 15, INTERSTATE 89:
- South Entrance
- McCarthy Arts Center, Durick Library & Ross Sports & Tarrant Recreation Centers
- Bear right off of exit 15, Interstate 89 and get into left lane. At the first set of lights, take left into parking lot. McCarthy Arts Center is on your right; Durick Library is straight ahead; Ross Sports and Tarrant Recreation Centers are on the left toward the back of the parking lot.
- FROM THE PARKING LOT:
- Follow the sidewalk past the McCarthy Arts Center and the gardens will be on your right
The Teaching Gardens of Saint Michael’s College, Colchester, Vermont (just outside of Burlington)
Website for gardens: Teaching Garden
Do you have a fabulous Outdoor Classroom that you would like to showcase? Join us and send your story and pictures and we will feature you in our Garden of Month!