Blog

It’s Getting Greener!

Have you noticed?  It’s greening up outside and it’s beautiful!  
 
Go ahead… While you’re at the library, take a stroll around our gardens.  There are some lovely flowers blooming and all sorts of new growth.  And speaking of new growth, have you ever noticed how many different shades of green there are?  The variations seem endless.
 
 
 
If you’re with your children (or even if you’re not), grab the color walk cards and see how many different greens you can match.  Don’t forget to visit our “Activity downloads” page for a great Nature Detective packet to encourage your little ones to learn all about leaves.  Or, take an observation sheet with you and tell us what you notice in the gardens.  We’d love to hear from you!
 
Have a wonderful spring-green day.
 

Garden Structures

We’re on the look out for simple, sturdy designs for garden structures that would fit in the TPL gardens. I ran across this site on a Google search: http://www.grandiflora.pro/cool-pics/structures-bridges-and-follies.
Here’s one that I think could be scaled down to for different purposes. 


But I really like the idea of follies, something for garden decoration but suggesting another purpose, like a mini-castle or this stump cave.


Whoa. Googled some more. Folly fanciers. Huh. Post ideas that might fit in at the TPL gardens. 

Seedfolks

Lately we have been reading lots of garden-related stories: Seedfolks, Rose’s Garden, Plant a Kiss, and more.

But these stories are not just about planting gardens.  They are about so much more, like planting seeds of hope for a future filled with beauty.  About the power of nature.  About how simple gestures bloom into something so much bigger with faith and perseverance.  About a sense of community. 

The messages found in these pages are being realized right here at our library.  


Join us on the 27th of this month from 10am to 12pm to celebrate the library gardens at our spring Gardens Open-house.  See what our community has nurtured from those very first seeds of hope and be a part of its blooming.

WANTED: MASTER GARDENER VOLUNTEERS


The library is looking for Master Gardener Volunteers to take on discrete projects and assist in the maintenance of others. Several Master Gardener volunteers have already contributed to the project and two MGVs maintain a continuing relationship with the project.
Volunteers are needed to


  • Design and/or build of raised or vertical beds appropriate for Universal Access Garden, for gardeners of all abilities, including those with physical limitations
  • Design and /or build of garden shade structures appropriate for Children’s Garden
  • Modify or design/build of composting system
  • Create of interpretive signage for Children’s, Butterfly, and Universal Access Garden and composting area
  • Assist in continuing  maintenance of Rainbow and Butterfly Gardens
  • Assist in recruiting and  managing garden volunteers.

  

If you are interested in this project contact Bernardo Feliciano (Master Gardener) at bfelicia2@gmail.com  or Susan Preece Director of the Library at 725-1727 or director@topshamlibrary.org.

Happy Spring!

Looking out the window you might not know that spring is officially here.  Yes, Mother Nature seems to be at her spring cleaning and is sweeping out all the remaining snow from every nook and cranny but we are Mainers and have come to expect a good spring snow storm.  We are not about to let it stop us from celebrating!

There is much to look forward to at the library and some great events that will take place in the library’s lovely gardens.  Be sure to keep an eye out for details so you can join the fun…

Until then, here are some inspirations for spring activities that you and your children can enjoy no matter what the weather conditions:



Happy Spring!

A Snowy Bird Feeder

Our next bird feeder has been inspired by one of our favorite books: 
Stranger in the Woods.

With our current weather, I’d say it’s perfect timing.  Here’s how to do it: Build a snow man, woman, dog, elephant… whatever you like.  Add a carrot or orange nose; some nut eyes, mouth and buttons; and sprinkle with bird seed.  Get creative and have fun.  


So get outside and play in the snow.  The birds will thank you!


Here’s a little inspiration to get you going:


1.   2.  3.  4.

For the Birds


Did you know that February is National Bird-Feeding Month?

It was established in 1994 as way to publicize the importance and benefits of helping out our feathered friends.

Why February?  This is traditionally the hardest month for wild birds to find food sources as well as water and shelter. 

I can’t think of a better month to show our love for the birds that are so important to our gardens and environment!  If you would like to celebrate with us and help keep our little friends fed throughout the month, we will be posting a simple DIY bird feeder each week that you can do with your children and hang outside.

To kick it off, here’s a simple hanging feeder:

birdseed favors

Ingredients:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 Tbsp corn syrup
4 cups bird seed
Combine flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup in a large bowl.  
Add bird seed and mix well.
Spray the inside of a cookie cutter with cooking spray  (we found a 2-4″ size worked best)
Fill the cookie cutter with the bird seed mixture and press down firmly (the firmer it is, the better it will stay together)
Make a hole near the top (but not too close)
Carefully remove cookie cutter 
Let dry for 6-8 hours
Loop a 10″ length of jute through the hole and hang outside for birds to enjoy!



Let us know how yours turned out…

Nature Crafts

As I look at the calendar and think about the upcoming holidays, I’m also starting to think of snow.  It’ll be here soon.  But I still want to hold on to the beauty that the fall season has to offer.  I’m not quite ready to slip into winter.

If you are feeling the same, here are some wonderful nature crafts that would put all those pressed leaves, collected acorns and pinecones, and miscellaneous treasures from nature to creative use:


Fall Leaves Window Display

Wild Kingdom
Magical Nature Creatures


Fairy Tea


Playfullearningleafpeople
Leaf People

CirclesOfLife3

Nature Mandalas


Be sure to also check out the fall leaf and seed activities in the children’s area during your next visit to the library.

ENJOY!!!

Seeds of Fall

Autumn is such a beautiful season here in New England and a great time to enjoy nature’s wonders.  

Upon first glance, our gardens may already seem to be starting their winter slumber.  There just doesn’t seem to be much going on.  But, take a closer look…

Plants are hoping to send off their seeds before their long rest.  Explore the library garden and you’ll find all sorts of interesting seeds: parachutes, exploders, hitchhikers, and winged-seeds.  There are even seed pods that sound like a rattle!

Here are some great books about seeds that you and your child can read together:  

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston
Seeds, by Ken Robbins
Flip, float, fly : seeds on the move, by JoAnn Early Macken

And The Field Studies Council has a simple and informative page with a helpful graphic.  


If you would like to do a study of seeds with your children, here are some activity printables:

seed dispersal
animals & seeds
types of seeds


Now get outside and explore!  



We’d love to hear about your experience exploring our garden and learning about fall’s seeds.