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The restoration of the horticulture garden

Art by Joleen Cardoza

Once upon a time, a long time ago, the horticulture garden of ERHS was a beautiful place. Please, read an ode dedicated to this space written by a wonderful student, and immerse yourself in the experience of being in our garden.

Credit: Sumiye Allen, c/o 2024

Sadly, while this tree still stands, the rest of the garden is not doing great. After over a year in quarantine, the Horticulture garden of Eagle Rock High School has not been taken care of. If you go see the garden, you will see dead grass, weeds, and almost no greenery. This garden is basically dead, but it has much potential.

Here at ERHS, our horticulture garden had many wonderful places. We had an orchard, pond, and raised beds full of luscious green plants. Now, you will see raised beds with dirt, an empty pond that’s tarp has been torn, and tons of dead leaves scattered throughout the garden. However, the horticulture students have been hard at work with amazing plans for the garden! This restoration will include the beautification of the pond, Chinese garden, orchard, lath house, nursery, and tables.

The Horticulture Garden. Photo by Victor Pack

Our new horticulture teacher, Ms. Trujillo says, “I’m very excited to teach the students all the passion I have for gardening and plants. The garden space is very beautiful, very inspiring. You can see it was very loved and I’m happy to carry on that legacy and continue to take care of it. [The garden has] lots of potential, but definitely lots of work. I have my horticulture classes grouped up now to really work on specific areas of the garden. Our key areas we’re hoping to get back in action and running are the raised bed area for sure, growing edible crops, and then the butterfly garden area, refreshing it, adding some new pollinator plants. The pond is a very loved project so there are some groups that want to get the pond filled with water and working again; just organizing and cleaning out the bath house and nursery. The last thing we definitely want to get going is the compost bins, getting it functioning and us composting hopefully as a class and maybe as a school.” Clearly, we have someone who has goals in mind and can get them in action!

The students also have great plans. I interviewed two 8th graders in Ms. Trujillo’s horticulture classes. Ella Smith said, “I definitely think over quarantine there weren’t a lot of people to care for the garden, but now that we’re back in school every day I think there’s a lot of new potential for the garden. Currently, in my horticulture group, we are planning the orchard; we plan to plant at least five trees by the end of the year including apple, nectarine, orange, and maybe even plum.”

Another student, Itzia Chavez, said, “I do think the garden has potential. I’ve seen many pictures of it before the quarantine. Being in online school really affected the garden but I can’t wait to see it up and running again. My plan for the garden is to restore it back to its state before online school. I would really like to see more green in the garden by the end and for the pond to be working again. We would have to take it step by step to really bring it back so it might take some time.”

Credit: Rheanna Uranclay c/o 2024

These plans are a great reason for excitement. With the many creative ideas of the horticulture students mixed with the potential of the garden, we can have the most beautiful garden in the world in no time. As a student in horticulture myself, it’s safe to say that we have very big plans. Having an enormous garden and access to materials is very useful and we are extremely fortunate to have all of this.

Now, whether your elective is theatre, or art, or something else, you can still help us beautify this garden. Many students like having lunch in the garden, and why wouldn’t you? It’s the perfect place to eat. When people eat, they sometimes leave trash; you can help out by cleaning up after yourself or, if you happen to be in the garden and spot trash, clean it up! As Ms. Trujillo always says, “Leave the garden better than you found it.” Also, as she mentioned, we hope to begin composting soon, so that’s another way you can help.

You can look forward to these restorations. Keep a lookout for new plants, painted benches, and much, much more. I can’t spoil all the surprises!

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