Thanks for the blueberry bushes Callander's Nursery!

Perennial Garden:

  • edible blue wild violet
  • thyme
  • sage
  • chive
  • oregano
  • mint
  • lemon balm
  • chuffa
  • asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • walking onion
  • honeyberry
  • blueberry
  • cranberry
  • strawberry
  • red raspberry
  • golden raspberry
  • blackberry
  • yellow grape
  • blueberry
  • kiwi Mr. Francis Mr. Francis
September 8, 2010

Annual Garden

  • garlic
  • rainbow chard
  • swiss chard
  • collard greens
  • kale
  • arugula
  • mustard green
  • leaf lettuce

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From the Register Star & the Columbia County Land Conservancy

Columnists > Land Matters

Coming soon: The Henry Hudson Discovery Garden


Thursday, April 1, 2010 2:13 AM EDT

A small, non-descript area near the southern boundary of the Hudson Junior High School is about to be transformed. If you go there today, all you'll see is a rough gravel roadway near the property line with the Firemen's Home, not far from a temporary mobile storage container and some discarded construction materials. In a few weeks, you'll see freshly roto-tilled top soil surrounded by a fence and a couple of sheds. A few weeks later, you'll begin to see the delicate shoots of a new crop of vegetables and flowers reaching out to the sun. By the time school starts again in the fall, it will be a lush and bountiful garden.

The Henry Hudson Discovery Garden is about to materialize, as if from thin air. It will enrich the curriculum in a number of ways. Beyond that, it will contribute importantly to the awareness and understanding of the students about food - where it comes from, how it gets to our tables, what makes if good for you, or not. It will also provide a key link - for many kids, perhaps, the first they've had - with the soil, the natural world, the world of agriculture, features that are central to the heritage of Columbia County.

The Columbia Land Conservancy is very pleased to join with several other community organizations and agencies in support of this wonderful project.

How it came about

The discovery garden is the brainchild of Diana Doto, a 7th grade biology teacher, Lynn MacGowan, who teaches social studies, and Mike Needham, a safety consultant at the school. Doto sees it as a way to teach the biology curriculum. Her students have already started a number of plants from seeds, which are germinating in the classroom. Other teachers plan to make use of the garden in their courses as well - for American history (what better way to provide a small taste of the incredible labor involved in homesteading and settling the great American frontier), for art (students can grow, harvest and paint or photograph their own still life material).

Help is coming from a number of places. With a Healthy Communities Capacity Building grant from the County Health Department, fencing material, gates, some rain collection barrels, a composter and top soil have been obtained. The Health Care Consortium has donated garden tools. The Hawthorne Valley Learning Center will give tours to the students of the Hawthorne Valley farm, teaching about composting, tool making and the like. The Columbia Land Conservancy's educator is assisting with information about planning and maintaining a garden and will do educational programming at the garden. In short, it's shaping up to be a real community effort - at no cost to the school district.

Connecting kids with nature

One of the core objectives of the Columbia Land Conservancy is to build and strengthen connections between people and the land. We do this in a number of ways. I can't think of anything more important in this regard than creating experiences for young people, ideally working together with others, to work on, in and with the land.

Within the lifetime of many of us, the experience of growing up in America has completely changed. Most kids today think food comes from a supermarket or a fast food establishment, and haven't a clue what it was or what it looked like before it was prepared and packaged. Hardly any children today have the opportunity to spend extended periods in the outdoors, playing in the woods, wading in streams, freely roaming about the land, or working in a garden, as was quite common only a generation ago. One fourth grader has been famously quoted as saying he prefers to play indoors, “because that's where all the electrical outlets are.”

In truth, all of us are increasingly disconnected from the natural world we inhabit. We suffer from what one author has called “nature deficit disorder.”

The implications are profound. Whether we know it or not, we are dependent in countless of ways upon the natural world that we inhabit. Its health and well-being are essential to ours. But in today's world we are so separated from it and know so little about it, and there are so many ways that human society can be harmful to it, that it's all too easy to imagine society sowing the seeds of destruction to natural conditions on which human life ultimately depends. Indeed, we're seeing more than a few glimpses of this frightening specter in recent decades.

Apart from the fundamental importance of understanding, appreciating and cherishing the wonders of the natural world, there are other benefits from connecting with nature. An impressive array of scientific and medical studies powerfully suggests that living in and near green spaces and working outdoors, including gardening, has innumerable physical and mental health benefits, and even contributes positively to academic success.

For all of these reasons, the Columbia Land Conservancy applauds the work of those who are creating the Henry Hudson Discovery Garden. We are pleased to do what we can to support the effort, and hope for additional opportunities to support similar initiatives all over the county, several of which are up and running.

Vision for the future

The Henry Hudson Discovery Garden is just taking shape. It's too soon to tell where it will end up. But its founders have no shortage of hopes and dreams. Doto's hoping that come autumn, the produce will be served in the school cafeteria. She's hoping as well to have a functioning composting system up and running, which will make productive use of waste generated from the school cafeteria, and that maybe someday the students can set up and operate a farm stand. The idea of establishing a butterfly garden has been discussed, a place to study and admire the wondrous creatures and, perhaps, a place to read poetry as well.

Clearly, there is enormous potential here for middle school students to create a place a real beauty and great bounty, where people young and old can get their hands dirty together to produce healthy food and experience the joys and benefits of physical labor, working in community and connecting with nature. You can follow the progress at

What a great addition to the Hudson schools!

Peter Paden is Executive Director of the Columbia Land Conservancy, a community-based land trust dedicated to land conservation in Columbia County. He may be reached at His column appears on the first Thursday of every month.