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News from the Maplewood Gardens

Hello, Mustangs! Some of you may have noticed some changes outside and wondered, “What happened to our entries on Maplewood and Ashwood last Friday?”

Our very own Ms. Kirk applied with the nonprofit Austin Partners in Education for corporate-sponsored assistance with landscaping and painting improvements for our campus. Within a week, Maplewood had been chosen by Ernst & Young LLC as the recipient of a $2,000.00 grant for supplies and a team of 80 employee volunteers ready to help. After meeting with Ms. Jacobson to develop a plan, the work was completed last Friday, October 6. Ernst & Young’s wonderful team of hard-working volunteers repainted the restrooms across from the gym, installed new landscaping at the front and Ashwood entries, mulched trees, added soil and compost to classroom raised beds, and powerwashed the front exterior of the school.

With donations of time and funding, Urban Patchwork has been working with the Maplewood Gardens group to develop a sustainable master landscaping plan, and these plants were chosen with our campus needs in mind. Keep Austin Beautiful loaned us the tools needed for the job, and Organics by Gosh donated half of the mulch. Please note that all resources, time, and effort are in-kind donations from our community; no funds have been spent on this project from Maplewood PTA or the school. We are so grateful for the gifts and hope you enjoy the results!

Now it is our time, Mustangs, to nurture the gifts we’ve received! Maplewood Gardens would like to host an informal chat and watering/care planning session this Friday, Oct. 13, right after drop off at the front entry. Please join us!! If you’re interested in volunteering but can’t attend this Friday, please email Periwinkle.

A big THANK YOU to Ms. Kirk, Ms. Jacobson, Ernst & Young LLC, and the volunteer Maplewood Gardeners that made this happen!! Also, a special THANK YOU to Kristen and Cayden for repairing, repainting, and installing the Mustang blue arch in the courtyard! It is welcoming and beautiful!!

Peace and Plants,
Maplewood Garden Team

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Photos by J. Potter-Miller.
More photos on the Maplewood PTA’s Flickr page.

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Refreshing our Campus

The Maplewood Gardening and Landscaping Committee has big dreams for the campus! We held a work day on March 23 to refresh our school’s vegetable garden boxes for the spring 2017 growing season, do some general cleanup of the grounds, and plant three trees. There are also plans in progress to build an outdoor classroom deck in the school’s courtyard, and we have solicited a proposal from Delwood 2 artist Chris Levack to create a steel peace sign sculpture for the entrance. Plans for next year include applying for funds to install a demonstration food forest at the entrance to the school, and continuing to beautify the campus with native plants. If you are interested in helping with classroom gardens, please email the Gardening and Landscaping Chair.

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Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller

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Garden Work Day October 8 at Maplewood

Maplewood families and community volunteers will meet on campus on Saturday, October 8 9am-12p.m. for another garden work day. Our priorities include:

  • moving the giant pile of mulch to our trees, where it can get to work keeping them healthy
  • moving the four picnic tables we painted a few weeks ago to the hill behind the Maplewood Playhouse
  • painting the four remaining picnic tables needing a facelift
  • weeding and repairing 2 or 3 classroom vegetable gardens

We had such a successful work day in September and hope to keep the momentum going cleaning up our campus after the construction that took place over the summer!

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    Photo credit: J. Potter-Miller

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Maplewood Families Clean Up Campus on September Garden Workday

By Periwinkle Schuster

The Maplewood Gardens first workday of 2016 was September 17th and it was not only a success but also such fun! Previous to our workday we took time to walk the campus and assess the state of the trees with the AISD forester. After the construction over the summer, many trees were damaged and in an ill state. She aided Mrs. Jacobson and our gardening team in securing many yards of valuable mulch to restore the trees we can.

On our workday many Mustangs and their families enjoyed jumping from the huge mulch pile and hauling it across the campus to protect and restore our lovely trees. We set many goals for the day and accomplished almost every one!

  • We cleared overhanging brush and limbs in the walkways, cleared the overgrown grapevines choking out the antique roses in the courtyard and enriched the state of our serene pond.
  • The butterfly garden outside the library was freed from the nasty hackberry and chinaberry over-taking and killing the pollinator plants.
  • The hedge that was obstructing the school sign on 38th street was trimmed and soon to be mulched.
  • The newly painted Peace Path on the north side of the playground was swept clear after being buried in construction dirt and edged to allow the walkway to be safe and peaceful again.

It was a huge team effort of beautiful proportions preparing the raised grading beds for the each classroom. Clearing the weeds, organically waging war on the fire ants and repairing the beds was such a success! The gardening team taught about Hugelkultur and the benefits of permaculture. Last but certainly not least, our students and their siblings painted a new garden sign and butterfly house. Look for it at the greenhouse just north of the blacktop against the main building. It is super Mustang cool! Congratulations Mustangs on a job well done!

The children in each classroom are eager to begin planting seedlings and seeds for their fall edible gardens. Can you help them? Our children’s teachers need volunteers to help plant their raised gardening beds. It’s easy. It takes less than an hour from beginning to end and the rewards just grow and grow! We have resources for you! Seeds, compost, seedlings, tools and books to borrow, gardening advise and more.

There’s always more gardening and grounds work to do! I promised to make a double batch of rice crispy treats for our next workday scheduled for October 8th! Please join us – even if you can not move dirt or pull weeds we welcome your support and encouragement! It really is a fun time, a great way to meet other Maplewood families, help our school and students and meet the principles challenge to volunteer at Maplewood Elementary school. Your invited! Let’s Grow Together!

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Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller