Green Graffiti

Green quote of the day: “If nothing else, reuse is all about having fun. Yes, it conserves energy. Yes, it’s an appropriate response to the wastefulness of our disposable times. It can even be seen as an act of sedition, undermining the status quo. But mostly, it’s about having fun. We get to bring imagination and creativity to the table and indulge in an adult form of play.”¬†– The Revolutionary Yardscape by Matthew Levesque

So here it is, finally arrived. Nine months of planning come down to the next ten days. We begin building today at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, YIKES.

One thing I learned this past week: Kids from generation Y and Z are intelligent. They are the future. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

For an activity this week, I gathered up a long strip of butcher paper and asked my AP Government and Politics class, “Green is the color of…?” I had them ‘graffiti’ this piece of paper with everything that the color green meant to them. It was such an awesome experience. Then, I went to my old middle school, Kopachuck Middle school in Gig Harbor to do the same activity. Boy, the differences were intriguing.

Kopachuck Middle School visit
6th graders at Kopachuck Middle School doing some "green graffiting!"

For example, some of the high schoolers said “envy, money, Starbucks, Lord of the Rings, and Yoda” reminded them of green,while the middle schoolers said, “football fields, jello, school binders, salad, and blue+yellow” being green to them. Ask an elementary student and they reply, “Lettuce, frogs, grass, plants, trees, apples.”

So, it’s your turn. What does the color green remind you of? Keep that thought and bring it to the show. You’ll see just what I’m doing with these ‘graffiti’ sheets. You don’t want to miss it. ūüôā

I will try to blog every day during the building process and the show. Plenty of pictures and videos to come!

P.S. Another thing I learned this week? Never leave Sue Goetz unattended with a can of purple spray paint. Trust me on this one. Anyone who knows her gardens… knows this well.

Puzzle Pieces

”¬†Who knows just how creative and eco-friendly you can be? You’re only limited by your imagination–and ambition…¬†¬† I am not saying we must all run out to the salvage yards, scooping up bits and pieces to save them from the landfill. Oh heck, yes I am! Some of the most creative uses of garden art were rescues from such places.”¬†¬†Joe Lamp’l , The Green Gardener’s guide.

Recycled windows=cool greenhouse!

One thing my mom always says…creating a display garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden show is easier when you build as much as you can ahead of time.¬†It is starting to become like a big puzzle. We build, dismantle and then put the pieces back together at the show.¬†¬†Build day today just before the rain set in.

Plastic bottles from Gig Harbor High, getting ready for show time!

Count down to building in the convention center…7 days!!!

Paradise (to be) Regained…borrowing Thoreau

Green quote of the day:

¬†“A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but waste is a terrific thing to mind.” –
“The Green Book” by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen¬†¬†¬†¬†

garden sketch of the 2011 show garden

¬†So here’s the background on my garden.
¬†¬†¬† I have attended the Northwest Flower and Garden show since 2003, but my first true involvement in the show was in the year 2005. My mom and I (as an almost twelve-year-old) collaborated on a designed a garden titled, “A Child of The Garden Grows.” ¬†The design was based on what an ideal garden would be like for a school-aged child. The garden’s popular characteristic was the purple trees. A greenhouse was set to look like a tree house, and on the four corners of the greenhouse were dead Madrona¬†trees we had painted bright purple. During that show, I was soon nicknamed “The Purple Tree Girl” by Ciscoe Morris and plenty others. My horticulture career was about to blossom. ūüėČ

The three Goetz girls show them how to pose with a girl power gets it done!

During the 2009 Northwest Flower and Garden show, there was discussion between my mom and I about the next show. Since the output for the flower show is immense, my mom developed the idea to design a garden every two years of the show; one year on, one year to have a break between. According to the pattern the next show was 2011 for her, my graduation year. We thought, hmmmm, ¬†“Senior exhibition!”
    The point of a senior exhibition in high school is to discover a way to involve yourself in the community. Most kids pick a volunteer project such as Habitat for Humanity, or creating their own event to raise money for a cause. I went a different route. I decided to submit a special design to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in July of 2010.
¬†¬†¬† The theme for the 2011 Garden Show is literature, and I knew exactly who I was going to use: Henry David Thoreau. Some say he was ahead of his time, some say he was controversial, but either way, he is completely right in certain ways. His essay “Paradise (to be) Regained” is a review of Joseph Etzler’s book.¬†
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† “Etzler talked much about the taming of nature. Gardens would replace swamps; mountains could be leveled and the land made useful for¬† human habitation; forests cultivated; the ugly and unfriendly areas of the natural world made beautiful and friendly. Thoreau, who claimed¬† that the wilderness is the salvation of mankind, certainly had doubts about making nature serve narrow economic ends.Thoreau thought¬†¬† that while the idea of working with nature to improve human life is not without merit, we should not believe that a life of material ease can¬†¬† substitute for the need for wild nature to provide aesthetic and spiritual values for our soul. And an absolute triumph over nature might rob¬† us of the goods nature provides us freely without mechanical labors when we attend to her with respect” (Moran, par 6).¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

You can see why I picked Thoreau. A huge part of my garden design¬† is recycling, re-purposing, and ‚Äúre-characterizing‚ÄĚ used materials. My goal and intent for this garden is to have eco-minded green and fun ideas that anyone could instill in their lives. I want the message to get out that not everyone can afford solar panels or hybrid cars, but anyone can and will make a difference by using a little bit¬†less and utilizing what they already have. My generation is facing the difficult challenge of using less and conserving more, so any little bit from anything helps.

You, yes you, can be the change you want to see in the world.

1Moran, James.”Thoreau’s ‘Paradise to be Regained'”. Utopia, Philosophy Now.

In the Garden with Courtney

A dance partner at the Huntington Botanical Garden

Well then, let’s get to it! Hi there, I’m Courtney Goetz. I’m a seventeen year old senior attending Gig Harbor High School, and as you know, a display garden designer this year at the Northwest Flower and Garden show.

I think the best way to introduce myself is telling you how I got into gardening.

¬†¬†¬†¬† Growing up on the potato farm in Idaho, there was never a time of boredom. Being seven years old, most of what I did was make mud pies on Grandma’s porch, play on the farm equipment, and have sprinkler fights or pick off the buds on the Lilac bushes to throw at my older sisters (sorry Mom, never knew¬† they actually had a purpose on the plant.) We had a 460 acre farm, and I picked random places to explore, build forts on and claim as my own. Along with adventures, I helped my mom in the greenhouse and in the flower fields not as a chore, but just because it was something fun to do. We even got a field trip of my kindergarten class to come out to the farm and learn about plants and take home a planted sunflower seed.

         After we moved from Idaho up to Washington, our play space was reduced to a claustrophobic amount. But, there still was an acre of unexplored and very native vegetation, and if I could crawl through bushes to it, it was mine. I can think of three places that I claimed.

Two different spots were in the front yard with tall trees, Salal, Huckleberries and a stick fort with tree stump chairs. Another spot was in the backyard: it was my hide-and-seek spot. I’d crawl about 12 feet into the thick of bushes and clear out a tiny space only I could fit in.

I used it so much the dirt became quite comfy, and no one could ever find me because they’d give up so easily. ūüôā

¬†¬†¬†¬† Seven years later, most of my evidence is gone or cleared away. But as we cleared away bushes, the forest of native plants changed to perennials and yard maintenance. I was gardening, whether I liked it or not. Don’t worry, most of the time I did. My love for gardening matured from exploring stick forts to having flower beds and cutting lavender.

Courtney Cosmos!

¬†¬†¬†¬† The fascination of gardening with kids is being able to see the effects of their effort with a touch of unknown science, e.g. planting a seed and watching it grow into a sunflower. My fascination was no different than normal, I just believe it was prolonged exposure to it. I was lucky to be a part of my mom’s work sometimes because I knew not many my age had the opportunities or knowledge I had. And I’m not saying it is effective to have a child grow up in a high maintenance yard to get them to like gardening, I’m saying the little extra exposure and education from my parents really shaped my love for it all.

%d bloggers like this: