A few Saturdays ago, students gathered in the Envi Center Kitchen for a festive garden party. This party was a way to appreciate the bounty of the Envi Center gardens just as the growing season comes to a frosty close. For many students, it was also an introduction to the fruit trees, wildflowers, and beds of herbs and vegetables that lie between the Envi Center and Sawyer.
Saturday’s gathering involved a variety of botanically oriented activities. Upon their arrival, students crafted their own tea bags using dried mint and dried lemon balm from the garden, coffee filters, staples and string. The garden beds have been overflowing with spearmint, chocolate mint and lemon balm all season, and it was wonderful to enjoy some of these flavors in liquid form.
As it was a beautiful fall day, tea-bag-making and tea-drinking was followed by a walk through the garden. Along the way, students collected aesthetically beautiful weeds, opened a milkweed pod, and explored a patch of walking onions. In the orchard area of the Envi center’s landscape, they took turns using an apple-catcher to harvest the last apples of the season. These sweet green apples were then diced up and used to make muffins, which also featured local eggs, and maple syrup from Hopkins Forest. Amidst the planned activities, students also had a spontaneous dance party and competed to crack open walnuts from a tree in Currier Quad.
Other events of a similar spirit are being planned by the Gardening and Landscaping intern for the Zilka center (Baladine Pierce ‘20). Among the possibilities is a cooking event to showcase the garden’s rosemary and sage and an event to celebrate the Jerusalem Artichokes (or sunchokes) when they are ready for harvest. By gathering in the space of the gardens, and utilizing garden produce, students and community members can appreciate their campus as a landscape that is living, and full of natural wonder.