Gardening club grows into the Upper School


GETTING SOME SUN. Plants soak in natural light from outdoors, where they will eventually be transplanted.

What to do when a green thumb strikes during the school day? Garden Club may be the answer.

We are hoping that some of the plants that we planted can be brought home with members to plant gardens

— Talia Cairns

The club was founded this spring by sophomore students who became interested in gardening after studying plants in biology. They found it to be a joyful process.

“It’s just fun to grow stuff,” co-founder Talia Cairns said.

Originally mentioned as an offhand comment, the co-founders, June Dalton, Talia Cairns, Annie Zhang, and David Schumacher, grew excited about the club idea, as horticulture opportunities are few and far between during the school day.

“We were working with plants in the biology room, and realized there was the capacity to grow plants in there,” club co-founder Talia Cairns said.

In the biology room, dozens of red cups now sit on the window sill, housing plants that the club grew from seed packets. The club also uses the grow-light available in the biology room, which is convenient, as the biology teachers Ms. Yost-Dubrow and Ms. Piehl advise the club.

Next year the garden club might expand to its own outdoor plot. The group hopes to move operations outside and be able to grow plants on SPA property.

THEY GROW UP SO FAST. Sawyer Bollinger Danielson shows off her tomato plant. (Siri Pattison)

“We’re mostly staying inside right now, but we are hoping that some of the plants that we planted can be brought home with members to plant gardens or just keep as house plants,” Cairns said.

Sophomore Sawyer Bollinger Danielson has been a member of Garden Club since the first day, and has kept a close watch on her tomatoes since. Bollinger Danielson’s tomatoes sit on the windowsill next to habanero peppers, flowers, and cucumbers.

“I’ve always wanted to garden, but at home I can’t get the motivation to. Being able to do it at a designated time makes it so I can,” she said.

Bollinger Danielson’s tomatoes require a careful eye, especially because the watering time frame is reduced to just weekdays. Nevertheless, she hopes to bring them home and transplant them into her outdoor garden.

“If I want a tomato, I can just go out and pick one,” Bollinger Danielson said of her future plans.

EXPERT TIPS. Directions for planting are up in the biology room for students wanting to try their luck at gardening. (Siri Pattison)

Besides moving outdoors, Gardening Club plans to expand its reach next year by providing greenery to SPA spaces.

“We’re gonna be able to grow more houseplants with low light abilities and distribute them to various classrooms for teachers that want them,” Cairns said.

Gardening club got its start in a post-covid SPA, where community engagement and club attendance are unusually low. But, the club has been a success so far, especially among freshmen and sophomores. The group boasts an email list of around 30 people, and is quickly growing in attendance.

“It’s fun to be able to start something and see that people are actually interested in it,” Cairns said.

Garden Club meets in the biology room during club periods, and welcomes all students to get their hands dirty.