Charlotte resident Asele Carlisle is a big fan of the Budding Botanists program at UNC Charlotte. She said that she grows a lot of her own food, but could not get her daughter, Sophie Carlisle, 5, to eat kale.
“The first time she came they had a program on kale. Now she eats a kale salad every night,” said Carlisle, wondering what the program was about May 24.
During the Seeds and Sprouts class, the children learned everything you need to know about seeds. From how to germinate them to how deep to plant and how much to water them was explained and practiced as each child planted three seeds in a plastic pot to take home.
“Seeds come in many different shapes and sizes,” said Mae Lin Plummer, children program instructor at UNCC’s McMillan Greenhouse. “The larger seeds will need to be buried deeper while the smallest can be scattered across the ground.
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“The trickiest thing to teach both children and adults is soil moisture. If it is too dry the seed will not germinate and if it is too wet the seed will rot,” Plummer said, explaining that you are looking for the perfect balance.
During each class, Plummer hands out a book list provided by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library that relates to the next class. After reading “From Seed to Plant” by Gail Gibbons, Plummer, with the help of Mariah Huffman, led the participants through the lessons of the day.
When it came time to learn about soil moisture, the children seemed to enjoy smashing the soil in between their fingers and getting their hands wet and dirty.
The third Sunday of every month, UNCC holds the Budding Botanist program for ages 4-8 in the McMillan Greenhouse. The classes follow the structure of life in the plant world.
Next time the children will learn about the pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, with other classes leading to the study of leaves and uses for them. “We try to be all encompassing when it comes to the different programs we teach,” said Plummer.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Budding Botanist program is 1:30-3 p.m. the third Sunday of each month at McMillan Greenhouse, 9090 Carver Road, on the UNC Charlotte campus.
The next two programs: Pollinators Unite (June 28) and Carnivorous Plant Carnival (July 26).
A $5 donation is requested for each session, with only 12 spots available. Registration is required to reserve a spot. To register, visit www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0e45aca923a4fd0-budding1.
In addition to the children programs there are adult workshops and classes taught different times of the year. For a schedule of events, directions and parking, visit https://gardens.uncc.edu.