The Annual Garden at Allerton Park is a quaint little garden tucked away around the corner of a tall arborvitae hedge, across from the visitor-favorite Peony Garden. Two one-hundred foot long rectangular flower beds dominate the space. Traditionally, the garden was used by Robert Allerton’s head gardener to try new plants and determine what he liked and what was suitable to use elsewhere on the estate. To this day, the garden’s annual display is designed by Allerton’s head gardener. But last year, three fifth grade classes from Stratton Academy of the Arts Elementary School designed and installed the annual display!
The fifth graders worked through a design packet made by Stratton’s art teacher, Priscilla Putman, that included exercises on color theory, patterns and symmetry, and art themes. The classes’ teachers, Monty Rose, Chris Gratkins and Brandon Rutherford, were able to use the packets and work with the classrooms at their own pace. I was fortunate to volunteer at the school, working with the students to develop their designs. It was amazing to see these young people think creatively while practicing the math and science concepts they’ve learned in the classroom.
The student group plots showed care and interest in creative themes such as emojis, fish, pixels, and the queen of hearts. Students were able to get out of the classroom and into another classroom – the garden at Allerton Park! The end result was an engaging project, fun and educational for students and adults alike, and a beautiful annual garden.