Growing plants and minds with Linking Hands and HOL

Grade 7 and 8 students of NDDHS and senior gardeners. Smith photo

Kelsey Smith
Nation Valley News

MOUNTAIN — Many hands got dirty and many memories were made.

Barb Cameron and a crew of Grade seven and eight students from North Dundas District High School (NDDHS) visited the House of Lazarus (HOL) yesterday. They brought their plants and gardening expertise to a group of seniors for Linking Hands’ monthly Lunch and Learn.

Arriving aboard a Lannin Bus Lines bus driven by volunteer Carol Barkley, the students paired up with the seniors to assemble potted vegetable plants, later brought home by their elders.

Seen in above photo: Melody Praine (left) and her student partnerStephanie Cormier (right) planting their basil plant. Smith photo.

Seen in photo above: Close up of Cormier and Praine planting their basil. Smith photo.

Cameron and her students hauled several tomato, basil and chive plants off the bus.

One of the seniors asked Cameron what kind of tomato plant they would be receiving, and she jokingly replied, “It’s a surprise…could be cherry tomatoes, could be hot house, you’ll find out in a few months.”

“There’s nothing like fresh herbs to cook with,” said Cameron.

The class demonstrated how to fill the pots will soil, dig a hole and gently place the plant.

Cameron shared that it’s best to “put the tomatoes in the middle (of the planter) and herbs around the outside. Tomatoes grow taller and need more room.”

She also recalled that at the beginning of the school year, her students walked into a very unkept greenhouse at NDDHS, with one teen visitor remembering it as “gross.”

Throughout the year, the students have helped her clean out all four large flower beds and started fresh with brand new soil. They purchased $150 bags of soil from BMR.

As part of their curriculum, they learned about “sustainability and how to grow your own food and enjoy it,” Cameron added.

Other senior volunteers of the Linking Hands’ committee came to HOL to observe and give their expert advice if needed.

Pauline Scheepers of the committee, elucidated that she “has gardened since she was 5” and is an “expert.” A barbecue lunch was provided and held at the Presbyterian Church just down the street. 

Seen in photo above: Senior gardening experts; Jorris Zubatuk, Pauline Scheepers, and Carol Zubatuk. Smith photo

The hot dogs, hamburgers, veggies and dip, drinks, and chips, were all purchased with money donated by all five local Lions Clubs.

Lois Lannin gave her time and supplied everyone with delicious homemade salsa for part of their lunch.

Seen in above photo: Students and seniors eating their delicious barbecue lunch. Smith photo

Lannin also brought lemon balm plants that she had started herself in her own garden for anyone to bring home. She told the gang that “mosquitoes do not like lemon balm” so it’s a great plant to have around.

Seen in above photo: Lois Lannin (right) showing Barb Cameron (centre) and her class the lemon balm she had grown for them.

The committee expressed thanks to the various volunteers, church groups and committees within North and South Dundas for their continuing time and funds to make these Lunch and Learn events possible every month.