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Calendar >  A “Battle of the Bugs” Was Waged In The Garden

A “Battle of the Bugs” Was Waged In The Garden

By   /  March 14, 2016  /  No Comments


On Saturday, March 12, the monthly Kids in the Garden Class was held from 10 am to noon at Alta Vista Botanical Gardens in Vista. This month Garit Imhof presented his“Battle of the Bugs” show that included storytelling, music and crafts. It was just another fun day in the gardens with Farmer Jones. The emphasis was, as usual, hands-on discovery of nature and lots of fun for all! Registration for the class included the visit to the Children’s Garden and Ricardo Breceda’s “Serpent,” sculpture. The Children’s Garden also features the Enchanted Garden Tube Tunnels, the Fall Fun Festival scarecrows on display, the magnificent Children’s Music Garden, the Turtle and Dino Dig, and the Incredible Edibles Garden.

Photos by Mary Murphy

As we entered the garden we were overwhelmed with the fragrant aroma of flowers and eucalyptus. The garden foliage is already in bloom and after the rain when the air is so fresh, your nose can really pick up the various scents. A soft drumming could be heard coming from the Music garden. I looked in that direction and observed a small child that looked to be about 3 or 4 years old. He was the source of the bong, bong, bonging as his adult companion looked on.

Approaching the Lowes Pavillion where Farmer Jones holds her classes, we could hear singing that sounded like the old refrain of “Row Row Row your Boat”. As we got closer the words that we now more clearly heard were strange and not the words we expected. The tune was “Row Row Row your Boat” but the song was “Earthworm Round”. The words “Merrily moving all the time, making soil work”, completed the song. “Ladybug Hop” was sung to the tune of “Jingle Bell Rock”. “Thrip Kick” was sung to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. The last song of the day was the “Spider Song” and it was sung to the melody of “Old McDonald”. “With a house fly here and fire ant there” … you get the idea.

Now the kids were ready for the hands on session with real bugs. Farmer Jones passed around some very nice specimens that included earthworms, a kale leaf full of aphids, a green fruit beetle larva, and a sow bug. The sow bug body has several segments. Sow bugs, often referred to as a “rolly polly” or a “marble bug” , have seven pair of legs and two pair of antennae. Another crustacean, commonly known as the pillbug, resembles the sow bug. Farmer Jones poised the question, “How many legs does a bug have?” Within seconds a kid’s voice rang out with the answer, “six!” When Nancy asked the same question about spiders, several young voices replied in unison, “eight!” Smart kids!

Suddenly a couple of Farmer Jones’ students spotted something over by the Scarecrows. If you’ve never been to the children’s garden then you probably haven’t seen the Scarecrows that were made at last year’s Fall Fest in the garden. These colorful figures line the fence around the Incredible Edible Garden. Next to the garden gate and the bottom of one of the scarecrows were two small lizards. The kids bent down and carefully picked up the lizards. The lizards in my garden scatter when I approach but these two specimens didn’t resist. It was like they wanted to be looked at and they knew they would be released when everyone had looked at them. They obviously knew they were cuter than Bugs. Even when they were turned upside down and we observed their blue tinting they were calm and didn’t seem to mind the gentle hands. When we were done the kids carefully set them back on the ground and they slowly disappeared into the Incredible Edible Garden. What magic!

Garit Imhoff has presented his “Battle of the Bugs” at the Claremont and Oceanside Public Libraries and at the Weidners Nursery in Encinitas. He has also performed as a clown at the Encinitas Community Art Gallery and the Encinitas Boys and Girls Club. In addition, he is a World Music artist-teacher. Hypnotic melodies and spirited rhythms make up the compelling music found in traditional and contemporary Africa. A village music of Zimbabwe is based on the Shona peoples’ traditional instrument, the Mbira Dzavadzimu. The Mbira is known as the “thumb piano” of Zimbabwe. Garit Imhof is an expert with the instrument. How cool!

Alta Vista Botanical Gardens is now in their eighth year of getting kids outdoors to discover their environment, enjoy nature, learn about gardening, and to share art and music. The Kids in the Garden Class fee is $5 per child for two hours of pure FUN and learning. Fees support the development of the Alta Vista Children’s Garden. Adults must stay with their children and pay the Garden entry fee. When you buy a family membership in Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, the monthly Kids in the Garden class is FREE for a year. Membership forms are available on the website.

Pre-registration with Farmer Jones is required to insure they have enough materials for everyone. You can contact farmerjones@altavistagardens.org or call (760) 822-6824. Farmer Jones is a retired elementary teacher with 28 years’ experience in the classroom. She is a Master Composter who has been working in school gardens and children’s gardens for 44 years. School field trips, Scout badge sessions, and club tours are also available for a reasonable fee.

Alta Vista Botanical Gardens is located at 1270 Vale Terrace Drive in VISTA, at the top of the hill inside Brengle Terrace Park. Check out these Websites for more

info: www.altavistagardens.org


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