Orrington Elementary School is celebrating the successful launch of its new Centennial Garden this fall, and looking forward to it blooming again next spring as the school celebrates its 100th anniversary. Two Orrington parents designed the urban-style garden: interior designer Jane Kuelbs, and her husband, architect Bruce Rogers.

The design incorporates a variety of garden design forms: brick edged formal beds, a pergola, raised planters, a shade garden with stepping stones and boulders for seating; a butterfly garden, and a patch for pumpkins and gourds. A large contingent of parents and school staff volunteered over several weekends to create the garden hard scape with the support of the Orrington PTA and Principal Michael Dougherty.
Lurvey’s Garden Center and Lake Street Landscape Supply donated materials and foundations plants.

The garden, located on the south end of the school, features an outdoor classroom built around two existing maple trees and surrounded by a shade garden. Stumps, donated by the Evanston Forestry Department, serve as seats.

Students can enjoy the space while writing in their journals, collecting bugs, enjoying a math lesson, sketching, or reading. The first grade has already used the area extensively, planting over 300 bulbs for their garden curriculum.

Raised vegetable garden beds allow students to stand while they’re digging, and discourage deer and other wildlife from eating the plantings. Teachers decide how to use the beds to enhance their curriculums. Another area is designated for students to sow pumpkin seeds in the spring that they can harvest the following fall. A more formal sensory garden was created to help teach students to be quiet in a space and take time to notice their surroundings. Stepping stones, bluestone gravel, flowers, and herbs allow students to experience different sounds, shapes, colors, textures, and fragrances. To learn more about the garden, email orringtonpta@gmail.com