Rowe students gifted with plants

Rowe students show off their new succulents.
(Karen Billing)

Last week R. Roger Rowe School’s garden students received a succulent plant prize, compliments of the Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Forest Health and Preservation Committee.

The green gifts were a joint project with the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation and served as rewards for third, fourth and fifth grade students who have been learning all year about how to care for plants in the “Leadership and Community Through Gardens” class, taught in the school garden by teacher Jessica Henke.

A school family who wished to remain anonymous helped coordinate the donation and transport 257 plants to the school on May 24. There were 125 small succulents, 125 medium-size plants and seven large 15-gallon ones that nearly dwarfed the students who received them.

Students lined up and spun a wheel to determine the size of the plant they could pick. With growing smiles, they then carefully made their selections from the containers lined up in orderly rows on the school’s sunny upper blacktop. Cheers erupted for the lucky seven who got the big plants.

A Rowe student picks out her plant.
(Karen Billing)

All of the donated succulents were grown in Forest Health and Preservation Committee Chair Bill Beckman’s yard in Rancho Santa Fe.

“It’s a small part of what I’ve grown,” said Beckman, who was on hand to see the plants off to their new homes. “I love growing them and giving them away.”

According to the Association, the succulents are examples of plants native to San Diego and Rancho Santa Fe and the committee hopes that by providing students with the plants they are developing the next generation of gardeners and forest sustainers.

Beckman reminded the students that even the largest plants started out just like the smallest ones. Each plant counts, he said, and with care and very little water, they can grow into great things of beauty.

A happy winner of a big plant.
(Karen Billing)