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   Butterflies at Boyce
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   Word Wise
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       in the Sonoran
   Stir-Frying Ironwood
       Seeds
   Soil Basics
   Garden Smart TIPS
   Worming Your Way to
       Fertile Ground
   Happy Birthday
       Mr. Baker

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Master Gardener Journal  


S P O T L I G H T   O N   O U R   P A R T N E R S



An Interview with Christy Ten Eyck

by Nikol Price,
Master Gardener


Christy Ten EyckTen Eyck Landscape Architects Inc. is the talented design group that helped plan the Children's Environmental Education Garden at the County Extension offices in Phoenix. Christy Ten Eyck, along with talented landscape architect Mary Kenyon, donated their time and effort as part of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects' commitment to community involvement.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Christy about her background and motivation.

How Are You Involved With Youth Gardening?
Our main role in (youth) gardening is with garden design. Ten Eyck Landscape Architects initially visited with Lucy Bradley to discuss the vision of the Children's Garden. After that meeting, we returned to the site and documented the existing conditions, drew a base plan, attended the initial brainstorming workshop, and then synthesized all the information into a physical site plan.

How Long Did You Work On This Project?
We had our initial meeting last summer, and produced our first plan last fall. Our involvement also included a recent revision to the original plan.

Are You A Master Gardener Through The County Extension Program?
Our office staff includes one person, Joanne Kasko, who is a Master Gardener through the County Extension program.

Do You Regularly Work With Youth Gardening In Your Career?
Ten Eyck Landscape Architects has worked on several project types that involve children, ranging from children's gardens to children's playgrounds and park facilities, to children's hospital courtyards. We believe in creating fun and exciting environments that interpret the desert landscape.

Were You Interested In Gardening As A Child?
My early childhood memories are of my grandparents' huge vegetable garden in East Texas at their lake house. They grew Texas-size tomatoes, onions, figs, plums, etc. I remember my grandpa using fish innards as fertilizer in the garden, and it is still an indelible memory in my mind. At the time, I thought it was the most amazing, disgusting thing I had ever witnessed!

I also loved the oak-covered hill where their house was located. My grandparents put up swings for us, and we could see the lake in the distance as we swang. I can still hear my grandmother reciting the poem as we swang 'Up Up Up in a swing Up in the air so blue, Oh I do think it the pleasantest thing ever a child could do Up in the air and over the wall 'till I can see so wide, rivers and trees and cattle and all over the countryside."

I also have vivid memories of my other grandparents' fishpond, and the goldfish swimming around. I must have been really little--say 3--because they moved to another house when I was about this age.

What these experiences tell me is that:
  • Kids like to grow things they can eat.
  • Don't forget how kids like the 'yuck' factor--fascinating!
  • It's a good idea for some recreational components to be mixed in when creating a garden.
  • Kids are fascinated by water--it should have a place in the garden as long as it is safe.
  • Kids love the animals and insects that are attracted to gardens.
Do You Have Any Advice For People Just Starting To Work With Youth Or Youth Gardening Projects?
Have fun and never forget your ultimate client, the user, in this case the children. Don't over-hardscape!!

What Is Your Favorite Gardening Book? Why Is It Your Favorite?
A book we often refer to is Earth Prayers, edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon. It's a compilation of prayers, poems, meditations, and invocations honoring the earth. This book reminds us of the sacredness of the natural world, and of the interconnectedness of life.

Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Readers?
We enjoyed helping the Maricopa County Extension office realize their dream of a children's garden, and are thankful for the opportunity.


Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information
Last Updated July 28, 2003
Author: Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County
© 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Comments to Maricopa-hort@ag.arizona.edu 4341 E. Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040,
Voice: (602) 470-8086 ext. 301, Fax (602) 470-8092