Basalt garden party tops school beautification effort |

Basalt garden party tops school beautification effort

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – A group of parents in Basalt is taking a big step in a beautification effort at the elementary school by planting an edible garden on Sunday.

Parents in the Partners In Education group (PIE) decided last year they wanted to spruce up the school’s landscaping in addition to performing more traditional tasks, like supporting teachers and administrators and volunteering in classrooms.

The school was remodeled four years ago but most of the trees and bushes planted in the front of the school didn’t survive.

“It was just an eyesore. It was ugly,” said Tara Haas, mother of a second grader and kindergartner at the school.

The PIE parents got a grant from the Basalt town government and tapped the expertise of town horticulturist Lisa DiNardo, famous for creating and maintaining the master gardens around town. The school district also supplied funds. The front planter was revived with new trees and bushes and trees were planted in other parts of the school grounds.

The latest part of the plan was to create a garden in a courtyard. The site is perfect, Haas said, because it was under-utilized and protected from varmints and veggie pilferers of the human variety.

Plus, the garden is so close to classrooms that teachers will be able to use it for education in a “seed to plant to food” program, Haas said.

The Aspen Skiing Co. Environmental Foundation gave a $5,000 grant for the beautification and garden project.

The Pitkin County landfill donated three dumptrucks full of compost and mulch. Bear Creek Construction stripped off turf and partially prepared the site for planting.

Now comes the garden party. The group is relying on seed donations this year. They will plant potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, garlic, grapes vines, raspberry bushes and sunflowers.

“It might always end up a sort of hodge-podge of what’s available to us,” Haas said.

Volunteers of all ages are needed Sunday to help with planting, weeding, applying mulch around trees and a variety of other yard chores at the elementary school. Volunteers should meet at the school campus at 9 a.m. Garden tools from wheelbarrows to watering cans are needed.

More information is available from Tara Haas at 618-1007 or


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