Monday, December 26, 2016

Winter Solstice in the Harmony Garden

The Skyview Harmony Garden is having a little winter nap during the holiday break. And while we've had a few harsh evenings with temperatures well below freezing, we still have some herbs and vegetables fighting through the elements. During this dormant time of year, we're also seeing the beautiful dry seed formations and quiet plant cycles run their course. Below are some photos from the garden this week.

But the work continues - even though our raised beds are barren and their isn't a lot to do in the garden itself. The Skyview Harmony Garden Committee is having their first meeting of the year on Thursday, January 4th from 6-7pm. The meeting is open to the community as they'll be planning spring planting, a community work party and the Skyview Harmony Garden's Annual Earth Day Fair, which is to take place on Saturday, April 22nd from 5-7pm. To attend the January 4th meeting, please RSVP to Sarah Greenman at She'll send you details about location!

Milkweed seeds.

Swiss Chard takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Seeds from our Butterfly Bush.

Garlic is a great winter vegetable that can handle the frosty weather.

Against all odds, our Cilantro is still fighting for life!

Crepe Myrtle seeds pods are opening up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Community Thanksgiving Herb Harvest

The school garden has been quiet this week, as our students and teachers are away on Thanksgiving break. But if you're still in town, we have an exciting offer for you! Do you need fresh herbs for your Thanksgiving feast? The Skyview Harmony Garden will be open tomorrow morning, Wednesday November 23rd, from 9:00-9:45am for herb harvesting. We have rosemary, culinary sage, cilantro, chives, mint, oregano, and multiple types of basil. See you in the garden!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Instruments are HERE!

This morning, everyone at Skyview Elementary School was excited to find out that their long awaited outdoor musical instruments were finally being installed today! This was the final phase of the Skyview Harmony Garden ground breaking.

Skyview's music teacher and garden co-chair, Austin Aeschbacher, was on hand to make sure that the layout of the four instruments adhered to the needs of Skyview students. PTA President, Sarah Greenman, was also on hand to work out final installation details.

Please join Skyview's PTA and community partners in celebration of the completion of the garden by attending our work party on Saturday, September 10th from 9am - 10:30pm. We can't wait to show off the new instruments!





Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Meet Skyview's New Garden Teaching Assistant

Samantha Zentner is not new to Skyview. She has been working with Skyview students and faculty as a parent volunteer and through our local Girl Scout chapter for the past two years! Her passion for gardening, eco-justice and education makes her the perfect addition to the Skyview Harmony Garden Family.

Sam will be on campus Tuesday and Thursday mornings to work with teachers, lead garden demonstrations, assist in the implementation of curriculum and to plan and oversee garden maintenance throughout the year. She will also periodically work with Skyview's Garden Club!

Below are some photos of Mrs. Zentner volunteering in the garden with students, her daughter and Girl Scout Troop 7775. Today is Ms. Zentner's first day on campus in her new role! So if you see her in the garden or in the halls at school, make sure you give her BIG "thank you" hug!

ABOUT MRS. ZENTNER:  Growing up in a small farming community in Michigan I often found myself assisting my family and neighbors in all sorts of gardening and greenhouse tasks.  From the age of 8 I worked long hours in the local farmers greenhouses perfecting my craft of seeding, transplanting and harvesting a year long crop. Never leaving the work of a full time job in the industry I found myself studying the craft and art of greenhouse sciences and botany at Grand Valley State University and taking numerous extension classes through Michigan State University and graduated college with a Bachelors of Art in early 2007.  From there I began my own floral and produce landscaping free-lance and worked full-time in the thriving industry of greenhouse chemistry through a local grower and Master Gardner.

 For the past 2 years my family and I have made Dallas our new home after a job relocation with my husbands career. From the occasional free-lance yard design to my own thriving patio garden (transforming it into an indoor greenhouse atrium for the winter months) my love for gardening and all things plants is definitely a labor of love and I look forward to sharing my passion for the subject with the students and faculty of Skyview Elementary School.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Welcome Coffee in the Garden on Aug. 22

Hey Skyview Parents! Have you had a chance to visit the Skyview Harmony Garden? No? Well, you're in luck because the Skyview PTA is hosting a Welcome Coffee in the Harmony Garden directly following morning drop-off on August 22nd (the first day of school). The tardy bell rings at 7:50am and Starbucks coffee with all the fixings will be served in the garden. We'll be there until 9:00am, so please stop by. This is a great chance for you to see the garden, reunite with old friends and meet some new ones! Even if you're in a rush, stop and grab a cup of coffee on your way to work. SEE YOU THERE!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Garden Work Party THIS Saturday

Hello Harmony Garden Enthusiasts! Our Back-To-School work party is happening this Saturday, August 20th from 9:00am - 10:30am. Unless there is heavy rain, we'll be there! Skyview PTA will provide cold beverages and snacks to all volunteers. If you're able, we ask that you bring a bag of compost or something to plant in the garden: either Texas natives, herbs or sun loving flowers for the school's front beds. If not, just come as you are! We're so grateful to have your energy and support.

We'll be using this weekend's work party to make headway on the following projects:

- Weed the paths and beds

- rake the gravel paths

- rake leaves up for use in the composter

- plant donated herbs, Texas natives and flowers

- remove any trash and leftover construction debris

- Install drip system

- Paint the lettering for "Skyview Harmony Garden" on the mural followed by the garden rules

As mentioned above the weather station is predicting 80% chance of rain this weekend. If it's light, we'll proceed as planned minus the painted lettering of the mural. If there is a full on thunderstorm, please stay home!

Questions? Feel free to email us at

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summer in the Skyview Harmony Garden

Summer temperatures are rising and North Texas gardens are feeling the heat. Luckily, our school garden is surviving. Thanks to a thick layer of mulch donated by Lindsey's Tree Service and hauled in by our community volunteers, our garden beds are doing well. For those of you who would like to spend some time in the garden, Sarah Greenman is working in the garden every Saturday from 8:30-9:30am. Feel free to show up to work a bit, water the plants or just enjoy a shady bench and go home with some fresh Basil!

And just a reminder that our next community work party will take place on Saturday, August 20th from 9-10:30am. Skyview PTA will provide snacks and cold beverages to all volunteers! Sign up HERE or check out our event page on Facebook.

For our teachers looking to prepare for the 2016-17 school year in the garden, here are some great teacher training opportunities between now and the beginning of the school year:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 
9 am – 12 pm
Learn how to view the life-cycle of lepidoptera in your classroom and 
how to start a school butterfly garden! (Lucky - you already have one!) $15

Saturday, August 20, 2016 
10am - noon 
$50--includes a worm bin, complete with worms (for your classroom and use in the garden)
 Teacher: Heather Rinaldi, Founder of Texas Worm Ranch 
 Where: Texas Worm Ranch, 2636 National Circle, Garland, TX 75401

And teachers - if you'd like to join Sarah Greenman (Harmony Garden Chair & Skyview PTA President) and Samantha Zentner (Skyview Harmony Garden Teaching Assistant) for the August 8th teacher training listed below, please sign up or contact Sarah at skyviewgarden(at)gmail(dot)com.

Here are some photos from the garden this weekend!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July Work Party Success

Thank you to everyone who attended the Harmony Garden work party today! Community partners, Town Creek neighbors, Skyview families and staff - all were present for our down and dirty work party. We so appreciate your time and effort! And a big thank you to Lindsey's Tree Service for the truck load of mulch!

Today, we cleaned out the raised beds, put a light layer of compost over the plants, and then mulched the daylights out of everything. It's so important in this hot and wicked weather to keep the soil safe and moist. We didn't quite finish moving the mulch into the garden, so we're having a follow up work part next Saturday, July 9th from 8:30am - 10:00am. Please join us if you're interested! Here are some photos from this morning.

Monday, June 27, 2016

July 2 Work Party at the Harmony Garden

Hi friends! It's summer time in the garden! What does that mean? We need to help our new garden fight the heat and stay safe and tidy until we're ready to plant again in the late summer. Please join your neighbors for a work party on Saturday, July 2nd from 9-10:30am at Skyview Elementary School.

Saturday, July 2nd
9:00am - 10:30am

Skyview Elementary School
9229 Meadowknoll Drive
Dallas, TX 75243

What will be be doing? We'll be cleaning up the paths, mulching all of the beds (Lindsey's Tree Service just left us a HUGE dump of mulch today), organizing the tool shed, cutting back vegetation and composting the raised beds. Thank you for your support!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tending Soil

If you stopped by the garden last week, you may have noticed that the topsoil in the raised beds was looking a bit dry. After heavy Mid-April rains liquified the top layers of soil, the blazing sun came in and created a crisp white crust.

This weekend, one of our volunteer gardeners remedied the issue by breaking up the crust, turning the soil and folding in a composted mix of mushrooms, food scraps and manure. The beds were then deeply watered and covered with straw mulch. The organic matter and the mulch will assist in retaining moisture as we begin to transition to summer. This is especially important for our raised beds, which rely solely on harvested rainwater for hydration.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Pollinator Houses by Girl Scout Troop 7775

Thank you, once again, to Girl Scout Troop 7775 for building and installing pollinator houses in the Skyview Harmony Garden. Many pollinators, like Orchard Mason Bees, don't make hives and homes and so they need a protected place to seek shelter. They prefer narrow openings, such as the hollows of reeds, for hiding out. So our local troop built these beautiful structures as a way of inviting beneficial pollinators into our school garden! The troop also released a group of ladybugs into the garden to help us fend off aphids. Thanks friends! See you in the garden!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Plant & Flower Sale a Success!

A huge thank you to everyone who purchased flowers and plants from Skyview PTA last week. This Saturday, friends and supporters from all over the neighborhood arrived at the Harmony Garden at 1pm to pick up their orders. Thank you to our Town Creek neighbor, Taffie Lynn Butters (and family) for organizing this fundraiser for us. All told, Skyview PTA made $900 to put towards our new outdoor classroom!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Curtis Scoggins | The Man Behind Skyview Harmony Garden

Skyview Harmony Garden does not exist without Curtis Scoggins. When Skyview's PTA President first brought up the idea of building a school garden, Skyview teacher Karen Scoggins mentioned that her husband, a prominent local landscape architect, might be able to assist in drawing up a plan. That initial phone call, now over a year ago, snowballed into an enormous volunteer collaboration. 

Scoggins not only created the initial layout, which launched fundraising and community buy-in, but he also made material and labor resources available to Skyview. Scoggins worked tirelessly to lay in the garden and act as project manager on site during construction. He organized deliveries, talked with district approved vendors and was religiously on site to oversee the process of installation. 

Skyview Harmony Garden owes an unending debt of gratitude to Curtis Scoggins. He is the man of the hour and a hero to Skyview Students. Curtis, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Your work on the Skyview Harmony Garden will change the lives of thousands and thousands of children in the Lake Highlands community. Your legacy at Skyview resides now in the bones of the school and the life blood of its students. You are forever in our hearts. Thank you. 

Mr. Scoggins and his beautiful family at the ground breaking.

For more information, 
you can read about Scoggins in the Advocate Magazine.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ribbon Cutting & Initial Planting Photo Gallery

On Friday morning, 750 plus Skyview students gathered with staff, principals, RISD admins, council representatives and Skyview PTA board members to officially break ground in the Skyview Harmony Garden! After opening remarks and a ribbon cutting, students spent the morning planting their raised vegetable beds. Skyview students had an opportunity to work with community partners and local gardeners in planting vegetable beds for spring and summer harvest. The kids had conversations about soil content, transplanting starts, organic gardening, compost, worm castings and more. Team work was the order of the day and everyone had a great time!

Thank you to our volunteers: Sharon Braxton, Pam Walsh, Samantha Zentner, Sarah Greenman and Jack Greenman. You made this day possible. Thank you to our Principals: Ms. Dodd, Mr. Bortnem, and Ms. Erickson. Your support has been above-and-beyond! And a BIG thank you to our staff liaison, Skyview music teacher Mr. Aeschbacher. A special thank you to RISD representatives Dr. Christopher Goodson, Jean Bono and Marni Kaner who came out in support of the garden today!

A big thank you, as well, to our community sponsors and supporters: Landscape Architect Curtis Scoggins, Exchange Club of Lake Highlands, Forest Meadows Neighborhood Association, Town Creek Neighborhood Association, Girl Scout Troop 7775, Whole Kids Foundation, Rochester Gauges, Fortress Fencing Company, Texas Metal Tanks, Positively Fit Lake Highlands and Pickaperch Realty. Our outdoor classroom would not be possible without your generous contributions!