Sunflowers at Epuni School

A couple of weeks ago Catherine popped in to see how the sunflowers are growing in The Common Unity Project Aotearoa garden at Epuni School. Leila was working hard in the garden in very blustery weather. Despite all the Wellington wind this summer, the sunflowers still look amazing and there are many more buds to open. We put these photos up on Facebook, but thought we’d also share them here.

Beautiful flowers edging the garden:

Some of the Giant Russians in flower:

This is the centre of the mandala garden, with the bunting flapping in the wind:

Check out the size of this flower head – those are 7-year-old Olly’s hands holding it!

Some beautiful ‘Evening Sun’ flowering on the left. They have many flower heads per stem:

An Evening Sun flower in full bloom:

There are sunflowers dotted throughout the garden:

Can you spot our friend the bumble bee?

Christmas Feast 2013: shiny on the inside!

This week we danced to the sweet tunes of MC Babysteppers, we dipped candles, we ate sweet food cooked by Rachel Priestley, and we face-painted and ate ice cream from CommonSense Organics. We celebrated our Christmas party in style with our hard-working little farmers at Epuni School!

Julia has written a ‘thank you’ list over on our Facebook page here, where you can also see more pictures from the day’s events.

Here are a few other photos from our AWESOME Christmas party:

Rachel Priestley from Prodigal Daughter prepared 25kg of potatoes, 10kg of pork, 16 chickens and fed everyone an incredible meal.

Jacqui and Sue, the green forest angels from CommonSense Organics in Lower Hutt, donated ice cream for each of the children. I’ve never seen ice cream disappear so quickly before!

Sue from SuperVery generously gave us all of these beautiful Winnie-the-Pooh badges that she offered as a koha in return for sunflower seeds. We handed them out to all of the Epuni School children as an early Christmas gift:

Our farmers had sunflowers and other beautiful motifs painted on their faces:

And they dipped candles and made stunning colourful Christmas gifts, which they could take home.

Our feast featured in the DomPost the next day too. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this day super special!

Wishing everyone a very sunshiney Christmas season – we’ll be back in the New Year with more sunflower updates, and hopefully lots more photos that show how everyone’s sunflowers are growing.

Koha in the mail this week

Julia has been saving up the mail, and handed me a beautiful bunch of letters and parcels this week.

Thank you Riccarton Primary School in Christchurch, Kelburn Playcentre in Wellington and Putiki Kindergarten in Whanganui for your lovely letters and seeds:

We received this beautiful letter from the tamariki o Nga Hau e Wha at Merivale School in Tauranga, as well as some kamokamo seeds and information about how to grow them. Kia ora – we can’t wait to plant these seeds!

And finally, thank you Mary Ann in Auckland for this amazing sunflowery apron! We think it’s seriously cool and so perfect for our little farmers. I bet there’ll be a race in the kitchen to see who gets to wear it first 😉

Sunshine Day at the Dowse – Sunday 24 November 2013

Hello lovely sunshiney people!

Come and celebrate sunflowers, our communities and bees with us this Sunday. Our Sunshine Day is at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt from 10.00 – 11.30am.

Our Sunshine Mobile is stacked with sunflower seeds and seedlings, which will be available to take home for a gold coin donation – including our special limited edition ‘mystery seeds‘.

If you bring along an empty milk bottle, we’ll show you how to make it into a handy watering can. You can also make your own beautiful bee sticker, string together an awesome Project Sunshine necklace, colour in a sunflower page, chalk up the pavement and take part in other fun craft activities.

If the weather is lovely we will stay on longer outside under the trees with art activities, picnic blankets and maybe even some cake!

We’d love to see you on Sunday, so please come and say hi 🙂

What’s the buzz

This week we made the ultimate Sunshine Mobile by upcycling an old BBQ table (cheers Andy!) Doesn’t it look cool?! We also posted out more packets of seeds and did some event planning – see below for more info.

………………………………………………………………………

Keep Sunday 24 November, 10.00-11.30am, free for our special Sunshine Day at the Dowse, in Lower Hutt. Check out our world-famous Sunshine Mobile and take home some beautiful sunflower seeds or seedlings for a gold coin donation. Make your own bee sticker, or bring along an empty milk bottle and we’ll help you turn it into a watering can. There will be lots of fun craft activities too – we hope to see you there!

………………………………………………………………………

A special tena koe to Tāne this week for decorating such beautiful sunflower seed packets for us. Love your bees Tāne!

Tane packets

………………………………………………………………………

Here are two letters that we received from Manurewa Central School and Paremata Kindergarten asking for packets of seeds. Thanks for such colourful letters – we’ve posted your seed packets, so hopefully they arrive soon.

………………………………………………………………………

How do your sunflowers grow?

People have been sharing photos of their potted-up sunflower seeds and seedlings with us. Here’s a glimpse of some of the Project Sunshine sunflower plants that are growing around the country.

Students at Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School in Wellington have planted their sunflower seeds – look at the beautiful seed markers they’ve added to their pots:

Denis in Auckland has planted our seeds as a home-school project:

Anna’s seeds in Wellington have just poked through the soil:

Catherine’s little seedlings are bearing up in the Wellington wind and continuing to stand tall. There are 35 seedlings planted out the front of her house in total!

Philip has planted his little bebe fleurs de soleil in his Wellington garden:

If we hop down to the South Island for a moment, we can see that Heather’s plants in Christchurch are growing really well:

Brigitte in Nelson says “… today I prepared some pots for the sunflowers… one lot for Brian, one lot for Eileen, and one lot for this hill… for the start. The bbq table is covered with trays to organise my experiments, only a small area is left for breakfast.” Just look at that amazing view in the background:

Little Earth Montessori preschool in Kapiti sent us these three beautiful photos of their seedlings:

Finally – we’re keeping a close eye on an exciting ‘sunflower growing race’ on Twitter between two Project Sunshine friends. Rob lives in Wellington and his seedlings are just starting off. Meanwhile, Leon is in the South Island’s West Coast and has a flying start with his plants – he credits his home-made “secret recipe liquid seaweed. Looks a bit like really old motor oil…”

Leon’s seeds are actually from Kings Seeds, so we’ve just popped a pack of our special Giant Russian sunflower seeds in the post, so he can grow some of ours as well. 🙂

What’s the buzz

Our little farmers’ seed packets will be available at the Riverbank Market in Lower Hutt tomorrow morning (from very early ’til about lunchtime). We will also have sunflower seedlings for sale, and a limited amount of heritage tomato seedlings. All proceeds received will go towards funding a beehive at Epuni School. We’d love to see you there – come say hi!

…………………………………………………………………………………..

This week has been an awesome arty week for Project Sunshine. It’s been really wet and windy here in Wellington, so instead of spending lots of time in the garden, we’ve snuggled up inside with lovely art supplies and decorated lots of seed packets.

This morning we had visitors from Epuni Kindergarten. The gorgeous little people turned up to the library for a book reading session and saw us painting seed packets. Julia told them all about the magic sunflowers and asked them to choose a packet of seeds. They chose the rainbow packet, which they have taken back to plant at their kindergarten.

Here are some of the beautiful seed packets that the Epuni School children decorated today. Check out the clever collage!

Beautiful bright colours here too!

…………………………………………………………………………………..

This afternoon Project Sunshine was mentioned in the NZ Gardener Magazine‘s email ‘Get Growing’ newsletter. It gets emailed to lots of people around New Zealand and is full of interesting gardening tips and tricks, and advice on how to grow things like fruit and vegetables.

When the newsletter was emailed out, we started receiving lots of emails from people wanting packets of sunflower seeds. We posted out 14 envelopes this afternoon to Carterton, Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Ngaruawahia, Porirua, Blenheim, Northland and Gisborne and we have many, many more to send out over the weekend!