CO-Horts Blog

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Season for Community Engagement

Posted by: Linda Langelo, CSU Extension, Golden Plains Area

A new season begins after this growing season is complete.  For the holiday festivities our Julesburg Garden Club joins in with the local chamber to utilize our newly-empty planters which once held beautiful petunias and other annuals.  This year we are working with the themes of A Toyland Christmas and Old Fashioned Christmas.    

The Julesburg Garden Club asks businesses to adopt-a-planter during the growing season by watering, fertilizing and weeding annuals.  During the holiday festivities, the club decided to engage the businesses and invite them to compete and decorate a tree in the themes of A Toyland and Old Fashion Christmas.  In addition, the club reached out to the schools to engage students as judges for the competition. 

The art class at the high school will be one set of judges.  The 5th and 6th graders will be another set of judges.  The students will follow a rubric.  A rubric used in education is set-up to demonstrate to the student what is expected of them.  There are definite criteria to judge such as composition, balance and creativity.  This both engages them and is a fun educational project. 

Members of the Julesburg Garden Club created sample trees to begin the competition.  The picture below shows the basic tools that we used to build the trees out of chicken wire.  The containers are cement and have a depth of 18 inches and about 18 inches wide for planting.  The materials we used were mostly recycled with the exception of the ribbon. We used tools such as wire cutters and a hammer (not in the picture) to achieve the results we wanted.  The recycled materials were chicken wire, wire hangers, a sturdy pipe for staking and smaller stakes cut from the wire hangers.  
To make your own chicken-wire holiday tree, use materials you already have around the house!
We formed the chicken wire into a cone shape and reinforced with the wire hangers.
Form your chicken wire into the shape of a tree.
 Then we created lots and lots of bows…………….to get to our final result below:
One can never have too many bows.
We tied the bows on the frame and then created a piece of chicken wire with thin strips of ribbon for the tree to have a base.  We staked the base in the container with smaller pieces of wire hanger and drove a pipe as stake in the center of the frame to secure the tree deeper in the soil.  So far the trees have sustained 25.5 and 32.5 miles per hour winds and counting. 
The final product--a fun and festive "tree" that can sustain pedestrian traffic and wind!

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