Garden Education Center sets fall events for October

The Garden Education Center in Cos Cob is hosting a variety of programs and events throughout the fall season.

The Mushroom play group offers nature play for caregivers and children up to 3 years old on Wednesdays, 9 to 10, on Oct. 29 and Nov. 12. The education center encourages this early time of discovery, participation and sensory growth. The group will practice equipping for active outdoor activities, rain or shine. In case of extreme weather, nature stations will be brought into the bright, ecofriendly classroom. The group will share favorite songs, stories, and tips, tales, and healthy recipes from the garden. Attendance costs $20 for an individual session or $90 for six weeks.

The Pollinators group is for 12- to 17-year-olds. The group will meet on second Sundays between Oct. 12 and Nov. 9 from 2 to 4. Members will practice with aquaponics, hydroponics, plant grafting, composting, and more. Experiments in the learning garden and classroom will improve the yield for the center’s Neighbor to Neighbor garden donations. Work is showcased during field trips for younger students. The group will explore the Pinetum as creative and active stewards of green spaces. Attendance costs $15 per session.

You can get a tour of the Stone Barns produce center today, Oct. 2, at 11. The group will meet at Stone Barns, 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, N.Y. The visit will feature an intimate, behind-the-scenes view of the farm with a one-hour in-depth tour. Learn about the center’s methods of raising livestock and growing vegetables sustainably. Walk through the greenhouse and growing fields and meet the animals raised on the farm. Enjoy a buffet lunch provided by Blue Hill Café. Each guest will take home a gift of Stone Barns farm-fresh produce.

On Monday, Oct. 6, from 10 to 11:30, GEC will host Digging and Dividing Your Peonies. Peonies in your garden can become overcrowded with roots as they age, causing them to bloom poorly or even fail to bloom. Dividing your peonies occasionally helps keep them healthy and provides you with additional peony plants for the garden. Fall is the time for digging and dividing and dividing herbaceous peonies. Join in at the peony border at the GEC and get some hands-on experience. Each participant will go home with one of these historic peonies for his or her own garden.

Sandra Nunnerley will visit the GEC for Vision and Inspiration Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 10. Ms. Nunnerley is the founder of the internationally recognized design firm Sandra Nunnerley Inc. W Magazine has called Ms. Nunnerley one of the most fashionable designers in New York. She has been featured on Architectural Digest’s AD 100 list, and her work has been published widely. Her lecture will inspire as she shares those exquisite projects and beautiful interiors arising from her design vision and a wide variety of inspirations described in her new book, Sandra Nunnerley, Vision and Inspiration. Her book will be available for purchase and inscription.

On Thursday, Oct. 16, at 10, GEC will hold Fall Fungal Foray. Join the Greenwich Land Trust’s Steve Conaway for a hands-on introduction to the wonderful diversity of mushrooms and molds found in southern Connecticut. A short lesson on fungal identification and ecology in the Garden Education Center will be followed by a walking tour investigating the mushrooms of the Montgomery Pinetum. Participants will see the diversity of habitats that fungi occupy and learn where to look for these often overlooked and always fascinating organisms. All ages welcome.

A new program for GEC families, Nature Brain, will be held on Oct. 19, Nov. 16 and Dec. 14 from 2 to 4.The GEC and the grounds of the Montgomery Pinetum serve as a safe venue for parents to allow their children to explore nature, rain or shine. Each third Sunday the center will offer a themed afternoon of different family activities in nature for all ages, including an art table area, a construction and engineering area, observation blankets with book baskets, and a themed science search or challenge. It’s a fun and easy way to spend some time outdoors with family and enjoy the center’s green spaces. The cost is $10 per family, and pre-registration is appreciated.

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 10, Nick Mancini will host Growing Garlic. Mr. Mancini will discuss different ways of growing disease-free plants that produce large and tasty bulbs, starting with soil preparation, mixing and using the correct macro and micronutrients and other necessary elements to sustain maximum growth, and using the right organic fungicides to keep plants healthy.

There will be a visit to Rodale Research Farm and Farmers’ Market Thursday, Oct. 30. The trip will depart GEC at 7 a.m. and return at 6 p.m. Rodale Institute was founded in 1947 by organic pioneer J. I. Rodale to study the link between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people. Visitors will receive a behind-the-scenes tour with former Greenwich resident and current Executive Director of Rodale Institute Mark “Coach” Smallwood. The trip will explore the most recent gardening system trails and learn about GMOs and organic gardening practices. The group will stop for lunch at a local restaurant. The final stop will be Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market.

The Sprouts and Seedlings programs also offers imaginative outdoor exploration time at the GEC for 3- to 6-year-olds. These children’s activities, including the peony workshop, Sandra Nunnerly, the Fall Fungal Foray and Growing Garlic, cost $20 per drop-in or $90 for six weeks of activity. Pre-registration is appreciated.

The Garden Education Center of Greenwich is located at 130 Bible Street, Cos Cob. To register for any of these programs, visit Gecgreenwich.org or call 203-869-9242.

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