Rooty Rascals root, plant at arboretum


The fifth graders of Wrightsville Beach School did not mind dirty hands and arms as they weeded, planted and potted at the New Hanover County Arboretum on Tuesday, April 22.

The trip was the monthly excursion for the Rooty Rascals junior gardener club, which is organized and sponsored by the Harbor Island Garden Club.

Three groups rotated through different activities in the arboretum, which included planting seedlings the arboretum will sell, touring the arboretum grounds, weeding plant beds and planting Mexican hat plants to take home.

Knee deep in a plant bed, Niccolo Caliea said he preferred weeding to an afternoon spent in the classroom.

“Yeah, because we get to demolish stuff,” Caliea said.

Just inside the Ability Garden workstation, Elle Newkirk and Sophie Mitchell were enjoying the challenge of planting their own Mexican hat plant, a colorful and hardy succulent.

“It was really hard because the plant was tough to take out of the container it was in,” Newkirk said.

On the other side of the arboretum, another group of Rooty Rascals were busy at work on replanting white datura, Japanese maple and echinacea seedlings. Some of the male students took the opportunity to dive down elbows deep into the prepared soil.

Ella Deschamps and Luca Basilio are the Rooty Rascals reporters assigned to write about each field trip. Deschamps said planting the seedlings gave them plenty to write about.

“I liked getting my hands dirty the most,” Deschamps said. “We also have planted lettuce and sunflowers at school.”

Garden club member Eva Elmore said bringing the students to the arboretum was another way to introduce them to surrounding amenities.

“Having all of these places like the arboretum and Airlie Gardens so close to the school, they need to experience them,” Elmore said. “How lucky are they to live so close to these places.”

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