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Published: Tuesday, 9/8/2009

Bulbs are sought to make floral labyrinth in West Toledo

BLADE STAFF

A Grove Patterson Academy teacher is seeking donations of thousands of flower bulbs with which she and school students plan to create a floral labyrinth next to their building.

Kara Houser, a grade-level teacher in past years who this year is on a special assignment as an intervention assessment teacher, said the idea got started with a $250 grant she obtained to plant flowers on the school grounds for beautification and educational purposes, but "has turned into a huge, major undertaking."

The plan now is for a floral layout large enough for people to walk between rows of tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinths - similar to one planted in gardens at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

The grant will provide for "maybe 500 [bulbs] if we're lucky," while the project is expected to require 13,000 or more, Mrs. Houser said.

She's starting with a general appeal to the community at large, hoping flower enthusiasts across metro Toledo will contribute.

But she has set a Sept. 19 deadline for pledges, thus allowing enough time to solicit donations from local greenhouses with time remaining to get everything into the ground.

Volunteers to help with planting also will be needed, Mrs. Houser said.

Exactly how big the labyrinth, to be planted on a city-owned lot next to the school at 3020 Marvin Drive, will be depends on how many bulbs are obtained and what design is used.

Eighth graders have been enlisted to generate geometric proposals as a mathematics lesson, Mrs. Houser said, broadening the educational element beyond plant life and related biology.

"I had to explain to the eighth-graders that no escape exit was needed" because, unlike corn mazes or hedge labyrinths, visitors walking through the floral pattern will be able to step over the flowers if they can't find a proper way out.

Along with the floral labyrinth, Mrs. Houser hopes to lead the planting of a vegetable garden next to the school in the spring, and possibly a floral "butterfly garden" after that.

Mrs. Houser said she has no specific requests for tulip or daffodil colors, but providing descriptions with donated bulbs will be helpful in planning the display.

Donations may be delivered directly to the school, with donors who know a Grove Patterson student able to donate in that student's name for volunteering credit.



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