The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

Revisiting the Garden

Posted by Tom Benedict on 10/07/2010

The public middle school here in Waimea has a garden, Mala`ai.  It’s a culinary garden rather than a decorative garden, but the students who maintain it have done a great job of making it a lot more than just a bunch of rectangular plots of plants.  On the ground, it’s a rich and wonderful experience for the senses.  But from the air, you really get a feel for the planning, work, and artistry that goes into Mala`ai.

Mala`ai Overview

I started doing KAP at Mala`ai some years ago.  It all started quite by accident.  My son attends Waimea Elementary School, and I was down at the school on a weekend to photograph some rooflines.  As I walked my kite back toward my car, someone approached me and asked about photographing the garden.  Truth be told, I’d intended to photograph the garden for some time, but didn’t know if it was ok with the people who worked there.  As it turns out, it was more than ok.  They were excited by the idea.

This has since turned into a really good relationship with the folks who take care of the garden.  The students are constantly changing and adding to Mala`ai, so every time I go back it’s different.  No, it’s better.  And each time I go, I try to make at least one large composite that covers the entire place.  They print these as posters, and hang them on the wall in the classroom so they can use them for planning purposes.

My daughter is starting at Waimea Middle School this Fall.  She spent several years working on the garden at her elementary school, and is interested in taking the gardening classes at Waimea Middle School.  So in a way this most recent picture is a gift for her, too.  Here’s hoping she enjoys it.  And here’s looking forward to all the changes she and her classmates will make over the course of the next several years.

– Tom

P.S.  If you’re a KAPer, or even if you’re a kite fanatic who’s never dangled a camera from their kite line, see if there are any community gardens, school gardens, or other non-profit gardening projects in your area.  Aerial views are extremely useful for planning purposes.  KAP is one of the least expensive, most readily available forms of aerial photography around, and is ideally suited for making overviews of gardens.  Consider volunteering your kites, your cameras, and your time.  Seeing a garden change over time, and knowing you had a hand in it, no matter how remote, is incredibly rewarding.

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