Kalanchoe Gardening Subject of Moorestown FEP Workshop

MOORESTOWN, NJ – On May 1, a small group of children and parents gathered on the grounds of the Moorestown Library for a replay of the Friends Enrichment Program (FEP) Kalanchoe Gardening Project on November 3, 2019, according to FEP .

Just as the participants in the FEP 2019 project had done, the participants in the library project decorated terracotta pots in which they planted kalanchoe seedlings. As they worked, they learned the kalanchoe’s ability to reproduce in multiple ways, including from seedlings growing along the edges of their leaves.

FEP children Casey and Jordan Muindi showed the group a kalanchoe they had planted as part of the FEP project. Once a seedling that had been an inch or two high, their kalanchoe had grown into a tall plant with seedlings attached. The boys noted that the Kalanchoe project was just one of the many EFF activities they enjoyed and benefited from.

With the coronavirus pandemic still posing a threat, the Kalanchoe Project was an opportunity to celebrate life with a plant whose life itself is a celebration of life.

A variety called mother of thousands, Mexican hat plant, alligator plant or crocodile plant, Kalanchoe Daigremontiana is native to a river valley and mountainous region of Madagascar. There it grows on arid and rocky soil. Like cacti, kalanchoes are succulents. They have fleshy, juicy tissues that retain water and nutrients and are therefore specifically suited for life on land.

As houseplants, Kalanchoes Daigremontiana are easy to care for, FEP said. However, they should be kept out of the reach of young children as they contain toxic steroids which could cause serious illness if swallowed. They should not be planted outdoors, where they could quickly become weeds in gardens and threaten native habitats and livelihoods.

The Kalanchoe project was a collaborative effort between the library and the FEP team. Jennifer Dunne, Senior Children’s Librarian, was the facilitator. FEP Co-Chair Monique Begg, the presenter, was assisted by FEP Co-Chair Barbara Kreider, long-time volunteer Vivian Banks and FEP photographer Daniel Begg.

By all accounts, the Kalanchoe Library project was a success.

“Loved it,” said Brandy Ross, who competed with her daughter, Zoe Campbell, and niece, Aveonah Mendez. “It was educational and different.”

And said Amanda Appleton, Dunne’s daughter, “It was a fun program, and I would love to do it again.”

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