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A child’s garden

2671640389_7227aee0e9_b
Two weekends ago, I decided to take an overgrown mound of dirt in our side yard and turn it into a small garden for Emma and Mary. I’ve always had it on my mind to find a little green space for the girls to call their own, and this was the first year that it all came together. Gardening seems to come so naturally for children. Getting their hands (and feet, and faces and legs, and…) dirty, digging holes, picking up thick squirming earthworms, watching something grow and change.

Before we started I prepared myself that their garden enthusiasm would wax and wane. Emma was a gung-ho gardener at first–weeding, loading the wheelbarrow, spreading around the compost. While Mary flittered in and out of the scene–pick a weed. whine. pick a weed. swing. pick a weed. nap.

We hauled some rocks from a falling-down stone silo at the back of our property to edge the garden to keep it from getting mowed over. And that was enough for one day.

A few days later, I took the girls to our local feed mill to pick out flowers. First of all, this is a great time of year to get your annuals. Everything was half off and the selection wasn’t overwhelming. So for the procrastinating gardener like myself, it was perfection.

The picking flowers part was definitely a huge highlight. I gave the girls complete control. I simply pointed them in the direction of the full-sun flowers, gave them the number of pots to pick out, a cardboard lid, and sat back to watch. I didn’t care about color combinations, leaf varigations, coordination. It is their garden.

It was quite interesting to watch their decision making. They’d mix and match. Put things together, change their minds, try something new. Eventually they even grew confident enough to start asking the store’s gardener for advice. “Can this be in the sun?” “Is this done blooming?” “How tall will this be?” And finally they  settled on a bundle of flowers to bring home. And it seems they both attended the same landscape design school, for they each came home with something in every color. We’ve got blues, purples, yellows, oranges, reds, whites, pinks. 

Of course their mother tends to gravitate towards a little more simplicity, but it’s their garden. Not mine.

Now that we’ve moved from the planning and planting stage to the maintenance stage, interest is once again waning. I can get Emma to water here and there. Mary has completely moved on. And most of the upkeep is up to me. Which is fine. It was anticipated.

Although yesterday I gave emma a pair of clippers and taught her how to dead-head. She took to that with lots of enthusiasm. And then took all the spent blossoms, and continued to clip them over and over into tiny flakes of petals.

But enthusiasm or not. Interest today, or no more interest at all. There’s something good about little hands in warm soil and a small space of earth to call their own.

==========
Emails were sent out this morning and this afternoon to half of the book swappers who are in charge of first contact. If you don’t hear from me or your partner in the next few days, please be in touch!
==========

2671640389_7227aee0e9_b
Two weekends ago, I decided to take an overgrown mound of dirt in our side yard and turn it into a small garden for Emma and Mary. I’ve always had it on my mind to find a little green space for the girls to call their own, and this was the first year that it all came together. Gardening seems to come so naturally for children. Getting their hands (and feet, and faces and legs, and…) dirty, digging holes, picking up thick squirming earthworms, watching something grow and change.

Before we started I prepared myself that their garden enthusiasm would wax and wane. Emma was a gung-ho gardener at first–weeding, loading the wheelbarrow, spreading around the compost. While Mary flittered in and out of the scene–pick a weed. whine. pick a weed. swing. pick a weed. nap.

We hauled some rocks from a falling-down stone silo at the back of our property to edge the garden to keep it from getting mowed over. And that was enough for one day.

A few days later, I took the girls to our local feed mill to pick out flowers. First of all, this is a great time of year to get your annuals. Everything was half off and the selection wasn’t overwhelming. So for the procrastinating gardener like myself, it was perfection.

The picking flowers part was definitely a huge highlight. I gave the girls complete control. I simply pointed them in the direction of the full-sun flowers, gave them the number of pots to pick out, a cardboard lid, and sat back to watch. I didn’t care about color combinations, leaf varigations, coordination. It is their garden.

It was quite interesting to watch their decision making. They’d mix and match. Put things together, change their minds, try something new. Eventually they even grew confident enough to start asking the store’s gardener for advice. “Can this be in the sun?” “Is this done blooming?” “How tall will this be?” And finally they  settled on a bundle of flowers to bring home. And it seems they both attended the same landscape design school, for they each came home with something in every color. We’ve got blues, purples, yellows, oranges, reds, whites, pinks. 

Of course their mother tends to gravitate towards a little more simplicity, but it’s their garden. Not mine.

Now that we’ve moved from the planning and planting stage to the maintenance stage, interest is once again waning. I can get Emma to water here and there. Mary has completely moved on. And most of the upkeep is up to me. Which is fine. It was anticipated.

Although yesterday I gave emma a pair of clippers and taught her how to dead-head. She took to that with lots of enthusiasm. And then took all the spent blossoms, and continued to clip them over and over into tiny flakes of petals.

But enthusiasm or not. Interest today, or no more interest at all. There’s something good about little hands in warm soil and a small space of earth to call their own.

==========
Emails were sent out this morning and this afternoon to half of the book swappers who are in charge of first contact. If you don’t hear from me or your partner in the next few days, please be in touch!
==========

17 comments on “A child’s garden”

  1. what a great idea! my gals love to water w/ me. of course the majority is spilled out of their containers before they get to the plants from all the arm swinging ! oh well! they love it just the same!

  2. OH! You have a daughter named Mary, how exciting. I haven’t heard that name for years! I rather like it! What a delightful sequence of photos. I hope the children love their garden!

  3. Sweet. I’m anxious to see their garden grow. And how childlike and perfect is it to cut up spent petals into nature’s confetti? So much to learn from little ones. 🙂

  4. Children gardens are so sweet. It seems when I child plants a garden it grows, It must be the love they put into it. I’ve always want to do a sunflower garden for my kids. You take sunflower seeds and plant a few rows in a circle leaving a space for a door. The inside of the circle is left open and unplanted for them to play in and to be keep as a secret little place for them.

  5. My youngest Josie is absolutely loving her little veggie garden.Luckily for her it has rained alot so the plot has been very low maintenance. We can’t wait to make a meal from her produce.Brocolli cheese pasta will be our first I think.Then maybe red onion chutney.I like the idea of the sunflower circle someone mentioned.Maybe next year….

  6. Such a lovely idea!We don’t have a whole garden for the children, but they each chose some seeds. They planted and watered them themselves and now we all enjoy watching them grow, although unfortunately, Simon’s little plants have been eaten by slugs 🙁

  7. Lovely idea, Molly. It’s fantastic how they got brave enough to start asking such good questions. Children are amazing.

    I’m sure they’ll stay interested. In particular when changes are visible. You should help them make a sign for their garden 🙂

  8. This is a great post. I love to read these blogs and find people who are getting kids outside. I work for the National Wildlife Federation on a site called Green Hour — http://www.greenhour.org — and we have all sorts of fun outside activities to share for parents.

    There’s also a community of like-minded parents that talk about they adventures and challenges in giving their kids a green hour (or at least part of any hour) everyday.

    Anne Keisman

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