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!