Of Children, curiosity and creating a new generation of earth stewards


There are two kinds of kids (well ok there are all sorts ofin-betweeners) that I see in the nursery/garden center, the one who is fearfulof the great outdoors and the one who isn't. Both types greatly benefit fromthe most wonderful parents who give them a safe outdoor environment chock fullof surprises and delights.
Here are a few pointers in creating just such a place togive your children a place to explore, grow and take delight from our awesomeworld around them.
Make your children's garden size appropriate. Give the youngchild a small space with boundaries of a small fence. Create a place with somesoft grass, maybe a fine zoysia to take his or her favorite doll or actionfigure for a picnic. Put a sizeappropriate garden bench in their very own special garden. Give them a few pots to grow their own seedsin the garden. Carrots and strawberries are great starter plants for kids togrow. Lettuce works well to in the early spring for a quick and easygermination. Add a few flowers, but keep it simple, and don't worry about HOWit looks to you. Maybe a money plant andsome snap dragons.( Show them how to pinch the bloom to create a mouth openingand closing. )
Grow the space with the child, expanding thecomplexity. Add color and texture to thegarden, and things that make noise when the wind blows like a money plant and even some corn (There are some reallygreat variegated leaf ornamental color corns you can grow in small space thatare even popcornable.
Much as I love them, there are some plants that just don'tbelong in a children's garden. The Yuccaplant can be down right deadly to theunsuspecting eyeball bent over with rapt attention. Another dangerous plant waiting to turn yourperfectly sweet little pumpkin into screaming in pain urchin is the Pampassgrass if they run their hands up and down the serrated bladed leaf. Even with choosing your plants carefully thereare LOTS of awesome plants you can use to give your kids the gift ofgarden-love.
Add some butterfly attractors such as Butterfly bush andButterfly weed (and some parsley & copper fennel for the caterpillars toeat). Make an area for them to 'feed'the soil with egg shells and tea bags . A frog hut made from an upsidedown pot with a small 'door' is another great addition. Pet rocks are an awesome and fun adventure too. You might even add a small water elementfor the sound and texture, maybe a fountain that pumps water. I love it whenkids want to know HOW the water flows in a fountain. They are fascinated when I show them the pumpthat pulls the water back up the to go down again.
We can share and teach our kids to either fear the great outdoor environment or to embrace and become stewards of theearth, to respect and enjoy nature forthe shear wonder of it all. Come to think of it, gardening reminds and keeps usclose to the wonder of the child curiosity.
Purple! and fun to touch annual gomphrena
A garden bench for a princess, 4-legged or 2
Bright colors should always be welcome in a children's garden
Yikes, I love this plant but not so much for a children's garden with it's pokey leaf blades
Soft and furry Lamb's Ear (even a great name for kids to absorb)
Weeping Serpentine Pussey Willow, curvy trunk and soft little bunny feet early spring make this a big hit for children's gardens
My pet rock
Butterfly bush comes in a gazillion colors now, sure to please any palette
water and kids always go together!
tree frog feels so funny with their sucker puckery feetsies
mouse ear hosta, aren't they fun?!
if you lucky you will get to watch with your child, a baby bird family grow up and fly away
butterflies butterflies and more butterflies
frogs are a welcome guest in my children's garden
Red hot poker plant is a great shape and bright color for the summer children's garden
looks like a piece of candy!
fruits are a great addition to the children's garden.
looks like a piece of candy!
fruits are a great addition to the children's garden.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Miriam I
    on Mar 5, 2013

    Awesome post, Donna! It was such an enjoyable read!

  • Lorna Schripsema
    on Mar 5, 2013

    Wonderful post, thank you. Don't worry about posting with run together words. I have often posted to FB page and in the morning read my mistake-filled post. It happens to the best of us.

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