Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Garden for the Children

I was no taller than my grandmother's orange Cannas growing along the house next to the driveway. 
In fact, some of them towered above my head.
I pretended it was my jungle and as I carefully wandered through the plants watching not to step on any of the plants, I picked off the ugly seed pods that formed when the flowers withered and died because  I wanted my grandmother's flowers to be pretty. 
It was cool in the shade and seemed a perfect place to explore. 
Mama was concerned I would hurt the flowerbed but Grandmama just laughed. 
A few weeks later Grandmama told me that her Cannas had bloomed again and were more beautiful than ever after I had plucked off the seed pods. 
I was so pleased. 
Many of my childhood memories surround the outdoors, my mother or grandmother's gardens or flowerbeds, exploring my grandfather's pastures  or the rocky hillsides at the lake where the family built a cabin, tasting the sweet nectar of honeysuckles and playing under the jasmine bushes.  

It is no wonder that as a grandmother now, I plan my gardens to please the children.  
So Andy and Amy now in your "grand" years here are the things I have found that have enhanced imagination and play in my gardens.  

Pathways: My pathways are not expensive pathways but most of them are simply an area I cleaned off the grass and laid a weed barrier and covered with mulch.  The kids love the pathways. 

I had to laugh one day as Kristen and her mother and I were walking in the grass around the back side of the house and we came upon one of the pathways.  Kristen squealed in delight as she dropped our hands, "A path!" 
And off she ran.
Wagons: The perfect companion for the path is the wagon.  My wagon has three cars and we make chug-a-chug-a- toot-toot
noises as we go.

A Place to Gather:A place to sit or swing or drink iced tea.  If there is no shade you just have to make one.  Maybe a big umbrella but you must have places where you can sit and talk.
Mysterious places: Tall plants or shrubs that leave space to walk behind or under or fun, thornless plants  that soft-slap the kids as you drive by in the wagon.

Color: And if at all possible, color!  Yellow zinnias, purple flocks, red roses, sweet williams, and pink begonias.

Seed Collection Expeditions:
Seed collecting at the end of the growing seasons.  Teach the kids how to pick off the dead seeds and collect them and not only are you teaching them to love plants and grow them themselves, they are deadheading your plants and extending your blooming season. 

Oh, there are so many things to do outdoors if the outdoors are inviting.  

......Sand piles, Blowing Bubbles, and of course, a place to splash! 
My gardens expand every year and it makes it more fun every time they come.

1 comment:

  1. Caleb saw our newest project last night and said it looked "professional" - I'm just learning, but it was fun!!