Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Garden for the Children


Soil. Water. Sand. Rocks.

Creepy crawly wriggly things.

Green growing things.

Chubby hands. Just the right sized tools.

Oh we love to garden together. April 071

I am constantly reminded of Mary Lennoxes words in the classic story A Secret Garden, “Please sir, can I have a bit of earth.” Children have such joy and contentment in the free exploration of their own bit of earth. This year we are working to create a space truly theirs. And in so doing are creating a something that is bringing all of us such joy. Already they know that it is theirs…and there is truly something magical about that for them.

We’re not going for anything fancy. Just a space for free exploration and discovery of the marvelous world around them. April 068

Basically we are aiming to serve each of the five senses. There will be plants and features to hear, touch, smell, see, and of course, eat! Lots of textures, nothing poisonous, lots of colors, mammoth plants, and tiny blooms, nooks and crannies to be still in, things to climb on and slide down…! There really are not set guidelines…which is working well!

We chose our “bit of earth” near the existing slide and seesaw and swingset. The garden will actually incorporate the slide and seesaw. What we didn’t foresee in our plan was what awaited us under the grass. The land we live on used to be farm…and in our area the original farmers had to clear much of the land of trees and rocks to be able to farm. Did you catch that key word? Rocks. Well…we found exactly where the farmers piled there rocks to clear land for the orchard! So many rocks! Some days we pretended we were pirates digging for treasure and the rocks were the treasure…that was fun…but most days it was just plain rock digging! Truthfully all we did was remove the top layers of rocks and add soil and leaves and manure to enrich the soil. The rest of the rocks are still there…just buried 10” down…which is good enough for me! Now we have a nice rock wall around the garden….which I will have to admit is a nice addition. But boy oh boy what a lot of rocks!April 018

When I was growing up we built a lot of rock walls and patios as a family. Not the pile it up kind that I made around this garden. My dad made beautiful rock walls and patios and it seems that in each of the homes we have lived in we had a rock project. I remember working together as a family when I was about 4 or 5 years old choosing rocks from the pile for a wall “we” were building and my Dad patiently teaching me “Flat ones Hannah, only choose the flat ones”. My earliest memories are from that home and among them is the counsel on choosing rocks. There’s just something about rocks! No such instruction was given when building this wall! If it came out of the ground it went onto the wall! In fact…the few flat ones we found became stepping stones within the garden! April 072April 083April 084

I’m excited to share this garden space with you…and truly wish that I could invite you all for a pink lemonade tea party within it this summer…! We have a long way to go! But can you catch the potential…? (And miss all that grass that still needs to be done away with…and plants brought in…and and and!!!)