For those of who both garden and have young children, we know what a delight it can be to see them exploring in the garden, finding snails or caterpillars or flowers. My son Luke, age 4, loves to touch and feel everything. This is how he learns and copes with the world around him. He loves to pick up a snail and let it trail its slime across his arm or hand. He picks flowers and can never resist picking the dandelion seedheads from the lawn. You and I both know just how tempting that can be–to blow the seeds of a dandelion far and wide, but we don’t, because we don’t want to be weeding all summer in the garden. But for small children…it is going to happen.
One of my jobs is to maintain and plant at various business and residential landscapes across Northeast Kansas. At one of my client’s in Topeka, they have a large weeping baldcypress tree. The soft trailing branches spread themselves like a blanket across the ground. If I were smaller or the tree bigger, I would love to trim out the underneath side and slip in under the tree to hide. Imagine the hide-and-seek games that would be for a child who had such a tree in the yard!
My niece is 4 years old and she loves tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes. When she goes to Granny’s house she helps pick in the garden, and usually more tomatoes end up in her than in her bucket. She especially loves the yellow or gold colored cherry tomatoes. She pops them in and away they go. If only I could get my kids to enjoy tomatoes as she does.
This past winter when I was clearing trees and brush in our backyard, I limbed up a medium sized cedar tree. I did not have the intention of turning it into a climbing tree for the kids, but that is what happened. When my 7 year old daughter came out, she climbed right up like a squirrel and even asked me to prune it higher so she could go up more. I obliged.
Remember, no matter how old or young you are, there are always delights to be found in the garden. Whether it is a snail on your hand, a monarch on the milkweed, or a wren in your coleus, you will be happy.