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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Secret Garden

The Family Garden
Spring is upon us and many gardeners are harvesting their spring gardens and beginning to prep the soil for summer garden delights. Establishing a family garden is a great way to get your children and even nearby grandparents, or aunts and uncles into the experience of a family garden. If extended family is too far away, consider planting their personal seasonal favorites and have your child keep in touch with family members through updates on their “crops.” At harvest time you can plan a fun dinner by inviting family over for a visit with a special meal that is made with everyone’s garden contributions. Or you can prepare food like salsa, preserves, nuts, baked and seasoned sunflower seeds, or muffins that use your family member’s favorite garden veggie or fruit as the main ingredient that can be sent to them to enjoy!

The Secret Garden
When I was a child I was encouraged to try a few different gardens, from veggies to flowers, all of which failed. It could’ve been that I was not consistent with watering and also that I was quite frequently distracted by other activities such as “planting” other items in my carefully raked garden patches; like Smurfs, cars, stick tepees, tiny plastic animals, and bark houses for my Sunshine family dolls. I also decorated the area with collected rocks and shells. I did this for hours and hours on end. If I would have thought to water my seeds as much as I played, I might have had a flourishing flower or spaghetti squash garden. At least the birds benefitted from the seeds.

The Secret Family Garden
My point to this post is to encourage you to try gardening with your child, possibly making it an extended family garden—if you haven’t already! It’s the perfect activity for even the youngest in your family. I would also encourage you to establish a secret garden for your little ones to "plant" their plastic dinosaurs, favorite rocks, collected shells, or to build fairy houses…anything they wish to carefully place just so, that will inspire them to be outside, in the garden, in the soil and water, and simply in nature to express theirs. This special garden can be in and around the sprouting family garden or in a designated area within or next to the garden. I like the idea of keeping them close or intertwined as cultivating healthy food and healthy imaginations are equally important.

Maybe you had your own secret garden when you were young? If so, please tell us about it! We’d love to hear what made it most special to you. A secret garden never fails to cultivate the seeds of creativity, and always allows imagination to blossom :)

Fairy house photo from www.spokaneoutdoors.com
more fairy houses

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