children's garden at berkshire botanical
Gardening is an activity we really love to do as a family. We aren't experts (my mother and her friend Cindy are our green thumb gurus, and we are lucky to have them!), but James and I have learned a lot in the years since we scored our little plot in the community garden, and the kids have never known a summer without seeds and dirt under their fingernails.
Watching my little boy take pride in growing his own food and flowers has deepened my own appreciation. Each year he understands more, and this past summer we decided to set aside one of our beds for him to plant his very own butterfly garden (as he is a lover of butterflies). He worked hard to care for it, watering and weeding, and was so pleased with himself. He also has his own good quality children's tools, it might seem like a silly luxury but he gets that they are important, and they also help him do some legitimate digging. Of course if given the choice, his favorite chore is still picking (aka eating!).
One of the highlights of our visit to the fall festival at the botanical center in my hometown was the children's garden. They have done such a nice job with this magical space; a 'wishing' tree, herbs, flowers, and veggies everywhere, large slate boards with buckets of water and paintbrushes to make 'water drawings', interactive solar fountains, baskets of found treasures hidden in the woods, chickens, and so much more. Everything is at a scale that feels appropriate for little people, but nothing is patronizing or made to feel 'kid only'. It's a place that certainly appeals to adults, but is geared towards touching, climbing, learning, and discovering.
Little Smith was thrilled to investigate (Roo was about thirty seconds from passing out for her afternoon nap, but otherwise would have been psyched too). I'm brainstorming on more ways and spaces to engage them both in the next growing season. A few plans to keep my mind in the light as we head into the darkness of winter.