As a proud father of 3 young children and a Landscape Designer, it has been amazing to share my passion for gardening and to watch that seed of interest grow in them. Not sure where to start? Here are some of our favourite Ardron traditions:
Plant a Tree in their Honour
We have done this for two of our three kids and it is interesting to let them see their own growth overtime mirrored in a tree outside. This is doubly true if you get them involved in picking the tree species (just make sure it is hardy and not subject to disease). I am looking forward to the third one being old enough to choose.
Grow a Veggie Garden.
It does not matter if it is a simple cherry tomato plant in a pot at the back door or elaborate as an acre of organic vegetables. Our kids really enjoy going through the seed catalogues in the winter, planting seeds and seeing them produce food. This year we will be setting aside a section of the garden for each of them to grow what they want and care for on their own. As Jamie Oliver has long been proclaiming: if you want kids to eat vegetables – get them to grow them. Side note: I have noticed that our kids’ perseverance for weeding has increased over the years.
Find Interesting Perennials
How can you not get excited about ‘Pig Squeak’ or ‘Lambs Ears’. While talking about what makes each plant funny or unique helps to get them to engage more in tending to the perennial gardens. If you have a story about a plant it will at least get a few more weeds pulled before they inevitably get distracted and wander off! I once had a doctor friend who had an entire medically themed garden. It was full of ‘Lungwort’ (pulmonaria), ‘Bleeding Heart’ (dicentra), ‘Fox Glove’ (digitalis) (used in heart medication), ‘Spirea’ (used in pain medication). The list could go on for ever, but the key is make it fun and interesting.
This took some getting used to. I had to bite my tongue while my 3 and 4-year old cut off some of my favourite flowers everyday until none were left, in order to make a bouquet for Mommy. It was worth it! Now, as 6 and 7-year olds, they have developed a really good eye for flower arrangement and know exactly which plants make Mommy sneeze. I will note that not all of the favourite flowers need to found in the garden. Look in ditches and fields for Daisies and Lilac bushes among many others.
Name That Plant
On our nature walks, we make a point of naming trees and plants of interest. It is amazing to see how many names stick in their heads (again stories help). Nature walks put on by parks and nature centres include information that can help open everyone’s eyes to the natural wonders they can discover while walking in the woods.
We only did this once, but it was a hit. We sent the kids in the backyard with an old digital camera and had them take pictures. They came back with some interesting pictures that again let us talk about the wonders of nature found all around them.
There are surely many other ingenious ways to get children to have fun in the garden. I look forward to any suggestions in the comments below of activities that have worked with your children. We can also work with you to create a child friendly design. This can help make your landscape more interesting to your kids whether they are 3 or 23 years old. Contact Us today to set up a consultation.