growing green thumbs
We are whirling into summer and just now stopping to take notice of the changing seasons after a lovely weekend spent in the backyard. A trip to Home Depot with the kids brought out the horticulturalists in all of us as we hand picked our flowers, plants and tree! Ava came home with 9 packets of seeds, of which I later had to explain that we simply didn't have the gardening capacity [nor patience] to grow onions or marigolds. So we compromised on the sunflowers and peppers - and she prepared her green thumb as her and Noah filled their watering cans and waited.... playing between the sandbox and pool...
Once Aaron and I got our gloves on, we realized the backyard was in serious need of revitalization. We trimmed, mowed, chopped, dug, raked, nailed, hung, swept, power-washed, and fainted [technically speaking]. And while we still have a ways to go, it was time well spent as a family together in our backyard, cleaning up and beautifying our outdoor spaces.
What's more, it was deeply comforting watching the kids so comfortable with nature... spotting snails on trees or marching behind ants... running, climbing, and exploring with barefeet and doing everything that makes the city girl in me shriek [literally speaking - especially when a garden snake came face to face with my hand shovel] and yet adire their free spirits to explore and learn about all things - crawling or slithering....
The reward for our laborous day was well received - it rained in time to cool us off, and make the children's playtime outdoors even more fun.
After the rain shower, Ava found her seeds and clutched them at her side with her shovel in hand - repeatedly asking if she could plant them "now?" But unfortunately the garden wasn't ready yet. So with my working gloves still on, I reached to grab Ava and give her a big hug for being so thoughtful - and in her most sincere but whiny voice she said, "Mom. You're getting me all glove-ily."
Our Family Gardening Tips
1. Share your list of chores - like raking and picking up large branches - with the kids. It not only gives them something to do, but also makes them feel important and engaged with what you are focused on doing as well. It's not a race to see how fast you can plant an annual - the idea is to share in the joy of doing so.
2. Children's garden tools come in all shapes and sizes. Stock up on a few and create a small area in the backyard just for them. They'll appreciate their own personal area and boost their confidence as a gardener.
3. Plan ahead. Our purchases were spontaneous on this nursery trip, but I would highly recommend having a good template to work with before you leave home. Count your pots [even note their colors] and where they will end up going to ensure you get a good balance of those vibrant summer colors you're looking for.
4. Start a nature collection - allow them to gather their interesting finds in a bowl to talk about later or even use in an art project...
5. Extend your green thumb beyond your backyard and give back by purchasing a tree for our rainforests. Several sites are available: Rainforest Rescue International, World Wildlife Fund, or Rainforest Foundation.