Friday, February 21, 2014

What Kids Want in a Garden

I have fond memories of the little tire planter garden I had as a kid, and it is very important to me that our kids have their own little patch of dirt.  We'll be building our daughters' gardens this spring here at our new house, once all the snow finally clears. Until then, we are eagerly making plans!

So what do kids want in a garden?  To answer this question, I enlisted two experts on the subject - my 4-year-old and 6-year-old. These are their expert opinions:

1.  Flowers - Lots and lots of flowers were requested, of course.  (Good, they know what a garden is, check!)

kids' garden at the old Red House
2.  Fruits and Vegetables - Surprised, parents?  Picking and eating veggies in the garden apparently has much more appeal than prepared veggies on a plate. This year, the kids are requesting to have two gardens each, one for flowers and one for edibles!


3.  Bugs - My kids requested 'lots and lots' of butterflies and ladybugs!  Children are naturally inclined to be wildlife gardeners, I think!


(Sorry bees, you didn't get quite the same amount of love.  And mosquitos, you were specifically asked to stay away from the party.)

4.  Water - Actually the specific requests from my daughters included the terms 'water fountain' and 'heated pool'.  (Where do they learn these things?)  Thankfully, they also mentioned a 'giant mud puddle.'  I think we can all guess which one has a better chance of being in the kids' garden..


5.  A place to run around - I guess I'm keeping a patch of lawn, after all!  My husband will be happy.  (Seriously, what is it with guys and grass?)


6.  Play structure - Okay, the term my daughters actually used was 'castle'.  Well, I did tell them to imagine their dream garden, after all.  I have a feeling that they are imagining something like this:

Cinderella's castle
source - Wikipedia
Do you think they'll settle for a big rock?

Happy gardening (or at least garden planning), everyone!


And here's to inspiring the next generation of gardeners!
Anyone have anything else to add to the list from their own little 'experts'? 

21 comments:

  1. If it were my son at that age, he would have requested salamanders, toads, frogs, and snakes. My daughter would have been more like yours--she likes veggies and she always wanted plenty of space to run, dance, and play. Good idea to ask your kids--they are sooo cute! I'm picturing a miniature Cinderella castle in your future. ;-)

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    1. Thankfully there has never been any snake requests here! One summer my kids did spend a few days making an elaborate frog habitat, though, complete with little houses. They would enjoy some amphibian visitors! Between Mr. Red House and me, we're decently handy, but I think a miniature castle would stump us!

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  2. Your little ones are very fortunate. They have an exciting spring ahead.

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    1. We are very fortunate to be able to have a house with some land. We lived in an apartment for awhile when the kids were very little. It's definitely not the same!

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  3. How encouraging! With the exception of the castle, it is so achievable and just what their parents might want to hear. Clearly your children are being raised very well and are a credit to you. Such a credit in fact, that it would be very churlish of you not to give them a castle ;-) (if it's any consolation, when I asked my kids to design the garden, two of them turned the whole patch into a boating lake).

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    1. Aw, thank you! Though I think they're going to just have to figure out how to build a castle themselves. Encourage ingenuity, right? ;) Your kids sound like they had quite a lot of fun in what must have been a very wet garden.. :)

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  4. Indie - I don't have little experts but I sure did like the photos of your experts -- the little girl's curls, the garden boots and they way you protected their identities from creeps. For the castle, maybe a fairy garden? I'm not into fairies but a LOT of gardeners have gardens for them. I guess I just don't believe ... :( Guys and grass? They must have something they can conquer! And it gives them an excuse to buy a riding mower. Loved this post!

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    1. Quite funny - Mr. Red House has been hinting for awhile that we should get a riding lawn mower. I'm the one that cuts the grass, and I really don't mind doing it with our regular mower. Mr. Red House has said that if we get a riding lawn mower, he will happily take over grass cutting duties from me (despite the fact that he is allergic to grass). Quite the sacrifice, huh?

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  5. This is so cute, Indie! How nice that you want the kids to appreciate gardens early in life. But it also seems that a trip to Disney World may be in order :)
    I think a flower garden and a veggie garden will keep them plenty busy!

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    1. The kids would be over the moon to go to Disney, that's for sure! For the time being, they'll just have to imagine their own castle :)

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  6. My little expert is a grown man, almost 28 years old – but when he was little he could not care less about what I was growing, edible or not! All he wanted from the garden was somewhere to play with his friends, somewhere to run around and to play football. I really had to make the garden ball proof for a number of years, as football (soccer) was the number one activity. That was long before we moved to London and got a postage stamp size garden though, we had more space and were able to separate areas in the garden for different activities. Good luck with the planning and execution!

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    1. Yeah, we'll see what happens as the kids get older if they take up sports. They would have to be banished to a different part of the yard! :)

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  7. I love the girls' recommendations! My son used to love to grow carrots and potatoes. He was fascinated by digging them up and finding all the bounty. Then he turned to pumpkins, lots and lots of pumpkins. lol

    My youngest son had his own sedum and hosta gardens and was actually very good at tending it. Neither one of the 'boys' garden now, but I think they will eventually, in some form or other.

    The castle would be really, really cool....can you see where my idea for Castle Aaargh came from? I always wanted my very own castle.

    Looking forward to seeing all of your dreams come to fruition.

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    1. Mr. Red House has been sending me plans of easy play castles you can build, but I'm still not sure if we're up to the task. Maybe if my very handy father comes up... That's so cute that your boys were so into their gardens. We'll see if they eventually become gardeners!

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  8. I bet they can make many memories in your garden and the one they create. No need for a castle, their imagination will fill in the gap. I was surprised at eating the carrot. I thought kids now a days shunned veggies. They like to grow them, so it makes sense they would like to taste the reward.

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    1. My kids are decently good with vegetables, one more than the other, but they both love carrots! Especially now that they've had them out of the garden - they don't want those prepackaged baby carrots anymore!

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  9. I loved this post! My kids' favorites are anything they can pick, touch, taste, or smell. So far they have loved mint (in a pot), lamb's ears, peas, beans, and carrots, and flowers to sniff, too. When it comes to stuff to play with--smooth rocks from around our paths has probably been the number one "toy," tall grass to hide in, old yogurt cups to scoop and make into bug houses...
    I really want to give them some space of their own this year, too. Sounds like you and your little ones are having a great time already, just with the planning!

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    1. Rocks are definitely always a hit! Some rocks, mud, and shovels of some sort are so great for kids. I remember when I was putting in a garden bed around our mailbox a couple years ago. All the kids in the neighborhood came out to 'help'!

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  10. I love the photos of your little girls enjoying the garden. Even if the garden doesn't have a Cinderella-like castle in it, I'm sure they're going to enjoy it. What special memories you are making, and a great job of inspiring the next generation of gardeners!

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    1. Thanks! I believe in starting planting the seeds of (hopefully) lifelong gardening early!

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  11. All things I loved as a kid too and why I made my garden the way I did...but I wish we had kids visiting and enjoying the garden...but our nieces live too far away.

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