By: Nanci Wilson
I might be the stereotypical grandmother. I bake for my grandchildren. I spend a lot of time in my garden. And I’ve made it very clear that though the yard is a free zone to run around, the flower beds are not to be trampled on.
Yes, my hobbies are predictably grandmotherly, but I just do things I enjoy- things that make me happy. Flowers probably make me happy because of my memories of my own grandma’s house when I was a little girl. She always had beautiful flower beds, and fresh cut blossoms on the table. I remember when she would take me out into the garden to “help” her. Really, I was probably more of a hindrance than anything, but she seemed to enjoy sharing her hobby with me. So I decided recently to do the same for my grandkids.
I’m proud to say that my children and grandchildren all have a healthy appreciation of nature. Family camping trips occur quite frequently in the summer, we all have some form of garden on our properties, and parks are the location for most of our birthday parties and events. But even though the kids love the outdoors, it’s all too easy for them to get caught up in all their technology and go days without spending more than ten minutes at a time outside.
Since exposure to nature is so important for children’s development (and the health of people in general) I take it upon myself to usher them outside as much as possible when we visit. Now that it’s getting warm again, we eat on the patio. Sitting conversation takes place outside as well. And of course, the grandkids are now helping me prepare my garden.
I have a vegetable garden in addition to my flower beds, so there’s a lot to plan. I decided this year to change the layout a bit, and made it the family project this winter to plan the design. I asked them what they wanted to grow in the vegetable garden, based mostly on what they wanted to eat when they were at my place. Summertime salsa is a tradition not to be messed with, so a lot of the choices revolved around tomatoes, peppers, radishes, etc. My oldest granddaughter, who is 12, even asked if we could grow cilantro. I’ve grown herbs before, but not for a while, so we decided we’d get a window box and plant a few of our favorites there. Together, we put together a list of things we’d need, from seeds, to tomato planters, to fertilizer and a few other garden supplies.
I also made up a map of the flower beds, and had each grandkid (I have 3), claim one as their own. They got to pick the color scheme, and then I gave them some options of plants based on what will grow well in our area. They also got to choose a theme (like gnomes, flamingoes, or as the youngest demanded, wind spinners- and I gave them a certain amount of money to decorate with.
Like I said, most of the planning phase took place indoors, while it was cold. Now, we’re spending our days outside, preparing the ground, finalizing our plans, and setting up bird feeders, gnome hideouts, and wind chime orchestras. My group is an eclectic one, but we have fun together!
Do other parents and grandparents have garden stories with their kids? Share in the comments below!
Author Bio: Nanci Wilson’s passions are her grandkids and her garden. She uses writing as a medium to inform the world about both.