April snow showers here in Ohio have me dreaming of warm spring days again. At least I did get some gardening done before the winter-like weather. My lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots and peas are in!
I grew up in Michigan with a large garden in the back yard. As I child I did not like gardening, it seemed like so much work. My poor mother was always trying to get the six of us (yes, six children) to help plant and weed. Oh, how we hated to weed! My two kiddies love to help garden. Most times their "help" makes more work for me, but I don't want to discourage them. In fact, to encourage them, my dear friend, Christine, and I decided we should build a"secret" garden for our children. Well, it's not really a secret, and we didn't build it, Christine's husband did.
But, it was our idea. Oh wait, technically we got the idea from a book, but I know we should get credit for something along the way! Basically, the secret garden is a teepee made of branches with peas planted at the base to grow up . After the peas are done growing, we can plant pole beans in their place. We got the idea from a wonderful book called, The Kids Can Press Jumbo Book of Gardening. The book is a practical guide on gardening that offers easy projects that kids will love, like how to design a fairy garden, creating a wildflower meadow, and planting a rhubarb patch (rhubarb pie, yummy). One of my favorite projects is how to make a Victory Garden- it makes for a gardening and history lesson in one! For a more whimsical approach to gardening with your children, check out Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots. (I have to thank Christine for finding this treasure of a book.) While its project content is similar to the Kids Can book, Sharon Lovejoy has populated the book with the sweetest water color illustrations, and dotted throughout the book are poems, recipes, and historical tidbits that add to the overall magical quality of this book. Ms. Lovejoy took the teepee idea one step further by making it a "Moon Garden," which calls for planting night blooming and heavily scented flowers. Imagine sitting in your back yard with your kids, star gazing and inhaling the sweet smell of jasmine tobacco from the door of your garden teepee. (Please come soon summer!)
Speaking of magical books, I would be remiss if I didn't encourage you to read or re-read The Secret Garden. What can I say that hasn't already been said about this beautiful classic? Nothing. Go read it, and be inspired to create a secret garden of your own!