children and gardens



 What messages do we give kids about gardens?


Thanks to a successful program getting gardens into schools, many children now know that food doesn't originate in a supermarket. So far The Kitchen Garden Foundation has established gardens in nearly 600 Australian schools.







I know growing food is important, but it's not the only dimension of a garden.  I want my grandchildren and other young visitors to feel the garden as a place for imagination and play, and a space to learn about plants and wildlife.



















Comments

  1. I completely agree. It was playing (not working) in my great uncle's garden that got me hooked.

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    1. It's interesting to think of how we got so passionate about gardens and gardening. I didn't know anyone who was into gardening or had a nice garden. I think it was reading books about fairies and wild creatures that got me hooked. But it never occurred to me to get my hands dirty until I moved into this house and garden.

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  2. I think it's great that they are getting gardens into the schools. What could be more natural? Cute photos of the little garden helpers!

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    1. That garden program is fabulous. The founder, Stephanie Alexander, was is a cook and cookbook writer, who decided to show unknowing kids how they could grow and cook their own fruit and veggies.

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  3. Planting gardens at schools is a fabulous idea. Young children are so open to the natural world if only they are exposed to it. Your photos are precious!

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  4. Absolutely LOVE the photo of the little boy with his lawnmower and ear plugs just like the "big boy." I had no gardening in school but I was attracted to it from a very young age - 5 or so - however, I was freaked out by grub worms. Good thing I got over that.

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    1. Hi Linda, I wasn't interested until after we moved in here. When I was little, I was scared of insects too. But my parents didn't garden, they had a gardener to keep it neat, so I had no model to follow.

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  5. Gardens are for playing in as well as learning about food and where it comes from. Lots of schools here have gardens to grow food, flowers and to learn about the wildlife that live there. When our grandsons were little, many a game of football was played, plants got knocked and broken but did it matter -no, they would always grow again! Hide and seek was played and many an adventure was had up and round the pergola when it was fairly new. Plants are tough, they can take a bit of battering!

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    1. Lovely memories. My grandsons are still very little, so I guess we're creating memories.

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  6. That's right. A garden is more than growing food and the way to get children excited about gardening is through playing. How? Any suggestion?

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  7. Hi Steph, I think they're encouraged to play if it's a welcoming and interesting space. Like Pauline describes her garden above. I put a platform in a tree, with a ladder, so they can play up in the tree, pretend it's a ship or a house.And they love the little statues and unexpected things half hidden by the plantings. You can't afford to be fussy about a bit of trampling or broken foliage. I always think of it as 'unplanned pruning'. We go out often in the dark with torches looking for wildlife. They love that and so do I.

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  8. Oh how very sweet! And I couldn't agree more. Kitchen gardens and school gardens are catching on here, too, and there's more of a push lately to get the kids outside and learning from nature as part of their schooling and their life. This is a positive development. Great post!

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    1. Hi Beth, I've just remembered that 'Nature Study' was a subject in my primary school curriculum. Good thing it's coming back again.

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  9. I love the idea of a school garden but our school doesn't have the budget to maintain the water bill required to keep it up and everything would grow in the summer when there's no one there to appreciate it. so many of my students are disconnected from real nature experiences. But I find that they do crave it and enjoy being outside on something other than manicured turf.

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    1. thanks for the comment, Tammy, it's so interesting sharing similarities and differences across the world.

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  10. Let the children play in the garden is a great idea! But the truth is that I get nervous when little ones get in my garden and break my plants :( but I understand the need to let kids be more aware of nature.

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    1. I know what you mean, I don't encourage the little ones to garden with me , and when they run around I try to think of it as 'accidental pruning' when stuff happens.

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  11. I totally agree...I learned to dig in the dirt and be curious about the bugs when i was quite young...

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    1. I wasn't allowed to dig in the dirt, so you were lucky. I was told dirt is dirty! So I'm a late developer.

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  12. How fantastic that they have so many gardens in the schools, it is definitely the way forward for encouraging the next generation of green fingered people!

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    1. HI Paula, yes it's a great program.

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  13. I think not many children where I live get a chance to climb trees.

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    1. It's sad, I was lucky I spent a fair bit of my childhood up in a plum tree. Maybe that's why I love plums so much.

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