Children and Gardening

My greatest learning experience with children and gardening came when I began teaching my youngest child about gardening. With my older children I had carefully monitored their work to make sure it was done my way. None of them had developed the intense interest in gardening which I had from childhood. Then I remembered my early experience with gardening where my parents turned over a section of the back yard for me to plant whatever I wanted.

I decided to turn over about 1/3 of the vegetable garden to Jenny thinking she would plant vegetables. She decided to plant flowers. She asked me to go with her to the nursery to pick out plants. She communicated to me clearly that she just wanted to know how tall and wide each plant would grow, but she was going to choose the varieties and colors and design and plant them. Jenny’s flower garden was the prettiest part of our landscape during the 5 or 6 years she was in charge.

This principle of turning over authority and responsibility to children applies to much more than gardening. I have seen my own children use it with success in their own families. Fortunately, they learned to apply it much younger than I did.

Do you have experiences with children and gardening which you would like to share?

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