By Lisa Boisvert Mackensie
“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”- Elizabeth Lawrence
The young child is still very much in a state of at-one-with-the-world, completely open to receiving sense impressions from the world. A garden provides a lovely and wondrous world of beauty, texture, color and taste for the young child as well as opportunity to experience the production of food from seed to table, to be connected to this rhythm of life.
A few tips for gardening with young children:
· Consider the architecture of the garden, make it accessible and welcoming
· Create spaces for the child within the garden, a sandpit in the center with scarlet runner beans arching overhead to provide shade, tunnels of beans to crawl through, a teepee at the end of the tunnel with straw to sit upon, pathways large enough to accommodate a wagon
· Plant large seeds together: sunflowers, calendula, pumpkin, squash, nasturtium, beans, potatoes
· Plant flowers in the garden: flowers bring beauty and joy to the garden and provide blossoms all summer long for the table
· Plant perennial herbs for tea: Catnip, lemon balm, anise hyssop, pineapple mint and chamomile male delicious tea along with wild clovers and nettles. The leaves can be dried and used through the winter until the new shoots are out again in spring.
· Spread out a blanket and have tea or a picnic lunch beside the garden. Outdoor eating makes for very smooth transitions and is magical for the small child, particularly when surrounded by beauty you have created together.