Teach a kid a little bit, and they run with it. I was working in the Motivate Our Minds garden with my friend, Marilyn, this morning. The purpose of the garden is to show children gardening by example and allow them to tend parts of the garden, teaching them along the way.
Two little boys, ages 6 and 7 were watching us work.
"Please, we want to help." they begged.
We gave them things to do, explaining weeds and roots and how the plants drink and receive sun. We showed them two different kinds of lilies and showed them the bulbs that were in the ground, explaining to them how they don't have to be replanted every year. They were all ears and questions. They didn't want to work very long.
"Laurie, come and see our garden. We have lilies too, but you have to go along the side and to the back."
We walked to to their house, as they chattered nonstop. I didn't see much from the front, but there was a lot of uncut grass and some very healthy weeds.
As I walked around the side of their house, they pointed passionately to each bloom, calling them all lilies. I taught them more about different kinds of flowers and how their structure gives them different designs. As we rounded the back, I got a breath of joy, as I saw a wilderness of what many people call weeds. It was like a mini preserve. There were beautiful insects and I would say there were probably toads and other cute critters. They showed me a cove inside some trees where they spend time. There were many rooms, even a "climbing room". This yard was a yard you could dig in and discover life. All nature was up close and personal.
They took me around their cove of trees and there was an abandoned lot. It had many textures and colors. Tall plants were sticking up above wild rampant ground cover. It was totally natural and I saw nothing wilted or dead.
"This is our garden!" they announced. They smiled real big as they told me about how they had made it grow. They had watered it and taken care of it. They had loved on it. If I had not known the story of their efforts to preserve the natural ecosystem on the lot, I surely would not have appreciated it.
What does it take to tend a garden? It depends on what you want to grow there. If you think weeds are pretty, do nothing and let them thrive. If you want cultured annuals, you gotta pull the weeds. In my mind, it is all beautiful. It all depends on where it is. You definitely wouldn't want weeds in a vegetable garden.
This tour made me remember my simple childhood, with a similar yard that my siblings and I could romp around in...the kind that didn't have lawn care and flowers and bushes perfectly planted. It made me think, once again, about being a kid and new discoveries.