Since the girls have gone back to school/preschool it has been a real struggle to find any spare time to dedicate to plan or do any gardening. By the time we get home from school, get a snack and do some homework it is time for dinner. And the last few weekends have either been really wet, really cold or someone in the house has been ill.
I have spent some lovely afternoons inside with my youngest one pretend-play gardening (I have a few fun options in my shop that I wanted to try out personally) but my eldest is far too old to really enjoy it and she only joins in to make her little sister happy.
Finally, yesterday I made some time to continue our planning for my eldest daughter’s flower border (veggie patch still needs addressing). We managed to cover quite a few things over a couple of hours (albeit with a few breaks):
- How to chose the right plants for the area she is going to be growing them in – things like soil type (top level info!), position in terms of sun and wind. Note: this is not the most exciting of topic for a 6 ½ year old but one that is important to have early on to avoid disappointment as there is no point in trying to get her to grow a shade-loving delicate plant in the flower border that is in full sun and at the mercy of strong winds!!!
- Basic garden design principles: I am not a garden designer nor a very artistic person but I wanted her to think about colours and planting structure. I know that this is not essential for a first-time mini gardener but I thought that it would offer a nice opportunity for some drawing/colouring in and even some maths (to make a diagram to scale and with correct spacing between plants!).
- We narrowed down the selection of flowers to three: Ms Mars dwarf sunflower (dark red to purple flowers), Xsenia cosmos (terracotta orange petals with pink edges) and mixed dwarf zinnias (yellow, red and pink, I think!).
She then created a visual of the colours together (or as close as her colouring pens could go! See below.) and a calendar of activities for each of the plants (See below, no filters just a pink paper pad). These are the bits that she seem to really enjoy (memo to myself for when we get to plan for the veggie patch!).
All this preparation seems very distant from the experience of being out in the garden together and I have mixed feelings about it. Under one hand it gives us an opportunity to spend time together and talk about gardening but on the other hand it feels like I am overcomplicating something that should be very simple.
As an adult, am I taking the fun out of gardening or just taking her gardening more seriously than when she was a younger?
Do you do any planning with your mini gardener and how do you make it fun yet also offer an opportunity to learn something new?