Some of my most wonderful memories are of kids (now grown) who frequented my garden where we use to live. (Only 7 miles away from our current home.)
First brought to visit by his sister when he was only a few months old, Timothy visited on his own just about as soon as he could walk. One of the 3 rules we had for him was that he had to have permission from us to come on our property. The way Timothy handled that rule put many a smile on our faces over the years.
One day I ran outside for a few minutes to look at various things and record a few notes into a tape recorder. My thoughts were interrupted by a little voice calling out to me, “Theresa, can I come over?” Timothy, then about 5, was squatting down by the side of the road right by our driveway. As he waited for my answer he ran his hands up and down the driveway reflector (or marker) that was beside him.
“You can’t come over today, Timothy,” I said — thinking to go immediately back to what I was doing without further conversation.
“What are you doing?” was his reply. And on and on it went. Just because he couldn’t come into the yard —— no one had said anything about not being able to carry on a conversation from the property line.
Finally, when it looked as if he had depleted his supply of questions, he said “I know what this is Theresa,” as he still grasped the reflector by the driveway entrance.
“You do?” I said.
“Yes. It’s to tell you where your drive way is.” After a pause, he continued, “We don’t have one of these.”
“You don’t?” I replied.
Very matter-of-factly he responded, “No. We already know where our driveway is.”
Great story! It’s hard to know what to do with kids in the garden. They need to learn respect for property and plants and how to behave in the garden, but I hate to pass up any opportunity to teach them a love of gardening. Most kids don’t have parents who garden, so they don’t know anything about it or how to act.
I sometimes watch the kids walking past our house on their way home from school. The other day, I had to tell a kid to get out of the garden because he decided to take a detour off the sidewalk right through the middle of the garden. Last year, I planted roses all along the sidewalk to discourage those excursions. The roses are still too small to do the job.
But I also plant wildflowers along the sidewalk, knowing that the little girls won’t be able to resist picking them as they walk by. I don’t mind that, as long as I planned for it (no expensive or rare flowers are planted there).
Diane, I love the idea of planting wildflowers along the sidewalk knowing that some of the kids will pick them! That’s a great idea.
Kids are wonderful in the garden when they know what they can do and what they can’t.
I use to give Timothy a shovel and spot that he could dig and tell him that he could dig to the other side of the earth as long as he filled in the hole when he was finished. 8)
Thanks for the great comment.
Loved this! My grandchildren are always welcome visitors and have pretty much assimilated the rules…but the two little boys my daughter “nannies” have best responded to the “you may dig here as long as you like, but please pour the dirt back in the hole” method. It kept them busy and let my daughter and I harvest, weed or add mulch while the boys played.
Of course, now I will have to offer that choice to the grandchildren (it came to me spontaneously this summer).
Gail, I’m glad you enjoyed this!
It is amazing how simply kids can be entertained and happy in the garden —- “doing nothing” as adults would term it.