Relationships grow in gardens. Gardens and green spaces are great places to spend time with family and especially grandchildren. Going on bug hunts for mini beasts like beetles and spiders, watering flowers, and exploring nature is always a great setting for conversation and passing on the passion of gardening.
As always with children, make sure your activity is appropriate for age & stage of development. Be flexible and ready for hunger or boredom to set in if you have a wee grandchild, so packing a snack always makes improves any gardening activity. Better yet, go on an adventure that is child lead and be amazed at what they see and the discoveries you will make together while out on a walk to the park.
Closer to home in your own garden, check the garden regularly together. And by ‘garden’ we mean any space that you have plants growing, which could range from potted plants on a balcony to in ground plantings. Take your time, have fun, and see where the adventure leads.
Here are some ideas for things to do in the garden:
- Do a project together, like building a raised bed or potting some plants.
- Every time you visit together, check on the garden, have a little adventure, do some watering and talk.
- Have your grandchild pot their favorite flower and leave it at your house so you can care for it together.
- Grow some edibles together – this is good for a number of reasons. First, it connects children with food sources and teaches them food doesn’t just magically show up at a grocery store. And second, it provides another sensory experience. Try strawberries, they are always a favorite. Find out what their favorite vegetable is and grow some. Carrots, cherry tomatoes, beans, and peas are easy to grow, can be grown in pots and produce quickly.
- Take time to smell the roses. Appreciate and explore the intricacies of a flower from their delicate petals to the pollen on a stamen. Get your nose yellow with pollen & have a great talk about pollen, or about pollen & bees.
- Share fun, odd facts about flowers, bugs, and the green spaces around you. Pick one or two for each visit like:
- Delphiniums come from the word dolphin because the buds look like dolphins
- Rose hips were used to make jam once upon a time
- Broccoli is a flower
- Roses are related to apples & raspberries
- Sunflowers follow the movement of the sun
- Begonia and Pansy petals are edible
- Butterflies taste food with their feet
- Moths pollinate flowers that bloom at night
Generational gardening is something that has happened in the Wallish family for 100 years. We hope that your relationships will continue to grow and blossom with your family in your gardens!
– by Sharon Wallish Murphy