Kids love gardening. What's not to love? Digging in the dirt, good stuff to eat. Worms. Rocks. Fun stuff.
But it's not just about vegetables. In fact, vegetables are rather ephemeral. Here this year, gone next. Then you have to start all over again.
This year, Lucia (age 3 ½) and I planted a magic fairytale garden in her play area. Last year for her birthday, we put in a swing set and a fort. There is a small magnolia tree that one day should get nice and shady and climbable right near the fort. At the base of the tree, I decided to plant some special things just for her.
It started with a frog prince garden sculpture I found in the Gump's catalog. That gave me the idea to plant a little magical grotto around it (rather than just have the space filled with mulch that needs to be constantly weeded). So at the nursery last week I bought a few things...some monkey grass (Liriope muscari 'Big Blue'), ostrich fern, hens and chicks, and oh, what the heck, a few hostas (even though the name is boring). She thought all the names were funny, and will definitely remember them. I mean, how can you forget monkey grass? And hens and chicks are always so adorable.
After a few minutes of planting (she spent most of the time collecting the plastic tags) the garden was done, filled with perennials that will come back again and again--even after she is all grown up.
While the plants I planted weren't organic when I bought them, from now on they will be. Most important, Lucia and I shared a small joyful task that will reappear year after year to remind us of these happy days. And one day, hopefully, my little princess will find her prince, and they will have children of their own and share their love of gardening with them, too.
That's my simple Earth Day wish.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.