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A garden of their own

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 28 Sep 2009 at 02:18 PM

Children's garden 

My theory has always been that to really get children hooked on gardening, they need to be given their own patch of earth.

Theories I'm good at.  The practical side is more of a challenge.  Theoretically, it is a good idea to drink eight glasses of water a day, stop your children eating soil and avoid getting so squiffy and argumentative that you're thrown out of the local NCT book group.  Practically, it can be more of a challenge.

But after many months of procrastination, I actually pulled my finger out last week and assigned them their own space. As much as it has pained me to part with any of my precious garden, I'm determined they won't have to put up with random offcuts. Instead they both have around nine square metres of sunny garden with lots of wall space for climbing plants.

And let's not forget soil preparation.  No greater love hath a mother than this, that she will riddle dirt and dig in 20 barrowloads of mushroom compost for her children.

By Sunday we were ready for some serious landscaping.  This basically involved me lugging around old bricks and laying paths as directed by my offspring.  Oscar went 'wiggly' whereas Ava was very much more regimented in her design - aesthetic choices which perfectly reflect their very different personalities.

They then walked around the borders pointing out which of my plants they planned to purloin.  To add insult to injury I had to uproot these myself before carting them over to their new gardens in true forelock-tugging fashion.

As a theory though, it does seem to be holding up.  The children were gardening all afternoon and have never been so excited by any project we've undertaken outdoors.  Having said that, I did appear to be doing most of the hard work whilst they stood around telling me what to do, gesticulating widely, commentating on progress and taking all the glory.  Oh Christ, I've just created a couple of embryonic Diarmuid Gavins.

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