Each Spring my children get pretty enthusiastic about planting 'their' own garden plots. Ryan, my soon to be 10year old is always right there ready to get going. Last year he gathered several old bricks he discovered and made small 'raised' beds. He dug around to loosen the dirt and proceeded to plant his tomato plants along side basil, nasturtiums & marigolds. He has learned the art of Companion Planting like a true gardener! Taylor & Kyle are usually in competition as to who's garden shall yield the greatest bounty and there-by collect the most funds from dad 'n' mom! The problem most often is that the thrill doesn't always last through till the harvest~ before the harvest is weeding & tending~ not such glamorous tasks as the planting! But they are learning and I believe will someday have beautiful flower & veggie gardens for me to walk through!
But in the meantime here are a few more Garden Themes to dream about & work toward!
The first is a lovely *Children's Garden~ Sunflower Houses~ A good friend of mine has a really neat book called Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy. It is a book all about different children's garden theme's. One that struck us most was a sunflower house. It is so fun & incredibly simple~ first find the perfect spot, a sunny corner in the far back of your veggie garden works well~ or in a flower bed if you have room~ figure about a 6'x6' area. You will need the Giant Grey Stripe or Mammoth Sunflower's or even better a combo of both. Using a stick for a marker, draw out the area in the dirt, any shape you want will do~ round, diamond, square, whatever~ then plant the seeds according to package directions. Be sure to leave enough of an opening for an entrance. Once the seeds start to sprout reseed where any didn't germinate so you have a complete 'wall'. After your sunflowers are about six inches high plant Morning Glory seeds at the base of some of the sunflowers~ about every six would be good. To make a roof over your hide away, take twine and go around the tops of the sunflowers to make criss~cross sections for the morning glories to climb over. Once your sunflowers and morning glories are full grown it will be the perfect spot for picnics, story time or playing house. Your children will love it!
other stuff for the Children to plant.... Children love to plant and if you give them something fun to grow it can even be more special! Let them plant some decorative gourds. There are more varieties than you can shake a stick at including Swan, Bottle, Snake, Apple and even a Dinosaur Gourd. Let them page the seed catalogs with you and have them pick what interests them. There are books that teach the art of Gourdology which can be found at your local library. The garden project can at harvest time become a craft project!
Are you a crafty type of person? Why not try growing your own Wreath Garden. With the cost of materials these days, a package of seeds will go a long way in the savings department. Try growing these easy plants and who knows you might even be able to start a little business with your craft!
*Flowers that work well for Wreath's include~ boxwood, sweet annie, yarrow, bay, statice, artemisias and gomphrena.
*Ditch Garden~ Do you have a ditch in front or alongside your home that just screams 'do something with me'? It is always an eye soar and you just don't really have the time to tend another garden? You want something but would like a maintainence free space that looks good without a lot of effort? I did, so last year I attacked the ditch that runs along the road in the front of our yard. My ditch is often fairly wet so my choice was a day lily patch. Here are two very quick & simple solutions if you have a similar dilemma. First & foremost determine how often and to what degree the area is wet. This will determine if you do a Wild Flower or Day Lily Garden. Next, if tilling is a possibility rotor~till up the section to be seeded/planted. If the area is not tillable due to moisture you will need to do a Day Lily garden. If this is the solution, dig holes about every two feet and plant a clump of day lilies. They can handle the early spring moisture and tolerate the dry & hot summer days that hit Michigan. If the area is not overly moist and tilling is an option, simply scatter Wild Flower seeds in it. After a couple years you will have a breathtaking, car slowing garden that will never be an eye soar again. Which ever you decide will best fit your space, be sure to check planting directions/requirements before you put all the work into it.
What are Butterfly Kisses you ask? These have been shared in my gardens for many years by me & all my children. They are the sweetest way to give that little person in your life a 'special' kiss & I love you. So here are step by step instructions for those who are interested!
*First, find one or more of your favorite children.
*Next, stand them close to you and get down to their level~ face to face!
*Getting right up close in their face, put your eye up against their eye and blink as quickly as you can! Be sure to tell the child to do the same! The child will of course giggle and ask for tons more and of course you will gladly oblige!
That's a Butterfly Kiss, and of course they are most fun in a garden!
Who says Apple Pie is just for desert? This yummy Apple Pie will surprise the ones you love around the table, give it a try!
Apple 'Breakfast' Pie
1 beaten Egg, from Garden Gate
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup Pancake Mix from Taylor's Bake Shoppe
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Vanilla Sugar
2 Granny Smith apples cored & wedged
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
2 Tbsp. butter
Add about 1/2 cup nuts is you would like!
Top it with some Whipped Cream or Ice Cream~ Yummy!
1. Beat the egg, oil & milk together and then add Pancake mix, 1/2 cup of sugar and nuts if using. Beat until smooth, but don't over beat.
2. Pour into a greased 10" pie plate.
3. Arrange the apples evenly over batter. Combine the 2 Tbsp. of sugar with cinnamon & nutmeg; sprinkle over the apples. Dot with butter.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30- 35 minutes or until apples when poked feel tender. Serve warm with your choice of topping.