August 1, 2007
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The garden reader:|
Growing kids in the garden
By William Scheick
Monika Hannemann, Patricia Hulse, Brian Johnson, Barbara Kurland and Tracey Patterson. Gardening with Children. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2007. $9.95. 120 pp.
Many of us value solitude when gardening. While getting our hands dirty, we are also performing cleansing work within our minds. Gardens are always about more than the sum of their physical features.
But there are also times when sharing certain garden activities with others is just as satisfying. This is especially true with children, who can respond to gardens with a sense of wonder and delight as beautiful as any flower.
I learned this in the late 1970s when my preschool daughter joined me in our vegetable patches. She eagerly learned to carefully collect, wash and prepare cucumbers, peppers, squash and eggplants. Together we produced bottles of sweet pickles, enough to last an entire year.
Jessica was especially enthusiastic about growing green beans. She loved the sight, feel, snap, smell and taste of them. She may have been the only kid to be so crazy about green beans.
But her favorite self-appointed task was berry collecting. Every day during berry season she impatiently checked the blackberry and loganberry vines strung along our creek fence.
As the stains on her shirt always suggested, it was likely that for each berry she harvested another one had disappeared into her mouth. Strawberries were particularly vulnerable.
My only ally was a skittish little green snake, which apparently liked the 12'x12' strawberry patch as much as my daughter did. When the snake was present, my strawberry yield seemed to increase.
Jessica has, she says, fond memories of her forays into those long-ago gardens — though her recollection of the extent of her berry larceny appears to be as skittish now as the green snake was then.
Like my daughter, many gardening bloggers express warm memories stemming from childhood gardening experiences with their parents or grandparents.
Although I read many books to my daughter, I never thought to search for a children's gardening book. I didn't think of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. And I was not going to introduce her to the sinister garden in Lewis Carroll's brilliant classics, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
Had it been available, I would have instantly purchased the newly published Gardening with Children. Its 9"x8" size suitably reproduces the format of books designed for kids. And its large lavish illustrations radiate color from glossy pages.
The book's topics, such as "Looking at Leaves," "Nature's Lunchbox" and "The Knee-High Garden," are ideal for engaging a child's imagination. My daughter would have refused to look at the "decomposers" page, with its drawn images of millipedes, earthworms and slugs. But she would have relished the fun kid-projects, including how to grow a plant in a mere milk carton.
This wonderful book's publisher, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, has a long history of outreach to young people. Its famous Children's Garden is the oldest of its kind in the U.S. For decades BBG has sponsored innovative programs aimed at cultivating children's appreciation of nature.
A natural outgrowth of that mission, Gardening with Children will foster young readers' joy in growing plants, even in the most meager of circumstances. Parents might learn a thing or two, as well.
For other children's literature involving gardens, the National Junior Master Gardener Program has recently provided an annotated list of books at http://www.k2demo.com/jmg/index.k2?did=11777§ionID=10398. Sponsored by the Texas Cooperative Extension and the American Horticultural Society, this program has bestowed Growing Good Kids Book Awards on more than 40 garden-related books written for children between the ages of 4 and 12.
Each year the Junior Master Gardener Program adds award-winning titles to this list. Last year's awards, for example, included Kathi Appelt's Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers, a richly illustrated account of the rooting of Ms. Johnson's environmental vision during her lonely childhood experiences in the Piney Woods of East Texas.
It's a safe bet that BBG's ground-breaking Gardening with Children will receive a Growing Good Kids Book Award for this year. It certainly deserves it.
"When the plants began to grow," writes Jamie Souders, "instead of using the netting from the garden center to protect the plant from birds and other 'critters' I used netting from the fabric store. The netting is very inexpensive. Each different row of veggies got covered with its own color of netting. This made identifying which plants were which very easy."
Have a favorite gardening tip you'd like to share? Texas Gardener's Seeds is seeking brief gardening tips from Texas gardeners to use in future issues. If we publish your tip in Seeds, we will seed you a free Texas Gardener T-shirt. Here's a chance to get published and be a garden stylist as well! Please send your tips of 50 words or less to the editor at: Gardening Tips.
Did you know...
Many common garden pests that cause insect-like damage to our valuable plants are not really insects at all. Garden slugs and snails are classified as mollusks and are related to shellfish while spider mites are arachnids and relatives of spiders and ticks.
Upcoming garden events
Victoria: The Victoria Master Gardener training classes will begin August 2 and continue through November 29. Classes are held every Thursday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. except for Thanksgiving week. The cost is $135.00 plus an optional $30.00 for a bus trip to Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens. Topics are botany, propagation, diagnosing plant diseases, use of pesticides, herbs, vegetables, perennials, roses, working with Victoria soils, turf grasses, landscaping horticulture plus other useful topics. Additional information may be obtained by calling the Victoria County Extension Office, (361) 578-4851.
Rockport: The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener training classes will begin August 7 and continue through December 4. Most classes are held Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. except for the week of Thanksgiving. The cost is $175.00, of which $50 is refunded following completion of 50 volunteer hours for Master Gardener certification. Topics are basic botany, propagation, diagnosing plant problems, entomology, home vegetable gardening, attracting birds and butterflies, plant selection, soils and fertility, turf, trees, palms, landscape design and Xeriscape, Earth Kind gardening, composting, plus other useful topics. More information is available by calling the Aransas County Extension Office, (361) 790-0103.
Seguin: The Guadalupe County Master Gardeners will be sponsoring training classes August 22 through December 5. Classes will meet every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Texas Cooperative Extension Building, 210 East Live Oak, Seguin. Application deadline is July 31. Enrollment is limited to 30 paid students. For more information and application forms, visit www.guadalupecountymastergardeners.org or call the Guadalupe County Extension Office at (830) 379-1972.
Austin: The Fifteenth Annual Texas Bamboo Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26 at Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin. Sponsored by the Texas Bamboo Society, the event will celebrate the wonders of bamboo with presentations, demonstrations and education information, including Bamboo 101, a Bamboo Kite Making Workshop led by Greg Kono, and Bamboos of Southeast Asia presented by Harry Simmons. Bamboo plants and crafts will be for sale. For additional information, call (512) 929-9565 or visit www.bamboocentral.net.
San Antonio: The San Antonio Botanical Garden is sponsoring a trip to Italy September 4 through 15, featuring Italy's villas and gardens. Escorted by Bob Brackman, the Director of the Garden, an exceptional itinerary has been designed for lovers of leisurely travel and beautiful homes and gardens. Famous for their gardens, Italians still build on their ancestors' legacy with the creation of exquisite country villas surrounded by terraced, fountain-filled gardens that have become symbolic of Italian style. Experience the rich cultural heritage of Italy. Visit special gardens, famous museums, the important cities of Florence and Rome, plus the Lake District, and the small villages which make Italy so charming, such as Cinque Terre, Santa Margherita and Tuscan villages. Feast on fabulous Italian cuisine and enjoy la dolce vita. Land cost per person sharing is $3550 plus air, which includes a $100 tax deductible donation, most meals and gratuities. For more information, contact Marianne Martz of Fuller Travel at (210) 828-6311 or email@example.com.
Tyler: The Smith County Master Gardener Association will sponsor its annual Fall Gardening Conference at the Tyler Rose Garden Center, 400 Rose Park Drive, Tyler, on Saturday, September 8, from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. A plant sale and expo will be held at Harvey Hall and Convention Center following the conference, from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Conference speakers are Steven L. Chamblee. chief horticulturalist for Chandler Gardens in Weatherford, and Keith Kridler, cultivator and merchant of daffodil varieties including antique daffodils that are no longer or not commonly produced. Admission to the conference and to the plant sale is free. For additional information, call (903) 590-2980.
Independence: The Herb Association of Texas is hosting its annual conference September 14 and 15 at the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence. "Explore the Senses Through Herbs" is open to the public. Jim Long of Long Creek Herb Farm is the featured speaker. Register via www.texasherbs.org or call (830) 257-6732 for details and to have registration material mailed to you.
Rockport: The Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association “Hidden Gardens Tour & Fall Plant Sale” will be held Saturday, September 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Hidden Gardens Tour and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the Fall Plant Sale at Green Acres, 611 East Mimosa Street at Pearl Street, Rockport. Get your tickets and maps at Green Acres for this one-day event in addition to purchasing those much-wanted plants that you can’t find anywhere. The maps will lead you to wonderful Hidden Gardens in both Aransas County and San Patricio County. Be sure to take the time to wander through the demonstration gardens at Green Acres, which are continuously being updated and maintained by the Aransas/San Patricio Master Gardener Association. Admission is $10.00. For pre-registration tickets and/or questions contact the Aransas County Texas Cooperative Extension, Rockport, at (361) 790-0103.
Fort Worth, Dallas: Visit America's very best, rarely seen, Private Gardens. The Garden Conservancy's Open Days Program has been opening the gates to America's best private gardens since 1995. The 2007 season features more than 350 gardens across 21 states. Learn about gardens participating in your area through the Open Days Directory, an annual publication listing open gardens with garden descriptions, open dates and hours, and directions. To purchase a Directory or for more information, call (888) 842-2442 or visit www.opendaysprogram.org. The $5 admission fee supports the expansion of the Open Days Program around the country and helps build awareness of the Garden Conservancy's work of preserving exceptional American gardens such Peckerwood Garden in Hempstead. 2007 Texas Open Days: Fort Worth: October 14; Dallas: October 20.
Belton, Temple, Killeen: The Bell County Master Gardener Association will host the Fall Glory garden tour Saturday, October 20, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Gardens in Belton, Temple and Killeen will be showcased. Admission is $5 for adults. For additional information, contact Sue Morgan at (254) 698-8668.
St. Francisville, La.: The 2007 Southern Garden Symposium will be held October 26 and 27 in St. Francisville, La. Friday workshops held at Afton Villa Gardens include "Creating Interior Focal Points through Floral Design," led by Dr. James DelPrince; "Pruning for Plant Health," led by Martha Hill; "21st Century Gardening: Plants, Products and Practices," led by Nellie Neal; and "Timeless Tips for Fool Proof Landscapes," led by Mary Palmer and Hugh Dargan. The Friday evening cocktail buffet will be held at Live Oak Plantation. Saturday lectures held at Hemingbough include "Hot New Flowers and Captivating Combinations," led by Norman Winter; "Furnishings for the Garden: 1750-1900," led by H. Parrot Bacot; and "Garden Design Inspirations: Seeing Art Design Elements in Nature and Applying them to Southern Garden Designs," led by Edward C. Martin. $60 per person, per day admission includes lunch. Admission to the Friday evening cocktail buffet is $35 per person. For registration and additional information, contact Lucie Cassity at (225) 635-3738 or write to Southern Garden Symposium, P.O. Box 2075, St. Francisville, LA 70775.
Waco: The Texas Gourd Society presents its 12th annual Lone Star Gourd Festival October 27 and 28, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday, at the Waco Convention Center, 100 Washington Ave., Waco. Featured will be gourd artists and crafters, demonstrations, seminars and much more. Admission is $5 for adults; children under 12 are free. For additional information, visit www.texasgourdsociety.org.
Independence: The Antique Rose Emporium at 10,000 FM 50 in Independence will host their 20th Fall Festival of Roses November 2 through 4. Speakers, who will present a variety of garden related topics, include Dave Wittenger, Dave’s Garden Web; Stephen Scaniello, Heritage Rose Foundation; and Chris Carley, National Arboretum Horticulturist. All seminars are free to the public. Old Garden roses, including Earthkind and Pioneer Roses, herbs, perennials, and Texas natives will be available for sale. For additional information, visit www.weareroses.com or call (979) 836-5548.
New Braunfels: Hill Country Orchid Society's "Wurst Orchid Show & Sale" will take place Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the New Braunfels Elks Lodge, 353 S. Seguin, New Braunfels. Admission is free. For more information, call (830) 629-2083.
Galveston: Festive sights and sounds will fill Moody Gardens at the sixth annual Festival of Lights November 17 through January 5. This whimsical celebration will kick off the holiday season on November 17, with Santa Claus parachuting in to switch on the lights. Festival of Lights is celebrated Thursday through Sunday November 17 through December 16, and daily beginning December 17. Transforming its lush tropical garden setting into a winter wonderland, Moody Gardens will be adorned with more than a million twinkling lights and dozens of light displays. In addition to experiencing the lights, guests can also strap on a pair of skates and glide across the ice at the Outdoor Ice Rink at Moody Gardens. Indoors, visitors can take pictures with Santa or even gaze upon a giant poinsettia tree. Moody Gardens will feature a variety of holiday-themed films during the Festival of Lights. Three films will be playing at the IMAX 3D theater and two films will be playing at the Ridefilm theater. The Garden Restaurant will feature a delectable holiday buffet, offered from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Group rates of $20 per person are also available for groups of 20 or more, and include admission to Festival of Lights and the holiday buffet. Admission into the Festival of Lights is $5.95, and tickets to additional attractions including the Rainforest Pyramid, holiday IMAX 3D film, holiday Ridefilm, Outdoor Ice Rink and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, can be purchased for only $4.00 each. For more information, call Moody Gardens at (800) 582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org.
Garland: The Garland Organic Club meets the first Sunday of each month in the little red school house at 1651 Wall St., Garland. All interested gardeners are invited to attend. For more information, call (972) 864-1934 or (800) 864-4445.
Allen: The Allen Garden Club meets on the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the little blue-gray house located at 102 N. Allen Dr., Allen. For more information, visit www.allengardenclub.org.
Austin: Austin Organic Gardeners meet at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. For more information, visit www.main.org/aog.
Rockport: An herb study group founded in March 2003 meets the second Wednesday of every month at the ACISD Maintenance Department (Formerly Rockport Elementary), 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport at 10 a.m. to discuss all aspects of using and growing herbs, including the historical uses of the herbs and tips for successful propagation and cultivation.
San Antonio: The San Antonio Herb Society meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the San Antonio Garden Center, 3310 N. New Braunfels (corner of Funston & N. New Braunfels). For more information on programs, visit www.sanantonioherbs.org.
Dallas: The Rainbow Garden Club of North Texas meets the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Meetings are held at member's homes and garden centers around the area. For more information, visit www.RainbowGardenClub.com.
Fort Worth: The Organic Garden Club of Forth Worth meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month except July and December at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens main building. Refreshments are served. For more information, call (817) 274-8460.
Dallas: The Dallas Organic Garden Club meets at 6:45 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the Fretz Park Recreation Center, located at the corner of Hillcrest and Beltline Road in Dallas. For more information, call (214) 824-2448 or visit www.dogc.org.
Arlington: The Arlington Organic Garden Club meets from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month (except November and December) at the Bob Duncan Center, 2800 S. Center Street, Arlington. For more information, contact David at (817) 483-7746.
If you would like your organization's events included in "Upcoming Garden Events," please contact us at Garden Events.
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Publisher: Chris S. Corby ● Editor: Michael Bracken
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