Spring is the perfect season to enjoy the garden of childhood. A springtime day is sanguine by nature, cheery and cheerful, yet angry storms can appear from nowhere under late afternoon spring skies. Spring reminds us of the natural state of young children, mostly pleasant but with occasional unexpected temper tantrums! Best of all, a glorious spring garden blooms vividly and with a liveliness that might be described as “zest”. Zest is why they speak their mind regardless of consequence, combine factors to find their own colourful conclusions and make bold statements of undeniable truth. Children are the embodiment of what it means to live in the moment, and to truly blossom where you are planted. A spring garden blooms only for a short time, and like the passage of early childhood, soon fades to a beloved memory so it makes sense to love and hold the season as close to your heart as you can. And we can rejoice in the rhythm of nature that ensures the living qualities of spring will eventually come back to us, through the joys of our grandchildren.
Whilst Mother Earth is perfect in so many ways, she is grateful for our loving service in helping her flowers to grow. Here are eight helpful tips that will encourage your children to grow up with their own special fragrance. Let the bumble bees rejoice!
Plant for Your Climate Zone
On the back of a seed packet, we can often find a compact map of the local landscape. Wavy lines often criss-cross this outline, creating bands of colour across the homeland. Listed somewhere close by, a map key helps sheds light on the significance of each hue. What this code tells us is that a particular plant has a better or worse chance of survival depending on the location it is planted. Used well, the guide informs us of the areas where our seeds will be more likely to thrive.
Wouldn’t it be helpful if newborns came with a similar key? Although each of us has dreams and hopes and goals for our child, we soon come to realise that these individuals have arrived to travel the path to their own destiny. Kahlil Gibran, in his famous masterpiece “The Prophet,” wrote; “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you”. Guidance, in the form of a key, would ensure we did not set roadblocks on their path to becoming who they are supposed to be. We would know to enroll our theatrical children in dance over football; our jumping jacks in sports, science, or horticulture rather than pre-med, and our academic kin with prodigious mentors to lead the way. A key would pre-empt the pain of broken expectations (children not following in the footsteps of their ancestors) and smooth the soil for those children who choose alternative or nontraditional ways of living. And most gloriously of all, those whom we plant in just the right spot will burst forth under the golden sun.
Nourish the Soil
Before planting, it is important to prepare well. A no-dig frame is built, hearty soil is wheelbarrowed into the pit and clods are turned. Outstanding gardeners dig in rich compost, spray the juice of worm pee and sprinkle dolomite to lower acidity before a single seedling is dug in. And this is true to help children flower too! Expectant mothers eat with care and guzzle with gusto during the bloom of bosoms and belly. Parents paint and plaster, and assemble cots and furniture with all-too-familiar allen keys. Clothes are collected, sorted, washed and ironed. Relationships are lovingly tended and plans are made. Bonnets are knitted, coats crocheted and belly-full bodies are rested. A child planted in this kind of bed blooms.
Things that grow need sustenance- a daily drink from the fountain of life. Good music, heart-filled stories, visions of art and science and time with the ocean, forest and mountains. Connections to people and places, deep tap roots finding kin underneath dark soils. A deep soak every once in a while. Rest, and restful activity: books, board games and cards, and time to absorb the aqueous substance deep into their cells. This is a time where nothing much is seen. Perhaps a tiny bud, or the hint of an offshoot, yet in that lull, a powerful force is building up, ready to burst forth in song with the drumming of a spring storm.
Spreading grass clippings, hay and bark for groundcover can feel like all work and no play, yet even the most mundane task in gardening has the potential to inspire greatness. A protective cover can support the plants to retain their moisture so they stay oh, so, juicy inside! Full of joy for life and determination to be the very best they can be. Mulch can suppress weed growth and reduce erosion of the very substance of the earth. We mulch just by being there, being available to our little ones and providing safety, predictability and security. Our words act as a protective layer, as we drop hints and wise quotes and provide comforting ruminations for things that just can’t be explained. We buffer their hurts and anguish in the comforts of a warm, inviting layered home.
Prune Back Old Growth
Brown bug-eaten leaves and bent branches impede the plant’s ability to grow. Trimming off the ‘dead wood’ is an accelerant for new growth and our flower will zoom ahead to dance by the light of the firefly. Ditching unhealthy habits, excess stuff and forgotten fancies are practical acts of kindness that will recharge the most tired of souls.
Beware of Unwanted Bugs
Companion planting is one highly successful way of dealing with pests. Children too, need good role models and happy friendships that act as a buffer between them and the big bad world of bullies. Parents and friends act as nasturtiums, attracting the caterpillars of life away from the harvest. Good sound friendships between seedlings help both buds increase their nutrient uptake from the soil surrounding them. A garden bed of only sunflowers may be beautiful but it lacks originality or creative thinking. In places where two different but mutually admirable young are planted this way, it is the contrasts between the young that make for a more attractive bounty crop at maturity.
Be Organic as Much as Possible
Truly nutritious fruits and vegetables are grown without added chemicals. Whilst not always picture perfect, the taste and health benefits of eating organic outweigh misshapen tomatoes or an apple with a worm friend. Children too, benefit from a mostly healthy upbringing. Time to run about in the sun, unstructured weekends, room to move, creative materials on offer, regular mealtimes, home-cooked food and as little interference as possible in form of medicines and antibiotics all help our little bloomers to be in tip-top shape.
Spend Time with Your Blooms and Enjoy Your Hardy Efforts!
Bench seats are often found hiding among the undergrowth. What a surprise to find such a treasure! Oftentimes, our lives are so busy we forget to ‘stop and smell the roses’ but a bench seat reminds and encourages us to take a little time out from our hard work and enjoy down time with our charming blossoms.
We can drink the nectar from their fruits and make like a friendly bumble bee, sharing their sweet honey with our nearest and dearest.
Writer and Educator Amber Greene (B. Ed, ADCC) is mama to Henrietta (16) and Ned (2). Her work provides a flash of insight and bright ideas for a variety of topics including parenting young children, eco-friendly living and artistry in everyday life. She writes daily on her blog MamaMoontime. You can contact Amber via email firstname.lastname@example.org