Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Kids in the Garden

– Posted in: Garden Design


Here’s one way to get kids having fun in the garden: find a slope, set up a water slide, and let them wear themselves out on a hot summer afternoon. (This setup sure was a hit at a party held at Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, PA, this past July.) Mostly, though, when we think about children and gardening, we’re looking for ways to get youngsters interacting with plants, insects, and other aspects of the great outdoors – to engage their brains as well as exercise their bodies.

This isn’t a subject I have much experience with, but I know that many of you delight in sharing your gardens with your childen. Heirloom Gardener’s contribution for last month’s Design Workshop, for instance – Five Tips for Growing Edibles with Children – works just as well for this month, and I know she has many other posts that show and tell how she’s incorporated a number of kid-friendly spaces into her garden. And Frances, your stories of daughter Semi’s evolution as a gardener would work here too!  Fun plants, project ideas, play spaces – all of these and more are fair game for topics.

If you’re new to the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, here’s how it works: Write a post on anything related to gardening with kids on your own blog and leave a link here, or jot down your thoughts in a comment below. If you’ve written about the topic in the past, those links are equally welcome; it’s not necessary to create a new post to participate.

At the end of the month, I’ll gather all of the links into one summary post for easy reference. If you’re interested in checking out previous GBD Workshops, you can find them here:

Paths and Walkways
Fences and Walls
Arbors and Pergolas
Color in the Garden
Container Plantings
Front-Yard Gardens
Stone in the Garden
Decks, Porches, and Patios
Garden Whimsy
Trellises and Screens
Water in the Garden
Sheds and Outbuildings
Incorporating Edibles

By the way, I hope none of you who visit regularly feel obliged to take part each month, or to apologize when you don’t have the time or inclination. If you find a topic of special interest and want to share your enthusiasm and experience through new or archived posts, that’s fantastic. But if you just want to read and learn and get inspired, that’s great too!

Nancy J. Ondra
Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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14 comments… add one

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Frances December 1, 2008, 8:02 am

Hi Nan, thanks for this one, perfect for the holiday season. Here is my favorite post about kids in the garden: Azalea Earth Day.
If I write a new one, I will leave a link here too.

That was quick, Frances. Many thanks!

Gail December 1, 2008, 10:08 am

This ought to be a delightful workshop! gail

Having seen some of the ideas other bloggers have already posted about, I agree with you, Gail!

Colleen Vanderlinden December 1, 2008, 10:47 am

What a great idea! Here’s my post for the project: Apprentice Gardeners.

Looking forward to the rest of the posts!

Super, Colleen. How great that you could join us this month. Thanks!

Benjamin December 1, 2008, 5:01 pm

Just for argument’s sake, let’s say one doesn’t much like kids, and the first they did when they moved into a new house in suburbia was put up a nice strong, 6′ wood fence? Robert Frost like fences, why shouldn’t the rest of us?

I’d say you’re my kind of guy, Benjamin. But, there seems to be a number of folks who do like kids (and really, some kids I’ve met are pretty cool), so this month is for them. Give me a topic you want to see covered, and we’ll see what we can do for next month.

Shady Gardener December 1, 2008, 11:18 pm

Nan, I’m not going to be able to post this yet… maybe I can be a real Late-Poster on this one? I want to devise an Alphabet Garden for my grandchildren (ages 1 1/2 – 5 years) for next Summer!! I’m very excited about this, and I look forward to Winter to be able to think it through and have it ready by Spring!!! 🙂

PS Do you have MORE subjects coming up?

You’re welcome to post at any time, Shady. Past workshops still get a whole lot of visitors (the Paths and Walkways one from last year is one of our all-time top posts), so even “late” contributions still get seen. But if the mood stikes you, maybe you’d want to give us a sneak-preview post on your Alphabet Garden concept?

And yes, we’ll keep the Design Workshop going as long is there is interest!

Eleanor at OutOfDoors December 2, 2008, 5:09 pm

while I sympathize with those who feel that children’s principal gardening activities are stomp and pick, I find it is most often a seed planted in childhood that grows into the gardener you are today. That’s why it’s important to make room for kids in the garden.

Welcome to GGW, Eleanor, and thanks ever so much for sharing this link. Many of my earliest memories are of interacting with plants, so I agree wholeheartedly with you that it is good for kids to have those opportunities!

Kerry Michaels December 3, 2008, 10:09 am

Hi – I did a “how to” on planting hens and chicks in clam shells. I did this project with my kids and they loved it.

They also love planting (and eating) English peas and sugar snaps.

Welcome to you too, Kerry! How cool that we’re getting some new participants this month. I look forward to seeing your post. The idea sounds fun for grown-ups too!

Ilona December 3, 2008, 7:21 pm

I wrote
back in ’05

Hey, Ilona – thanks so much for sharing this link with us!

Michelle December 4, 2008, 1:56 pm

Below is a link to one of my favorite Kids Space Play yards.
It took months of engineering and an arduous design review and permitting process, but we finally prevailed and this young growing family has been enjoying their play space area for several years now.

Good to have you join us again this month, Michelle. Having seen some of your other contributions, I’m sure this one will be equally beautiful and inspiring.

Jim December 6, 2008, 4:04 am

I’m in this time too, Nan. And early for a change. Covering old ground – our Harry Potter Garden. Check it out at:

What will I do when she’s too old for this? Will I have to admit it’s actually MY garden?

Awesome, Jim – the original is one of my all-time favorites. And don’t worry; it can always be your daughter’s garden. Mom still maintains the first gardens I put in at her place over 20 years ago, and she still tells people they are mine.

Commonweeder December 6, 2008, 10:38 am

Nan, I’m celebrating my first year as a garden blogger today and I want to tell you how much I have enjoyed the Design Workshop postings. Someday I hope to have something to contribute. And thanks for the reminder that late comments will be kept. I can well imagine gardeners going back to these Design workshops.

Good for you, Pat – may there be many more! Thanks for the kind words on the Design Workshops. I look forward to seeing anything you’d like to contribute, whenever you’re ready.

Chookie December 21, 2008, 1:41 am

I’ve just put up my post on the subject too! It’s called ‘Might I have a bit of earth?’ ‘Might I have a bit of earth?’ Hope you all recognise the quotation and that my HTML works!

Good to see you here again, Chookie! Thanks for sharing the link to your post.

Heirloom Gardener December 28, 2008, 9:23 pm


Thank you for this topic. As a mother of five children, my whole blog is in part about kids in the garden. Earlier this year, I did a post titled “Ten Tips for Planning a Children’s Garden”:

Rather than repeating that post, I did a new post for this month’s Design Workshop by asking my kids to write down their favorite things about gardening, which you can find here:

Thanks again for hosting this every month,

-Heirloom Gardener

What a fun idea for you post, HG! I look forward to checking it out. And thanks to you for being such a dependable participant in the Desgn Workshops.

Jeannie December 29, 2008, 2:30 pm

I think being outside with kids and allowing them to contribute to the direction of the adventure is important. Maybe they don’t get excited about “planting a seed”, but they do get excited about “toad hunting” or having a “garden parade.” In the Sacramento Valley, we are part of the Pacific Flyway and have marvelous wildlife refuges. The Monarchs fly over our area to and from Monterey. Here are some posts from August all about seeds:

I appreciate you sharing the link, Jeannie! I’m so glad you joined us this month.

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