Teaching children to love nature

Because I am a nature lover, I assume that my grandchildren will automatically be nature lovers too. What I have come to realize is that teaching children to love nature is all about immersing them in it. This practice does not have to be an expensive endeavour, more of a shared life style, that can and should begin very early in life. One of my fondest memories of both of my grandmothers is their love of gardening.

I love all things garden related, so I make sure my grandchildren tour my gardens, patio and veranda plantings when they visit. I have added a few whimsical features throughout my yard to pique their interest, my way of teaching children. I love their sweet reactions!

I also have a few nature inspired features in my home décor that the kids love…

Teaching children has to be age appropriate or your students quickly lose interest. As my grand kids get older, the teaching or mentoring gets easier. In the spring they help me plant some decorations on my back deck. Then they water them throughout the summer to keep them thriving. I haven’t met a child yet that does not like to water flowers! Morning glories and sunflowers are easy to plant and grow quickly…

A word of caution when teaching children though, make sure you don’t care if they break your touches of nature. For example, the resin bunny has a broken tail and foot from two separate, accidental drops. And, one of my birdies cracked after my grandson threw it on a hard floor attempting to make it fly. I have to keep a close eye on the elephant as it is a sentimental (and very old) souvenir their great-grandpa brought their grandfather back from a trip to Africa.

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Sunflower season is here

One of the best things about fall (autumn) is the glorious sunflowers that seem to sprout up so quickly this time of year.  Fall is probably my least favourite season, with spring being favourite, but I do like the cheerful sunflowers.  This past spring I planted a variety of sunflower seeds with my grandchildren.  Some in pots on the back deck and a few in my front garden…

 

Gardens4u presents Joe Pye Weed

I literally did a double take when I saw this absolutely gorgeous large cluster of Joe Pye Weed while driving home from a client’s garden.  I pulled a U turn and went back to take a picture…

joe pye weed

I have never seen such a beautiful display of Joe Pye Weed. Joe Pye weed, also called Eutrochium,  is a perennial related to sunflowers.  It is a late bloomer, perfect as a tall accent in your late summer and fall gardens.  It is also available in a dwarf form, but cannot imagine a shorter version creating the same impact.  Grown in full sun it needs moist soil, but it prefers part sun to part shade conditions where it will tolerate less moisture.  I have some growing in part shade in my garden, but mine is not nearly as striking, so will try some in a sunnier spot too.  Joe Pye Weed is hardy to zone 5, which means protection from cold north winds in my Kanata Ontario gardens.