Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our Not-so-secret Gardens

Our current read-aloud book is THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This book and I have a special history. Years ago, my grandmother, who loved best to spoil her grandchildren, told my mother she had a surprise for me. I have few vivid memories and this is one: my grandma holding the green jacket face-out, her shoulders slightly bent, her wispy hair brushed back. I also remember the disappointment I felt because I wanted a doll. But she knew best. My grandmother died twenty years ago, and this book is worth much, much more than a doll.

Now, it's like sharing a piece of their great-grandmother with my kids. I love the story of Mary's transformation as she discovers the world and life anew. Admittedly, my children aren't as riveted with this story as they were by our last read aloud. They move and interrupt a lot more. The words are more old-fashioned and difficult to follow, but they always ask if we are going to read it before bed. And sometimes I attempt to throw in a Yorkshire accent, which I can't do. Not at all.

To go along with our reading of THE SECRET GARDEN and as it is Spring, my children and I planted flowers. (This wasn't a well-planned-out curriculum adjunct to this book. It was me deciding, last minute, we'd stop by Lowe's on the way home from the park to buy flowers. I'm good at last minute. Last minute ice cream stops are the best.)

I'm not a gardener by any means. I tried to grow tomatoes when A was a baby. All they need is water and sunshine, but guess who can't grow tomatoes? (Me.) I'm glad I gave it another try. My kids loved scooping out the potting mix, digging holes, pressing their flowers into the holes, and watering with the giant watering can. J did an amazing job helping his sisters once I showed him the way. I dug up some earthworms which they stuck in their pots. (A loves earthworms...to death. They are "so cute" and she wants to play with them and make them her pets. Poor earthworms.) They are excited about expanding our garden beyond the three flower pots. First we'll see if we can keep these alive. (Remember the tomatoes?)


Here are our petunias, dianthuses, marigolds (all in a row), and dusty miller (which J nicknamed "the Narnia plant" because it looked like it had been snowed on).

We also tried our hand at planting seedlings: sunflowers, cantaloupes, lavender, and petunias. There are a lot of eggs hanging out in my fridge without their carton.

I think even Mary and Dickon would have been proud.

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