Poetry in the Garden

poetry in the garden

April is Kids Garden Month AND National Poetry Month. We’ve received some really fantastic poems as entries into our Dream Big contest, and I cannot resist sharing a few. (The blog header, above, is a Kids Garden Month entry from Ethan, Adelaide and Julia from Chalker Elementary School in Georgia.)

My Dream Garden Poem
Zoey, Arcola Elementary, 2nd grade

If I love gardens
Then I love animals too
I would put animals ,plants ,and tree’s too
And I love gardens forever
I would add things everyday
And I am happy with my gardens!

my dream garden poem
Sameet, Arcola Elementary

the flowers are whispering
the trees are talking
the garden is yawning
the moon is yelling
the animals are understanding
the bushes are shivering

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OUR SCHOOL GARDEN
By: Mrs. Morgan’s 1st Grade Class

Plants dance like ants in the sun.
Flowers have powers to tower to the sky.
Soil is loyal and royal, so our plants grow tall.
Rain will drain on the plants and help them sprout.

Care is important to get rid of weeds.
Wind can bend the trees and send love.
Seeds have needs and they look like beads.
Eating kale in the garden with friends is to sail through the waters of life.

MY DREAM GARDEN
By LK, Raven's Wood Outdoor School for Renegades

Lavender and lupine,
sunflowers and mint.
Roses covering an arbor, with chairs underneath
and sweet-smelling sage.

Unicorns play and
Fairies dance,
around an enchanted fountain,
made out of shining stones.

The garden's perfectly round,
with the fountain in the middle.
Cobblestone paths,
with strawberries growing all around.

There are strawberries and fountain water,
It’s safe and comfortable.
There are birds singing and bees buzzing.
But it’s enchanted, so the human eye can't see it.

The Garden Rap
By Evan and Greg, Loudenslager School

Look at my garden so
Big and bright. When the
Sun’s out it has light.
When it becomes night
It gives people a fright,
Then they get a nightlight.
I got a fountain and it
Looks like a mountain
Then people started pouting.
In our garden was a gnome
Next to our home
And our dog found
A bone. We found a
Watering can next to
A man named Stan.
We found a rock on the
Shed’s lock. I hope you liked
Our garden rap but now it is
Time to take a nap!

Are you looking for some ideas to incorporate poetry in the garden? We have a lesson plan for that! Growing Poems is geared for grades 2-8, and is designed to cultivate creativity and communication skills through garden-inspired poetry.

You have until April 30 to send in your entry for Kids Garden Month. Gardeners age 0-18: Tell us about your dream garden using words, artwork, song, or media (really, the sky's the limit!). What grows, who visits, and why do you love it? Entries can be submitted by individuals, or by a class or group. Each week we’ll choose a favorite entry to receive a prize package, and at the end of the month we’ll award two grand prize winners – one to an individual and one to a group or class – with a $250 gift card to Gardener's Supply Company to help their dreams become reality.

Thank you to Chartwells for sponsoring Kids Garden Month 2018!

Blog by: Beth Saunders

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Prickly Palace: Growing Cactus from Seed

Growing cacti from seed

While we here are KidsGardening are still dreaming big for Kids Garden Month, we’re also dreaming tiny when it comes to our indoor staff garden.

Let me back up a bit.

Back in February, our staff embarked on a growing project. We decided to try something none of us in the office had any experience starting from seed – cactuses! Succulents and cactuses are all the rage right now for good reason – they’re adorable, are available in such interesting shapes and colors, and their tiny size make them appealing to collect.

Most of us here at KidsGardening have started seedlings for an annual vegetable or flower garden before, but the cactuses have been an entirely new experience for all of us. Honestly, that’s been one of the best parts – no one really knows what they’re doing, so we have all gotten the opportunity to learn together.

One of the first bits of research we did about growing cactuses taught us that we would need to be patient. It will take about a year before they’ll be big enough to transplant to their own pots!

If you’re interested in growing your own cactuses, here’s what we have done so far for our cactus babies, affectionately called the Prickly Palace.

Materials

  • Packet of mixed cactus seeds
  • Plastic growing flat and cover
  • Seed starting soil mix
  • Bonsai soil mix, or other gritty soil
  • Heat mat (this was necessary for our drafty winter window, but your climate may vary)

Method

starting cactus from seed
Pour seed starting soil mix into your plastic growing flat. Moisten with water, and mix so the water is evenly distributed.
growing cactus from seed
Evenly distribute the cactus seeds on the soil.
starting cactus from seed
Cover with a light coating of bonsai soil mix.
growing cactus from seed
Place on top of a heat mat to ensure the proper seed germination temperature. Cover with the plastic cover in order to maintain moisture. Your cactuses should be exposed to some sunlight, but not direct sun all day.
growing cactus from seed
After a few weeks, the cactuses will sprout!
growing cactus from seed
Once they have spines, ventilate your plants by taking the plastic cover off for several hours each day. We let ours dry out a bit, but still water 1-2 times a week. (Dime for scale)

Once the cactuses are the size of marbles, they will be ready to transplant into their own pots. At that point, we’ll use a cactus / succulent soil mix to repot them into individual clay pots. Only 10 more months to go!

This would be a GREAT project for patient kids or adults! What about you? Have you grown cactus from seed? Do you have any advice for us?

Blog by: Beth Saunders

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Kids Are Dreaming Big

dreaming big

We have been BLOWN AWAY by the creativity of the kids dreaming big for Kids Garden Month. From cheese sandwich plants to unicorn poop fertilizer, here are just a few of the amazing entries we've received so far. Look for more inspiration on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds!

We received a stack of lovely poems from a class of second graders at Arcola Elementary School. I wish I could share them all, but here’s just one:

MY GARDEN DREAM POEM

A garden a garden a beautiful garden full, of flowers, lavenders, and roses.
I have to water the flowers to help them survive otherwise they’ll die
The butterfly’s fly, the bees buzz and the birds sing
My garden will have very beautiful trees, flowers, and plants
My garden will be the beautiful most of all
In my garden it will have a delightful smell

The Little Bears group from Raven’s Wood Outdoor School for Renegades worked together to create a story board and illustration of their dream garden. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Once upon a time, there was a fairy family. This family created a beautiful, magical garden. They decided to plant magical plants and flowers.

This Magical Garden had mammoth sunflowers that could touch the moon, and the roses could be smelled from five miles away. The garden had trees that guarded it, and rainbows that made wishes come true. There were magical cats that climbed the guard trees. They helped the trees to see. When there was an intruder, the cats told the guard trees to scare them away. 

Unicorn poop was used as fertilizer to make the plants magical. The fairies grew medicine plants, carrots, and strawberries. 

By Sadie, Reijo, Eli, Ian, Emmett, and James

Paula, a 9th grader, created this outstanding drawing that incorporates the many benefits of community gardens.

dreaming big

Kyla’s dream garden incorporates an insect hotel that will help pollinators survive in the city. Brilliant idea, Kyla!

Dreaming big

Shiloh’s dream garden has a cheese sandwich!

Did we mention we're giving out weekly AND grand prizes thanks to our friends at Gardener's Supply? Check out our Kids Garden Month page for all the details on weekly and grand prizes, contest rules, and how to submit your entries. We can't wait to hear from you!

Thank you to Chartwells for sponsoring Kids Garden Month!

Blog by: Beth Saunders

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Dream Gardens

dream gardens

Dream Gardens

It’s Kids Garden Month! Are you as excited as we are? This year, we’re asking gardeners age 0-18 to Dream Big! When children dream big, they can have a powerful and meaningful impact on their community. KidsGardening’s Dream Big contest is about using the garden as a place for creative expression, community engagement, and as a tool for empowering kids to realize their dreams.

While the contest is for kids, KidsGardening staff couldn’t help but get in on the fun. Here are a few of OUR dream gardens.

dream garden

Beth: My art skills are minimal at best, but my dream garden has LOTS of color from flowers, vegetables and fruits. It’s a space where my kids can dig and play in the mud, where very few weeds grow (because of magic, not pesticides) and where we have abundant food and flowers to share with friends and community.

dream gardens

Christine: Inspired by the production garden and orchard from a small family farm in rural mid-coast Maine where I used to work, my Dream Garden would include apple, pear and peach trees, a high tunnel overflowing with hot and sweet peppers, plenty of garlic, greens and pickling cucumbers, flowers galore, and handful of berry bushes. 

dream gardens

Kristen: My dream garden is centered around a community space where people from diverse backgrounds can come together to learn about growing and eating healthy food, do yoga, enjoy music, and make friends! My raised beds have a mix of vegetables, herbs, and flowers that are used in community classes about preserving the harvest, fermentation, herbalism, and more. On the north side of the garden is a line of big beautiful sunflowers. Also poking around are some chickens, my yellow lab Rigby, and some raspberry and blueberry bushes.

dream garden

Sarah: Although I enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, blooming plants are my favorites which is why they are front and center in my dream garden. I love to surround myself with bright colors and sweet smells. Flowering plants feed your soul which I think is just as important as nourishing your body.  

What about you? What grows in your dream garden? Who visits, and why do you love it? Are your kids or students ready to enter? See the Kids Garden Month 2018 page for complete contest rules and prize details (spoiler alert: the prizes are fantastic). 

Blog by: KidsGardening staff

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