Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening With a Three-Year-Old Assistant

Veggies and more in a California garden

My name is Bethany Davis, and I live in Southern California. My gardening experience is somewhat varied. I grew up in rural Wisconsin, where my mother’s in-ground vegetable garden was bigger than some entire properties here. When I first arrived, I landed smack dab in suburbia. My first home with my husband was a condo, and my “garden” was a 10×6 cement patio, so I did container gardening. In June we bought our first home, and I find myself out in the canyons of Orange County, which is rural, wild, stunning, and rocky as all get out. It’s nothing like I’ve gardened in before!

Mammoth Melting Sugar PeaThis beautiful photo is of my Mammoth Melting sugar pea.

Though the previous photo may look like the pea was placed for artistic display, it is actually part of a miniature teepee (or tee-pea, hah) that I built with my three-year-old in mind. I wanted her to have a little edible hideout in my garden. I started this one as an experiment and figured that if she liked it and the plants grew, we could go full size.

At three years old, my little gardening assistant already has opinions on what to plant and where.

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus, Zones 7–10) in full bloom

lantanaSunny flowers of lantana (Lantana camara, Zones 8–11 or as an annual)

There is lots of food being produced in this garden, from carrots to citrus, with room for a charming turtle statue.

The rocky landscape of rural California is nothing like Wisconsin, but gardening carries on anywhere!

My assistant proudly posing with a carrot from the garden.


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View Comments


  1. grannie55 02/13/2020

    Such joyful photos! 3 year olds are wonderful assistants and so excited about simple pleasures. My 2 year old grand-daughter wanted a purple garden last summer and it was a hit with all of us - purple carrots, purple beans, purple pod peas, red sails lettuce (close enough!), chives, and purple flowers. I LOVE your "tea-pea"! You are making memories and passing on the love for gardening that was passed to you and bringing beauty to your little rocky soil corner of the world.

  2. User avater
    treasuresmom 02/13/2020

    Gardening with a child is to make our world a greener place in the future.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 02/13/2020

    Who needs artificial garden gnomes and other types of figurines to place artfully here and've got the best ornamentation of all...and she is not only adorable but helpful as well. Your daughter is getting a gift that is beyond priceless in so many ways and I wish you both many more years of this special way to spend time together.

  4. User avater
    simplesue 02/13/2020

    Cute little "garden assistant"! Looks like her childhood memories are going to be super nice with you showing her gardening stuff at such a young age- I can just see her garden when she is a mom one day!
    Wow, flowering Rosemary...I never even thought about that before. What a fabulous photo...I learned something new!
    I almost feel bad eating Rosemary now LOL! It's too pretty!

  5. btucker9675 02/13/2020

    She will never forget these experiences - I'm 65 and still look back fondly on learning gardening from my Mom and my maternal grandfather (an actual botanist). Thanks for sharing your garden and your daughter with us!

  6. User avater
    bdowen 02/13/2020

    What wonderful memories you are creating for both of you in your new garden. Years ago, I read about a family that celebrated Mother's Day by planting their garden- sounds like my New England, not southern California. Your photos will be even more precious since they will show your garden and daughter growing.

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