Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening With Children

Sharing the joy of getting dirty!

My name is Kat, and I’m in Northumberland County, Ontario, Canada.

These photographs are about gardening with our children. We live in an agricultural community, and there are lots of opportunities for children to learn about growing things, to experience the natural world, and to get properly dirty.

sunflower growingBoth kids brought home sunflower seedlings from school, which we planted by the swing set.

The sunflowers clearly did well, turning into giants, with marigolds growing at their feet.

scarlet runner beansWe grew scarlet runner beans that turned into magical purple jewels.

And we made a mud pit alongside the sunflower garden, which was a highlight of the summer in the backyard.

The kids spend a lot of time with me maintaining the garden throughout the growing season. A proud parenting moment was when my oldest daughter told my mom not to water the garden with the sprinkler they were playing in. She knew that wet leaves would lead to powdery mildew!

monarch butterflyOur children have many nature role models in our community, all incredibly giving of their time and enthusiasm: our lovely neighbor who is a green blogger and a talented woodland guide; a nearby saffron farmer who brought his hatching monarchs to their kids’ club, perfectly timed for a new butterfly to appear; our friend who gardens up a wild hill and gave us fresh pawpaw seeds for our yard; the local gardeners who opened their award-winning peony garden at a heritage schoolhouse and let our girls lie down and breathe in the fragrant thyme that carpeted their pathway as though that was a completely normal thing to do on a garden tour; the outdoor educator who demystified ticks and introduced the girls to geocaching; the volunteers who run our fall fair and give the girls a chance to show off what they’ve grown and foraged; their teacher who put a bird feeder outside the kindergarten window and attracted a flock of wild turkeys to the playground equipment. (I wish I had a picture of that to share.)

One of the things I like best about gardening is how warm earth feels and smells, and it is really a joy to find different ways to share those same sensory experiences with our kids, in our backyard, and in our community.


Have a garden you’d like to share?

Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!

To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.

If you want to send photos in separate emails to the GPOD email box that is just fine.

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View Comments


  1. nwphillygardener 01/08/2020

    Thanks for reminding everyone that gardening is such a multi-sensory experience that children and adults alike can enjoy. We (without kids) may not incorporate a mud pit, but smoothing out some mulch without having gloves on can also make it to the ranks of relatable tactile experiences, along with an impromptu handful of cherry tomatoes juggled back into the kitchen when they produce so much that every trip into the yard requires a harvest.
    And even if I don't lie down on the creeping thyme, just the need to pull the stray blade or grass or wood sorrel from it's midst provides a fragrant reward that lingers for hours on my fingertips.

  2. Maggieat11 01/08/2020

    How wonderful to have the children so involved and in so many ways. Great teaching moments and memories that will stay with them (and you!) forever.

  3. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/08/2020

    What a beautiful GPOD sharing. Your children are blessed beyond belief and, as a reader, my day is enriched from having read your words and enjoyed your photos.

  4. LauraJaneS 01/08/2020

    Wonderful - good for you. Your children will have wonderful memories of this I'm sure. Always happy to see Ont. featured here. (I'm in the Ottawa area)

  5. User avater
    treasuresmom 01/08/2020

    Letting children garden is one of the best things you can do.

  6. cheryl_c 01/08/2020

    What a wonderful community of gardeners! You remind us how it 'takes a village' and how those of us who don't have children in our lives at this point can reach out to children and include them in the joys of gardening. Thank you so much for sharing that and encouraging us to play our part.

  7. User avater
    simplesue 01/08/2020

    Looking back at my childhood I remember the good teachers, my mom & dad and the neighbors that showed me fascinating things about gardens, and nature....not "fascinating" things about a soccer ball, or whatever kind of ball.

    I lived near a boys school and sports was all they taught them outside of the classroom.
    I remember gardening on a vacant city corner near the school and one of the guys stopped and he was so interested in gardening...a subject that was totally ignored by that boys school.

    The effects of the psychology of gardening vs the psychology of organized competitive sports on kids....think about it a moment..a lot of pressure to win.

    Your kids will remember you for this and one day pass this enrichment of childhood memories on to their kids..

  8. coastalgardener 01/08/2020

    I love that you're involving your children at an early age. Gardening is an activity that can bring them satisfaction all through their lives. How wonderful, too, that the gardening community around you has also been willing to share. Everyone is a winner here!

  9. btucker9675 01/08/2020

    Growing up with sunflowers, butterflies and magical beans - what could be better?!

  10. lizmessick 01/08/2020

    “To get properly dirty” - I love that! I really enjoyed your pictures and story.

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