Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening With Kids

Combining daycare and gardening

My name is Liz Dutton, and this is my first submission to the GPOD. For the past thirty-five years, I have been gardening and operating a daycare home on two acres in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Every day you will find me outdoors with the children with a camera around my neck so that I can photograph them at play, but I also photograph my garden daily and use the pictures as a type of journal to record the changes. Summer is definitely slipping away, and many signs of autumn are creeping in.

Colchicum (Zones 4–7) blooming on the autumn equinox looks like spring on the first day of fall. See more fall bloomers.

Morning sun lights up the pennisetum and the Heliopsis (Zones 3–9).

I purchased Phlox paniculata ‘Jeanna’ because I read it is the phlox that butterflies like best.

Even the youngest in my daycare home enjoy the garden. This child is arranging dahlias early in the morning.

Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican sunflower, annual) visited by a monarch butterfly.


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.

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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 10/07/2019

    Nothing like gardening with little ones, is there? Those Colchicums are gorgeous.

  2. nwphillygardener 10/07/2019

    Lovely details. Thanks for your artful images.

  3. cheryl_c 10/07/2019

    I love how this post reminds us to share our gardening experiences with others. Children open our eyes to see the world so much more clearly. Thank you for sharing, and please send more photos soon.

  4. rtknoth 10/07/2019

    I have seen Liz & Paul Dutton’s garden so many times. Each time, I’m at awe from each new flower that blooms, the monarch butterflies, the bees, the chickens, and their faithful dog. The thing that amazes me most about this garden are the children who play in many areas of the garden plus they are truly one with this garden paradise. Only yesterday, I saw the newly-built greenhouse right behind her sheshed and his mancave. Liz already has her plans to fill it with her gorgeous plants, not surprisingly. The public who came to see this garden at last July’s Secret Garden Walk were so happy to see such hidden 2 acres of beauty.

  5. btucker9675 10/07/2019

    Love the sunlit grasses photo. Getting children hooked on gardening is an excellent gift that can last their entire lives - wonderful.

  6. wittyone 10/07/2019

    The picture of the little kid arranging the flowers is wonderful. The light is especially effective, making a halo of her hair and also reflecting into her face.

    Great picture!!

  7. User avater
    simplesue 10/07/2019

    What a great influence you are on the kids at your daycare. I think usually various sports are shoved at kids as if there are no other passions or hobbies to enrich a kid. So nice to see you introducing the little babes to flowers. I remember my earliest experiences in the garden with my grandparents to this day. What you are doing is a really cool thing. Also your photography is stunning with the moving light on the child and flowers. Bravo!

    1. User avater
      simplesue 10/07/2019

      spell check made "morning light" into "moving light" but I'm sure you figured that out LOL!

  8. hedgesbc 09/09/2021

    Your post was really great! I especially loved the kids photo. It seems like he is having a lot of fun and it's always good to keep an eye on the benefits that come from that type of activity.
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  9. SumasTree 12/06/2021

    I'm a mom of two kids myself and I really liked your article about the benefits of gardening. As you know, with everything that goes on in parenting, it can be hard to find time for ourselves. Gardening offers both mental and physical benefits. And now my little guys are getting into the spirit too! They have been helping me plant seeds this week--they think they're being so industrious! -tree removal near me

  10. RichmondBlake 01/04/2022

    I just read this article you wrote and I loved it! It was so well-written and I can't wait to try your gardening strategy with my children.
    tree service vancouver

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