encouraging youngsters to be gardeners; was Re: Gardening meets Econ 101

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Mon, 01 Oct 2012 13:53:26 PDT
I also grew up with gardening parents (mother: cacti and irises; 
father: roses) and grandparents (ranchers turned farmers, post Dust 
Bowl) and have tried to grow things almost everywhere I lived for 
more than a few months. One of my brothers worked as an orchardist 
and the other keeps up some nice ornamentals despite favoring his 
Porsche. Most of the younger (i.e., under-50) people in our gardening 
community in the Portland area also had keen gardeners as parents.

One thing that occurs to me is that young children are attracted to 
small things that can be their "very own." One of my friends gave his 
daughter her own alpine trough among the many he had. So little bulbs 
that can be grown in modest-sized pots, even in a household with no 
garden, would be one thing children could do. They wouldn't have to 
be expensive kinds: Muscari or Crocus, little species tulips, and 
miniature daffodils come to mind. They could be grown in the 
classroom and taken home too. (This gives me an idea about what to do 
with the hundreds of clay pots I have stacked up after replanting my 
bulbs in raised beds.) A number of our schools now have food gardens 
and native plant gardens, but the latter look awfully messy to me and 
might not have the aesthetic appeal that would "hook" a novice gardener.

Some Narcissus cantabricus (if you can spare some of this 
fast-increasing species) would suit this plan and can be pretty at 
Christmas; I've potted up half a dozen per small clay pot as gifts, 
and Cyclamen coum too (very good to have on hand for a quick exchange 
when you are given a present you didn't expect!).

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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