It's mostly vegetables; I'm utilitarian that way. But I have planted a number of flowers to keep the yard looking nice.
Friends of ours put a little "fairy garden" in the corner of their garden for their daughter and son to have. For her birthday their daughter received a number of items for her fairies. Today I came across a parking lot green house that was clearing out their remnants at a %70 discount. They had a few plants in a "fairy garden" section that I picked up for the boys for creating their own version--maybe a "gnome garden." Nils helped me plant the flowers and then he called his brother out to work on it.
They ended up going with an "animal garden" (initially Nils wanted a "Star Wars garden" but I vetoed that because he wanted to use his old toys we were trying to sell). They built some fences out of sticks and put a little pond in using a lid from a peanut butter jar. Pebbles became a pathway and a few more sticks became a bridge over the pond.
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- Gardening connects me to God's creation. I get to be a part of the creating cycle. I get to witness a dead seed turning into a flourishing plant that produces more seeds.
- It teaches the boys about where food comes from. We get to eat right out of the garden--they know produce doesn't simply come from the grocery store.
- For me gardening is therapy. Stress alleviates when I pull some weeds. I can lose myself for a good part of an afternoon pulling clover out of the grass (though I found myself not keeping up with it as well lately and having to resort to harsher measures).
- Gardening gets dirt under my nails. Mainly because I don't wear gloves. Gardening is good work. It's honest work. And it's rewarding.
- Working in my garden connects me to my neighborhood. My wife keeps a very tidy house (and directs me into my part of that) which is an act of hospitality to our guests. But the garden is where I get to by hospitable to the neighborhood. Frequently when I'm working outside someone walking by says hello or exchanges a few other words. Acquaintances and friends stop and talk--or at least honk their horns in a friendly manner. Some will comment on how nice things look; occasionally some will ask for a tomato. When I'm working in the garden, I interact with the neighborhood in ways I don't get to if I were doing other activities.
A few of the animals with their pathway and bridge across the pond.
And we'll see how the "animal garden" grows through the summer. I'm excited the boys have their own little patch of dirt to play with.