Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday, June 23, 2006

Children's Garden Themes
As a mother to three boys and an avid gardener, I am always looking for ways to incorporate my kids into the garden for the garden's sake, my sanity and their nature nurturing. My first take on 'our' garden was a pole bean teepee with some chives and mints. The scarlett runner beans did wonderfully, my son was pleased with his chivey, onion breath all summer. The mints, well, let's just say we created our own variety when the pineapple, spearmint and grapefruit mint took over the garden and crossed. Of course that was many moons ago.........

Try these grips and some bamboo poles for a great, sturdy teepee.

Check out these scarlet runner beans rambling over a teepee and fencing at:

Pineapple Mint

Here is a nice link to some fun varieties of mints:

I pot mine up with some potting soil and sink the container in the ground to keep it from taking over the garden. All varieties are rather invasive and need to be contained. I'm pretty sure one of the first herbs a new gardener plants is mint and even after being told it is invasive, just can't wait for it to invade only to have their own battle with mint story to tell several years later. A nice idea would be to pot up your mints and have the kids make signs for each variety and just set the pots around the garden or outside of the play area as the bees can become a bit of a nuisance.

Okay, enough mints and teepees!! There are so many creative ideas for incorporting the children into your garden and having the garden of your dreams at the same time. If you've read the previous blog an alphabet garden is a fun way to teach your children about plants that are safe, the 5 senses and of course the alphabet! Try these plants for your alphabet garden:
Balloon Flower (flowers looks like balloons just before opening)
Echinacea (we all know urple come flower)
Fennel bronze (butterflies love to lay their eggs on fennel)
Hens and chicks (great to cut open for burns)
Hyssop (the flowers make a yummy tea)
Jacob’s ladder
Lamb’s ear ( I cut the flower stalks off as they attract a large number of bees)
Apple mint
Chocolate mint
Banana mint
Nasturtium (edible flowers)
Obedient plant (invasive, but neat plant. flowers can be pushed in place around stem)
Queen anns’s lace (invasive)
Ribbon grass
Roman shields (an everlasting whose seed pods resemble little shields)
Thyme (so many varieties to choose from)
Trembling hearts ( a tiny perennial grass)
Umbrella plant (houseplant, jsut sink the pot and bring it in during the fall)
Xeranthemum (annual, start from seed)
Zebra grass
There are so many more available plants. Try making a game out of finding appropriate plants for your alphabet garden. I use a variety of plants with either latin or common names.

One of my favorite muses on the web for children's gardening is the 4h Children's Garden in Michigan
Here you can take a virtual tour through all of the themed gardens designed especially for kids!

Here are some other themes for a children's garden:

Butterfly garden
Crayon Color garden
Dinosaur garden
Fairy garden
Scented garden
Pizza garden
Peter Rabbit Garden
Sundial (Thyme) garden
The Pizza Patch
Sunflower House
Buckets, Boxes & Boots (Container Gardens)
Moon Garden (white flowers)
The Flowery Maze
A Garden of Giants
Mother Nature's Medicine Chest

Have fun exploring gardening with your child!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006

Ruth Van Erp Children's Alphabet Garden
within the
Tinker Herb Garden

The Rush-Henrietta Community was fortunate to have had Ruth Van Erp as a resident for 30 years. She lived with her family on Hayden Drive and touched the lives of thousands of area people. From 1968 - 1984 she volunteered at Shermen Elementary School. She developed many programs and activities. Her enthusiasm and energy were endless. One year the Children's Day theme wa "Henrietta" and she created a booklet for every student with a variety of information on the town's history, government, etc., presented in dot-to-dots, stories and mazes. Each booklet also had a packet of sunflower seeds so students could keep Henrietta beautiful. Even today at Sherman school you can still see some of the classroom witches she made for each room or enjoy the Spring flowers Ruth helped to plant.

Sherman school was just the beginning of her volunteering. Ruth taught CDC classes for Good Schepherd Church in Henrietta and served on a variety of commities. She was both a brownie and 4-H leader over the years, again using her talents and creativity to bring out the best in youngsters.

Through all of her volunteer activities, she was a role model for others. A Home Economics teacher by profession, she enjoyedcooking and always had fresh delicious baked goods coming out of her oven. She shared her home baked goodies with others by taking refreshments to meetings and providing hospitality at events such as the Youth Hall of Fame program.

Ruth was appointed to the Henrietta Youth Board in the late 70's and served for many years. At the high school she was one of the founding mothers of the Youth to Youth program and the Drug and Alcohol free events held at graduation time. Her arts and talents were admired by all.

After Ruth's passing, her dear friend Gayle Cardot formed a committee to develop the Children's Garden at the Tinker Nature Park. Come to any event at the park and there you will see Gayle manning a booth for the children to create a project, just as Ruth Would of loved. Ruth grew up on a farm in Michigan and most of her crafts were made from natural meterials. She was wonderful with children and was able to look at things through the eyes of a child. The Children's Alphabet Garden at Tinker was chosen as the place for a lasting tribute to Ruth.

L is for Lamb's Ear

M is for Mint! Nic DeVeto taste testing the Apple Mint.

P is for Perskovia "Russian Sage", Pansy and Parsley.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Events Calender

Tinker Homestead And Farm Museum

Hansen Nature Center

2006 Events


15 Saturday Ice Cream Social Noon-3 PM
-Free ice cream from Abbot's
-Children's activities in the nature center
-Tours of the farm museum


4,5,& 6 Civil War Days
-Friday 6:30 PM Concert with the "Excelsior Coronet Band"
-Sat. and Sun. 10-4 PM Living History Encampments
-Sat. - Sun. Battles at 1:00 PM

16 Wednesday Summer Field Day 10 AM - 3 PM
Sponsored by Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care
-Puppet show, Pond sampling, Games, Crafts, and Nature hikes

9 Saturday Harvest Festival Noon - 3 PM
-Honey Harvest Demonstration
-Horse drawn wagon rides
-Antique farm tool display
Craft and Herb Show starts at 10 AM and goes till 4 PM
Come and stock up on your fall decorating supplies!

20 Friday Halloween at The Park 6 PM - 9 PM
-"Creatures of the Night" Nature walk Starts at 7 PM
-Victorian Funeral in the Homestead
-Haunted Barn
-Cider & donuts

2 & 3 Saturday and Sunday Victorian Christmas Noon - 3 PM both days
-Victorian Christmas Decor in the homestead
-Children's activities in the nature center
-Come meet old Saint Nic