Gardening is a year round adventure, but generally makes its greatest presence in the spring and summer months. There is no reason that some form of gardening cannot be practiced in your home all throughout the year. So many unit studies spring from a foray into gardening – science and botany, nutrition, frugality, home preserving, pest control. In addition to the lessons gardening offers, it is my belief that all children should have a spot of their own to dig and grow something. It’s just a valuable and magical offering. Your child’s spot can be as simple as a pot of dirt on the patio or if you are able, a small corner of your own larger family garden. Whatever you have to offer just make it theirs; let them plan it, select seeds or plants and plant them, tend it by watering and caring for it, pick it, and then eat it. Let them get dirty. Let them spend quiet moments in their little gardens turning over to the backside of a leaf to view the caterpillar munching away. Good stuff.
I have found an absolute treasure of a book that can be used to plan an entire curriculum on gardening and botany all by itself. Sow and Grow by Tina Davis is a charming and captivating book full of delicious illustrations and ideas! This book could easily be used by a variety of age groups at once, and if you found no other book to help you cover this topic you would have more than ample instruction and inspiration in these pages.
I know I’ve mentioned before how visual I am – I do judge a book by its cover…and all of the illustrations inside as well. This book is delightfully illustrated. Botanical illustrations are all quite accurate and detailed, but are not overwhelming or busy at all. The colors are rich. The whole book just draws a child in (and, if you can’t already tell, me too).
To give you an idea of all of the information covered, I’ll list the table of contents:
All About Plants
What is a Plant?
What is a Leaf?
What is a Root?
What is a Stem?
What is a Flower?
What is a Fruit?
What is a Seed?
What a Plant Needs to Grow
All About Light
All About Water
All About Air
All About Photosynthesis
Tools You Will Need
Gardening Indoors Month by Month
January….Growing Plants from Seeds
February….Growing Plants in the Kitchen
March….Forcing Branches to Bloom Indoors
June….Printing with Leaves
September….Pressing Flowers and Leaves
October….Forcing Bulbs to Bloom Indoors
November….Starting Plants from Leaves
December….Decorating and Caring for Houseplants
and a beautiful little section for…Gardening Notes
This is certainly a book rich in ideas and activities that need not be limited to our young ladies. All children would delight in afternoons spent reading in this book and making plans.
In continuing with the Mary Frances books, we’ll be reading Mary Frances: Adventures Among the Garden People by Jane Fryer. These books have been such a delight that Sweet Pea has already swiped several off of my shelves and read them. She absolutely loves them!! And Sparkly, my football throwing, b.b. gun shooting, pocket knife toting boy, begs her to read these books to him! Praise indeed!
In addition to Sow and Grow, I can make a few other suggestions that would be useful to have on your shelf for this study and any time you and your children find the urge to get your hands dirty. 🙂 Happy Gardening!
Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy
Sunflower Houses: Inspiration from the Garden by Sharon Lovejoy
Hollyhock Days by Sharon Lovejoy
Trowel and Error: Over 700 Tips, Remedies and Shortcuts for the Gardener by Sharon Lovejoy
All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew
The Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond
And, my favorite two sources of gardening supplies and tools…