Thursday, May 10, 2007

We Call It "Gardenschooling"

(above image: spiderwort)

Yesterday my son, Thomas, spent about 4-5 hours with me outside planting bushes, trees (really small ones) and wildflowers. He's 7 1/2 and finishing first grade. We had gone to visit our friends Will and Margaret Shaw, who propagate wildflowers, shrubs and trees to sell at the Virginia Native Plant sale. They have a wonderful set-up for starting plants, and lots of young plants wanting a home. :) The back of our car was packed full of plants. Here's what we got away with:

  • Kentucky coffeetree

  • Pawpaw trees (really, really tiny things!)

  • black and red chokeberry bushes

  • winterberry bush

  • pink azalea

  • golden alexanders

  • American hazelnut (which is actually a large shrub/bush, not a tree, as I had imagined it would be)

  • maple leaf viburnum

  • spiderwort

  • solomon's seal (smooth, I think)

  • bluets (really pretty, dainty little flowers)

  • wild yamroot (a vine)

  • buttonbush

  • crimson-eyed rose mallow

  • wild columbine
    • (above image: American hazelnut)

      As you might imagine, I've been busy planting since Monday. I also happened to have purchased two blueberry bushes and a black raspberry bush from the Garden Barn on Saturday.

      (above image: golden alexanders)

      Thomas loves to dig holes. He loves to feel the dirt in his hands. He loves to find interesting creatures living in the soil. He loves filling the holes with dirt once the new plant is in. He loves watering the plants. We discussed the needs of the various plants we were working with yesterday, and where we should put them in our yard. We discussed how to keep the dog from digging everything back up, and created chicken-wire cages to put around the tiny pawpaws and the Ky coffeetree.

      (above image: bluets)

      Thomas loves to prune trees. He started working on getting rid of dead branches on our big, old, great-for-climbing redbud. Then I took over for the large limbs and got knocked in the mouth by a falling limb. I only suffered a cut to my lip, not even a loose tooth, black eye, contusion, or broken bone. Oh, I did learn to step out of the way of falling branches. If Thomas were enrolled in any school, I bet he wouldn't have learned nearly as much.

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      JohnPark said...

      Does the coffee tree produce coffee cherries, like the kind our coffee beans come from?

      Silvia said...

      No, but you can read more about the tree here:

      Summer said...

      Gardenscholing, I love it! I've had my preschooler out in the garden with me pulling weeds and watering plants and he loves it. There is so much to learn by being outside getting your hands dirty. :)

      betty said...

      How great to have a young man to help outdoors...especially when he really enjoys it!!!

      Silvia said...

      He really is a great worker. When the mood strikes. :)