I arrived at the PlayGarden eager to get everything into the ground. Rain was in the forecast and today was the day I set aside to work hard and fast, which meant I wasn’t there to socialize. The corn went in but then I noticed that a group of girls were running through the garden with armloads of flowers. I looked over to see the picnic table covered in blossoms. Picking flowers is allowed at the PlayGarden but this was more like harvesting and our super cute alliums were in the mix. So I stopped working and went to talk to them. They said, “ We really love flowers”. They followed me over to the vegetable garden asking if they could help. Now, I really wanted to get work done but those faces did me in. I said I was weeding and they agreed to help. They checked in on which plants were weeds and were careful only to dig the weeds. I showed them the carrots and the peas and then we moved on to planting. They dug holes, transplanted the sunflowers that if left on their own like last year, would create a stunning Van Gogh scene but too much shade for the vegies. We cleaned out a mucky whisky barrel and made a pond, which they decorated with the flowers they had picked. They worked hard, really hard and got dirty, really dirty and didn’t mind that the muck in the barrel was super stinky. Their boys were playing a mad game of capture the flag and wanted the girls to join in but not a chance.
When we were finally ready to plant I handed the 9 year old a 4” pepper plant in its pot. She carefully dug a hole and then nestled the plant pot and all into the hole. I showed her how to take the plant out of the pot and we looked at the roots. We noticed that some had a lot of roots and some not so much. I moved on to weeding another bed and the four girls planted all the peppers and eggplants and all 30-40 sunflowers.
We talked and gardened for over an hour.
“I didn’t know anything about gardening when I came here and now I know what a carrot and how to plant peppers and eggplants and sunflowers.”
“Why is this root pink?”
“How is vanilla made?”
“How much water do you have to give a strawberry?”
“Is that sign that says Zuckerman’s Farm from Charlotte’s Web?”
I started the day in my own world with an agenda and a timeline. A crew of 4 girls and 5 boys with one Mom-caretaker changed everything. Those girls were so helpful, so eager to learn and to work hard and so proud of what they had accomplished. When they were given a five-minute warning that it was time to go I asked them if they wanted to choose a flower to take home. They all chose a yellow rose. “ I like this rose because it’s so pretty but mostly because it smells like honey”. I told them they were sweet like honey and said I hope you come back soon. “Ok, see you tomorrow” they chimed.
I wonder what they would have done if I hadn’t of been there. I’m sure they would have had fun I might have been cranky when I saw all those flowers strewn about. We all would have missed out on a lot.