Happy New Year. It’s day two into a new year and the sun is shining. Yesterday, I reflected about what makes a garden ~ or even a gardener ~ as our twin grandchildren celebrated their 8th birthday in their garden on New Year’s day. Lots of children and three dogs ran and chased, threw water bombs, played cricket and clambered over a fence to retrieve balls, scooted and rode bikes, swung from a tree and did slippery water slides. Much younger cousins played in the sandpit. Dinner was sausages and tomato sauce followed by birthday cakes eaten picnic style in the barbeque area. A tent was pitched so the older kids could sleep over.
When their Dad and Uncle were boys ~ the garden scene wasn’t so different back then. Himself and I can describe similar family gatherings in our parents’ gardens from our own childhoods. My mother said her family, who lived in a big English city, had a small garden. She and her brothers and sister played similar games in a large park near their home. In common with each of these generations is our garden experiences. Each kept a vegie patch. My sons grow peas and things their kids can pick and eat. It’s important children know where their food comes from.
Mum in her eighties, grows silverbeet, cherry tomatoes, parsley and a lemon tree in a tub. Kids need outdoor space for play. A tree can be climbed, swung from, sat under for shade from the sun. Grass needs to be robust to survive the cricket and rugby. Places are needed for riding, sand and water play. Gardens don’t only grow food and flowers – they grow people.