It’s summer and we’re looking forward to long days, late nights, backyard camping and BBQ dinners. In Canada the outdoor season is brief, and that means we have but a few months to fully enjoy our fun in the sun. That’s what the back yard is all about for me – gardening with kids and having a barbecue or a picnic. And if some of the strawberries and mint were grown in our own backyard – even better.
My kids are 13 and 8 and they love spending time outdoors. They seem to argue less outdoors and I’m not called upon to referee as much. They both love being immersed in nature and we are thankful we don’t have to go far. Our backyard is interesting enough to keep them entertained for a while. That’s why I’m always on the lookout interesting activities to get them outdoors. A nature scavenger hunt, a water gun fight, hide and seek, backyard slip and slide – there are many creative and fun ways to spend time outdoors. This week we are focusing on the backyard and gardening with kids is a great way to get their hands dirty.
Gardening with Kids
My 13 year-old built a fairy garden a few years ago. Yes, a fairy garden. My hubby and I made a miniature garden for the kids’ Lego Friends and that was a lot of hard work. Building a hut from balsa wood for the Lego Friends to hang out needs tools and patience and a lot of adult intervention. Sadly, we didn’t think about making the miniature garden weather-friendly and it wasn’t suitable to bring inside. The first hail storm and you can guess what happened. Then the kids made a fairy garden in a planter that could be brought indoors at the first sight of stormy clouds.
Growing A Pollinator-Friendly Garden
My younger one had a visit from folks at the “Scientist in the School” program a while back and they talked about bees and the trouble they are facing in Canada and Northern US. At her young age, she already understands that pollinators need our help. Happily, there are series of perennials that grow without the use of Neonicotinoids – a systemic pesticide. I am glad that bees and butterflies can enjoy these plants without fear of harming their species. Ask your local garden store or nursery for a list of plants suitable for pollinators. And the joy of having beautiful butterflies fluttering in the garden, that’s just a bonus!
Lastly, the kids wanted to grow some food in the backyard. So strawberries and raspberries here we come. Or perhaps Framberry strawberries, a delicious strawberry that has a sweet, raspberry flavour! Another fragrant addition to your garden – herbs. Rosemary, lemon verbena and mint have already found their place in my herb planter. And not just any mint but Mojito mint. I’m ready for summer! So what are you waiting for? Go out and tend your garden.
This post was originally written in collaboration with President’s Choice #PCGarden summer campaign. I’m glad to share our love of gardening with you through this gardening story.