Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, February 18, 2010

so many ways within the waterfall for water to fall.




Dear Dave,

You've asked your gardenblogging friends "How do you add magic to the garden?" I've given this a great deal of thought and wanted to be able to respond with more then the glib comment I originally gave you. It's true, we know immediately when we are in a magical space. Perhaps it's the lighting as it falls through the leaves of a tree or the paths that lead us around corners, but for me...it's more about our ability to suspend the concrete mind and go into our imaginations.


As a young child, with three sisters living in a small house ...space was at a premium. I found refuge and quiet amidst the noise and bustle under the coffee table! I would crawl under there with my pillow and from that little clubhouse for one would be magically transported to Captain Kangaroo's with Bunny Rabbit and Grandfather Clock! Later, I would discover books and the magic carpet ride to even more adventures.

But, the most powerful of all magical places for me as a child were outdoor spaces.

A backyard, a bower of trees or a woodland garden. One of my earliest memories is of the sights, sounds and sensations of making mud pies in my grandmother's front yard... Side by side, my big sister and I dug the dirt, added the water and shaped our mud pies. Pat, pat, pat went our little hands...dirt and muddy water splashing us both. It's a sweet and joyful memory for me.



When we are outdoors all the senses are engaged...We see the changing colors. We feel the air as it blows across our face. We feel the sun warming our skin. We feel the grass beneath our feet and the soft velvet texture of flower petals. We can hear the birds singing. We can smell the fresh soil and the scent of flowers. We experience the world.

I am so very glad you want your daughters to be able to find magic. You are a wise father. We live in a world were urban and suburban children are deprived of mud pie making memories. Where terms like Nature Deficit Disorder are entering the conversation. Where children have schedules as busy as their parents'. We want our children to be educated, to get in the right schools, to be capable decision makers and to be successful. But, right now, in those precious few years of early childhood, their imaginations are taking shape...They can delight in the feel of mud on their hands, they can imagine dogs and puppies in clouds and they can see fairies dancing amidst the flowers.

So Dave, continue what you're doing, read to them, write poems with them, take them for adventures, introduce them to the forests and woods, let them lay in the grass and watch the clouds, give them spaces to explore and hide, let them make mud pies and get dirty...because it is those experiences that will allow them to find the magic in the everyday and in any garden they visit.

Gail


for more on magic from Dave/Home Garden go here

quote from john thompson

26 comments:

  1. What a nice post with great memories of your blissful place. Under the coffee table I am sure Mr. Green Jean's was somewhere, lol. It's funny, this past weekend we had kids on gas operated vehicles running up and down our streets in the neighborhood. Our three girls were in the way back cutting tree limbs and raking to build a fort. Our 11 year old told her Dad, "Daddy, it's like a playground back there!" We are cherishing that statement..

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  2. What fond memories this post has stirred up. I remember climbing the trees in our garden. Sitting up there watching the clouds drift by, the neighbors puttering in their gardens... Trees are to this day very dear to me. They are magical to me.

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  3. Such a beautiful post, Gail! Like Lisa and Darla, this has stirred memories in me as well. I spent many hours swinging in an old swing hanging from an old maple tree, lost in my daydreams. I named the three oak trees in our front yard "The Three Sisters" after some mystery book I had read and imagined treasure buried beneath. And every summer I made "dolls" out of hollyhocks. I think this is one of the main reasons I love gardening--it's restored that magical childlike wonder in me each time I step out into the garden. When the grandkids come over and we go searching for toads and caterpillars, I feel even more a part of the magic.

    Hope you have a delightful and magical day, Gail!

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  4. Hi Gail, my niece and nephew also absolutely loved making tents when they stayed with us! As a child, I was outside a LOT, not only during summer vacations but also in winter. At the time, my mom mostly just grew vegetables, so I didn't have a magical garden in which to play, but I grew up in a rural area and often played in the woods and fields. My favorite place was a tree fort the older kids used later at night, which was vacant during the day. We also grabbed branches and jumped off the platform like Tarzan. No idea what kind of tree those were except they weren't willow, the tree that really would have been best suited for that! That area is all subdivisions now.

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  5. Nice post Gail! Magic is a feeling, kind of a sense of everything at once in the garden. I remember as a kid running through the woods and making up adventures with friends. I hope my kids get to experience their own sort of magic outdoors. Too many kids today sit indoors stuck to electronics rather than enjoying life. I think we'll avoid that!

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  6. Lovely post, Gail. I think every garden weaves its own magic, and it's up to the visitor--and the gardener--to discover that magic and use it to succour their souls. (sigh. Looking at the many feet of snow in my garden, it doesn't seem possible that I'll ever even SEE the magic again. Well, not for a while, anyway...)

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  7. What a great post, Gail. It made me think about when I was young and how I loved being outside and still do. Kids play a lot of Xbox these days. I have to just kick my boys out the door sometimes to go outside. Once they are outside they usually stay out all day and have a great time. It is just getting them out the door. Enjoyed your post ...

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  8. Hi Gail. That was really a lovely post. I remember my Grandmother's garden as magical. Really, it was quite ordinary but it had so many individual elements that appealed to children. A gnarled old apple tree we sat under and ate apples; an old chicken coop (cleaned out) with a space for us to have a club house; grassy paths thru the garden and shrubbery; a nice grape arbor and walnut tree we loved eating from; a flat area for croquet, and a woodlot for hiding and exploring. Wonderful memories.
    Marnie

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  9. I love this post! I feel so privelaged to have grown up in sucha rural setting. I lived in the woods for years with just a few neighbors. We were in a tiny cabin near Pine Creek. We played there watching the salmon run, picking wild flowers, building forts and using our imagination. We later moved into a small town of about 400 so the outdoor fun never stopped!

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  10. Oh Gail,

    You brought back many wonderful childhood memories, which also include Captain Kangaroo :^) I was always outdoors as a child and believed that fairies lived in my garden.

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  11. Beautifully written, Gail. When my daughter turned 10, we left the big city behind so finding nature was as easy as walking out the front door. It's a wonderful thing for kids to have some freedom in the great outdoors.

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  12. Beautiful, Gail! :)

    P.S. to Dave: keep in mind the cardboard box principle--how much fun and imagination can be had and used by kids with a simple cardboard box. Weeping trees can become rooms, random fallen logs can be alligators waiting in the "swamp"--or a bridge to get across it, depending on the day. Sometimes the best things to give a child is possibilities...

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  13. Gail What a wonderful post. I love the waterfall photo and the trees.

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  14. So inspiring! I declare that my children will not suffer from "Nature Deficit Disorder." I love my outdoor memories from childhood- it's important to remember that they need those memories just as I did. I just posted on the power of scent to evoke memory - check it out if you get a chance. Thanks!

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  15. Nice Posting of a Magical place. Love the snowman....

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  16. Wonderful post Gail. I think magic in the garden is a combination of beauty and love. :)

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  17. PS That's about the cutest snowman I've ever seen.

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  18. A lovely post, Gail! You are absolutely right to emphasize letting children learn about and enjoy nature by just playing in it and being a part of it.

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  19. Dearest Gail, I can't explain {tears running down cheeks} just how I feel from reading such a wonderful post. I did most all the things you mentioned as a child.
    As I've gotten older my heart wants to go back to that time. {I know I can't but it's nice to remember.}
    The freedom we feel being outside, nothing can compare.
    Bless you, my friend.

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  20. Sweetbay and Skeeter, The snowman is arrayed in plants from the garden...her eyes are juniper berries and her mouth is a bit of chard! She's wearing a kale hat with seedhead feathers! I am glad you like her!

    gail

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  21. Beautifully written, Gail. What I like most is how much I agree with it. :) My hubby and I have spent the greater part of a decade making sure our kids had these opportunities just as we were lucky to have ask kids. I heard recently that peaceful child-play is how children develop a sense of self. Love your photos too.

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  22. Gail — I've been catching up on your posts. Always lots to look at and chew on, but this one was especially lovely. And I am also taking an "archive garden vacation" while we wait for some bare ground to appear. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  23. A lovely post, Gail ~ I enjoyed reading about your childhood memories. These are the things that we remember so many years later. We can recall the feel of the sun on our faces, the colours and the sounds.

    I hope you are recovering well from your surgery. All the best!

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  24. Sweet post, Gail! I don't know how I missed it. Great memories - my favorite growing-up memories also include being outdoors... in special places... ;-) Your special comments to Dave were so very thoughtful. Enjoy your weekend!

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  25. This is just the sweetest of posts, dear Gail. The opening shot of the waterfall we witnesses together is the epitome of magic. As is your tale of finding your own magic in a crowded childhood. I agree completely that Dave is doing the right things, and believe he will continue to do them. He gets it. Love live mud pies! :-)
    Frances

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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