Planting & Gardening

My TOP FOUR Recommended Planting & Gardening:

A Child's Garden : Enchanting Outdoor Spaces for Children and Parents
by Molly Dannenmaier
"A Child's Garden is an excellent guide for parents wishing to create natural spaces in the garden where their children can openly play and explore. Stepping beyond the traditional ideas of building a treehouse or planting a vegetable garden, the authors include 60 unique ways to tailor a landscape to nurture a child's sense of enchantment and wonder. For instance, many children like to hide, and the book includes ideas for building natural caves out of woven willow branches, climbing vines, or weeping shrubs. For parents wanting to plant a good tree for climbing, this guide knowledgeably recommends the fast-growing and sturdy Norway maple as one of the best. It's filled with such information throughout its nine sections on water, creatures, refuges, dirt, heights, movement, make-believe, nurturing, and learning. Messages on safety are wisely included, along with an excellent list of resources covering everything from buying butterfly houses to visiting selected children's gardens. Through its many color photographs and warm, wise text, A Child's Garden will draw parents into their children's timeless, carefree world and perhaps back to a time when they themselves explored streams, played in the sand, studied bugs, and roamed without agenda."--Karen Karleski 
"Our whole family has enjoyed reading this book to get ideas for our Sunflower/Fairy Garden!! Every section offers wonderful ideas that we would never have thought of to add...What Fun our Magical Garden will be thanks to, A Child's Garden : Enchanting Outdoor Spaces for Children and Parents! One section offers the idea of planting different berries around the yard so the children can snack as they play! I have given this book to our landscaper to see what ideas he has for adding water to the garden...Already he has suggested using a water pump to circulate water in order to make a small trickling brook for our boys to sail their boats on! I also got the idea to make a willow archway that will be child size for the children to climb through! We are so very excited to spend this summer creating and adding to our Enchanted Fairy Garden!"

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
"A comforting, richly illustrated story about a birthday surprise. An urban African-American girl and her father buy plants, potting soil, and a window box at the supermarket, ride the bus to their apartment, and put together a colorful gift for the child's mother. Rhyming verse carries the brief story, while wonderful, warm, full-color illustrations present scenes from novel angles, and depict a loving family with a sense of intimacy, sincerity, and joy. A reassuring choice for reading aloud."--Barbara Peklo Abrahams, Oneida City Schools, Manlius, NY 
"We have a two-year-old daughter who picks this book out every day and every night to read. The illustrations are breathtaking. The story is simple but relevant; we follow every detail as the father and daughter walk the city street and ride the bus. We love to watch the daughter planting the flowers with her father; the mother coming home from school to see her birthday surprise. I have no doubt that this book will be with us for another generation or more (at least in our house). Thank you to the two wonderful artists who created such a special book."

Children's Wheelbarrow 2 to 12 yrs. &  up "Most popular!"
"This little wheelbarrow is the tool of choice for hauling flowers, grass clippings, toys, and other treasures. Not only does it look like a real wheelbarrow, it is a real wheelbarrow, with a red steel tray, a black triangular steel undercarriage, and finished hardwood handles..."

Butterfly Garden activity by Insect Lore 4 and up "Most popular!"
"Witness the miracle of live butterfly metamorphosis first hand. Watch caterpillars mature, change into chrysalides, emerge into butterflies, then release them. The kit includes a butterfly house, a mail-away certificate for live caterpillars, instructions and more!" Editorial Review 
"Did you know that painted ladies (the butterflies, that is) taste with their feet and have 10,000 eyes? You and your kids will be fascinated by all you learn about these beautiful creatures with the Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore. The kit comes with a relatively easy-to-assemble observation chamber; supplies for feeding the butterflies (you provide only sugar and water); an informative booklet of clear instructions and butterfly facts; and a certificate for three to five free painted lady caterpillars. The metamorphosis from larva to butterfly takes about three weeks from when you receive the caterpillar larvae (which arrive in a small container with all the nutrients they need). Your children can watch the larvae increase dramatically in size, form chrysalides, and finally emerge into full-fledged painted ladies (it's suggested that they release the butterflies after a few days of observation). This would make a wonderful activity for families with kids of any age, but younger children will need help assembling the observation chamber and reading the instruction booklet. (Note: The manufacturer recommends that butterflies should not be set free in temperatures lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.)" --Rachel Radway