perennial ideas for garden with kids

komi(z7/8 DC)March 20, 2004

I'm hoping people in this forum can help me come up with some fun (or at least appropriate) plant suggestions for a friend's yard. I don't have kids and don't have a yard (I have a stuffed balcony, windows and light stands) but I got the "job". lol. I usually hang out in the orchid forum, and poke my head in on gesneriads and mid-atlantic.

I don't know much about the yard yet - full sun, zone 7b (8 under the new zoning), probably not-so-great drainage. Kids (3-6) and dogs run around quite a bit, although their current plantings are apparently doing fine. From what I remember from a brief visit, the previous owner had planted some things like forsythia, bleeding heart, irises, daylilies etc. - they are 2-3 years old in their current spots and very spaced out. I'm guessing its the bigger spaces inbetween that she wants filled.

She's asking for perrenials - I think she has a plot for annuals/veggies/herbs. I'm thinking edibles, interesting seed pods, fragrance, hummingbird and butterfly attractors etc, but no thorns, spines, and nothing that looks edible but is poisonous. Am I missing some important considerations? She is not much of a gardener and very busy, but she will make sure that things are taken care of (as long as there aren't too many).

As a kid, I was only interested in peeling bark and acorns, and making things out of cut branches and things. These boys seem to be much more into watering and smelling flowers (don't know about the neighbors' kids). Totally alien concept to me.... ;)

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I would suggest a color wheel and a shopping trip all together. Maybe letting them pick what they like would make it more fun. There's so many choices.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 5:33PM
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too_many_pets(LI Z7)

I would definitely recommend at least one fruit-bearing shrub that will attract birds, like Viburnum or Serviceberry. Plant things that attract butterflies and hummers, like Milkweed, buddleia, etc. Some annuals. Things like Rudbeckia that will self-seed, to give the kids a treat next year when they see them popping up. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2004 at 11:38AM
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I teach four year olds, and we plant a garden each spring-- really adding to our perennials. We have lemon balm (but of course that's very invasive) and mints and rosemary because children need things that smell. Also we have fennel and rue so we can attract caterpillars (would have milkweed, but not enough sun). Lamb's ear is great for the texture (and do tell the children that it used to be used for toilet paper--they love this fact!) and Siberian iris, hosta, azalea, astible and lenten roses because children like the flowers. Our annuals are impatiens and begonias, and because children picked out some of the plants for this pretty shady garden, petunias and marigolds, which probably won't last too long, but look nice now, a week after we planted them. It's such fun to garden with children--they are excited everytime a new flower emerges.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2004 at 8:35PM
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komi(z7/8 DC)

Thanks for your input! We're adding a bit by bit to the garden. Warm lovers are going out this week.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2004 at 7:14PM
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mom3boys(z6 Estn WA)

My boys have each adopted "their" own plant. These are items that were here before they were so I'm not exactly sure how the possession thing came about. But they are very protective of their plants & only they can water their mass watering here.

The boys love to bring flowers to their teachers, bus drivers, & me thankfully. I have one who would give his bus driver flowers every day, sometimes with the roots & dirt still attached. If the driver was a sub, he'd throw the flowers down because the person wasn't "his" driver...these are the treasured memories!

We have a lot of lavender & mint because the boys love the smell & making things with the clippings. I let the boys design the garden with rocks & bricks for pathways & pretty much leave them in charge. They love this because it's something they can control & not have to worry about some adult telling them they're doing it the wrong way.

My eldest son is 10 & his favorite stores are nurseries. We have a favorite we visit every Mother's Day. It's okay to pass by the toy store, well, sort of, but go past a nursery? No way! Ã

Just find plants the kids like & go with the flow. If things aren't perfect, that's fine too because as I remind the boys, only God is perfect which actually takes a real load off if you think about it.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2004 at 11:46AM
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I've got a 4 year old neighbor that loves to come over and smell everything that is blooming. She's smelled flowers I never knew had scent- lol She loves my bird bath, checks it to make sure it is clean & has water. My own daughter (10), while she adopts plants, she doesn't really like to help. I've found butterfly bush is a favorite of everyone. You can sit on the bench & watch the butterflies, hummers & bees. We have mantis that like to hang out on them. I grow a perennial vine that is a favorite, it's called passion flower. While it doesn't have scent, it's an interesting looking flower all kids like to look at.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2004 at 7:34AM
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I have 3 kids and keep 2. I am very busy. My kids are 12,10 and 3. I keep a 1 and 2 year old. I have one dog and two cats and no fence. My yard is the bus stop. I have no time to fuss, but love the garden. Your friend sounds so much like me. My garden started last year has the following that made it through the drought and winter:
rosemary, texas sage, tricolor sage, lemon eucalyptus, comfrey, mugwort, lavendar, catnip, beebalm, lemon balm, mauve garlic chives, (an armadillo got my patchouli), feverfew. I planted several other things last year that I don't know if they will come back or not this year because we were so dry. Catnip, pennyroyal, st. john's wort, spearmint, jasmine, asian jasmine...they all thrived last season, died off and I haven't seen signs off life yet. Anyway, I have the babies out helping me in the garden all the time. Other than the pennyroyal, I recomend any of these plants. (Pennyroyal can be poisonous if eaten and my kids always munch while we plant.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Beauty Control

    Bookmark   February 24, 2006 at 3:10PM
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