When I was young, my daddy gave me a little corner of our huge garden to tend. I could do whatever I wanted with it... which usually was just play in the dirt and plant the occasional annual or two. Asparagus came up there also... it didn't matter, so long as it was mine. There was something special about having a place to call my very own.
Years later, I knew I wanted my own children to grow up being in the garden. As soon as my babies could go outside, I took them for walks to see what was growing, to hear the birds, see beetles and butterflies. As they grew, giggles could be heard as we played with the watering hose and filled up the bird bath. Digging and getting dirty was most enjoyable... and still is!
When my daughter was about 4, I asked her if she'd like her very own garden... she was so excited! Sunflowers, zinnias, daisies, daylilies and a butterfly bush have all grown there, in "Olivia's garden." She used to have a brightly colored birthday plate she loved so much. She ate her dinner on it almost every evening. Then one day, it slipped out of her little hands and broke. She was devastated... until I suggested we use it to decorate her garden. It's been out there a little over a year now, and she still points to it and tells people, "There's my favorite plate!"
My son has a garden also... although it's not as big as his sister's. It's a little triangular plot, about the same size mine used to be. We always put our pumpkins and squash there at the end of autumn, and by the next spring he usually has dozens of sprouting seedlings to take care of. This year has been so dry, it's nothing but dried up grass and dirt. Up until today, he's used it as a construction site for his tractors and backhoes... but today it's different.
Today, it's a rock garden. My daughter informed me of her plan this morning, and the three of us went scouting around the yard. A bit of a rock gatherer myself, I already had many stacked in borders around other beds. We hauled over some of those ~ others were found in daddy's plowed up vegetable garden. The finishing touch was a bit of hay placed around everything.
I realized I've been sad my son's garden didn't grow... even as he played in the dirt of the construction site, completely oblivious to my concerns. He did ask me why there weren't any pumpkins this year, but then said, "It's been too dry, huh mom?" Already knew the answer, and went on playing.
I stood back and watched as my two little ones showed me what it is to be happy, and make the most of whatever you're given. Next year my son's garden may go back to being a place where green things grow, but for now, we're all pretty happy with the way things are, because it's not all about what you do for a garden, it's about what it does for you... even if it is only a little patch of dirt.