Gardening for Children's Imagination

5 years ago

They aren’t here yet.  But they will be.  The grandchildren, I mean.  Already I can hear them: their sweet laughter, their calling.  “Nonni, come into the garden!  Let’s play!”  Okay then.


I decided to get the garden ready.  You better have portals to fairyland established if you wish to entertain Those Able To Go There.  You should have a place where action figures can launch themselves so that they can save the world.  There should be a roving elf, who is in a different place each time they come.  And crystals in the dry stream bed?  Obligatory!


First we made a dry stream bed out of rocks, and I’ve been collecting rocks from our travels.  There are rocks from King Arthur’s castle at Tintagel in Cornwall, England.  There are rocks from the Koenigsee, Germany, where one can see the alps and imagine knights on horseback defending the realm.  There’s rocks from the North Cascades mountains, where Hudson’s Bay mountain men trapped and explored.  There’s one from the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho, where I got swept under a waterfall and lived to tell.  Magic?  Yessiree.

In case they want to go mining for crystals, I brought back bags from the gift shop of the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, MT.  Pink and purple crystals that they can find and hold up to me and say, “Lookit what I found, Nonni!”  “That means you get three wishes!” I will say.  It will be taken home to live on their bookshelf.  Formulating lifelong wishes with it in the dim glow of their nightlight, who knows what might come true?

There are special flat rocks there in case we are called to have tea parties some soft summer day.  We can learn about hospitality and being kind.  We’ll sit on the rocks with our teddy bears and talk about who we might want to have visit us and what we will share with them. 


Of course there is a cliff built into the riverbank if some action figures need to jump off it, swim down the river and save the world.  We can learn about bravery, bullying, and fears and what we can to do banish them from our kingdom.  What the word integrity might mean.

There’s a stump from a loved birch tree that one can stand on and be transported into lands I’ve never even imagined.  I’ll let them tell me where, who inhabits it, and what the rules are.  If any.

There’s daffodil bulbs planted, because in their bells are where the fairies live.  Don’t believe me?  I have it on the best authority.  A kindergarten boy I knew once told me.  We have lily of the valley too, because those ring.  Ears that can hear Santa’s sleigh bells can certainly hear white coral bells.

The two gnarly apple trees in the backyard have faces pounded into them.  The moss even now is growing around them. One is an Old Man of the Woods who smiles knowingly, and the other is an Enchantress.  The little children who live next door love to look at them and point them out every time they come over.


I can’t wait for the grandchildren to come over too.  It will be awhile.  We only found out recently they are coming.  Here’s a picture of the moment.  A bit blurry, because Father-To-Be who took the picture was jumping around.  The Mother-To-Be is in the middle of the couch.  The due date is November.

The fairies told me they are excited too.

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