Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gardening Book Review

Are you planting a garden at your house or school? We are. put it best: 
Gardening builds an understanding of and respect for nature and our environment. It teaches our children to nurture and care for other living things while developing patience. A edible garden can motivate a child to eat and love fruits and vegetables.  A garden, no matter how small can provide opportunity for hands on learning, inquiry, observation and experimentation. It can promote physical activity and quality outdoor experiences. 

You do not have to plant a large garden to harness the benefits of outdoor learning.

A small toddler garden like this super cute one from The Imagination Tree will provide hours and seasons of dirt learning.

Or a small pot with a few sensory plants such as herbs like Rosemary and Mint.

Small or large, here are a few books that have inspired us, I hope they inspire you too. Here are some reviews from Barefoot Books.

Who's in the Garden (ages 1-4)
In this delightful peek-a-boo book, children are invited to look through the holes on every other page to answer the repeating refrain, “Who’s coming to see how my garden grows?” The energetic, rhyming text introduces all sorts of creatures that are busy in the garden.

Grandpa's Garden ages (3-7 years)
This beautifully told story follows Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!

Kids Garden (ages 8 and up)
Get outside and grow with some child-friendly, gardening fun! Kids’ Garden includes forty activities and games and an eight-page booklet that contains information on gardening tools, year-round plant care and garden safety. These step-by-step instructions are enhanced by colorful collage artwork on each double-sided card and they create a fun and easy way for budding green-thumbs to plant, investigate, learn and experiment.

If you are interested in these or any other Barefoot Books, please contact me via My Marketplace, comment here, or Butterfly Book Nook FB page.

Happy Reading.

How does your garden grow?

There are no silver bells in my garden, but it was my late Nana who sang that rhyme and passed her love for gardening to me. Thanks Nana.

Or perhaps it was that one time, some herby lady at an art show told my Mom (the woman that quite literally has killed a fake plant...I love you Mom!) that she was the one with the green thumb, and I wasn't. Perhaps my avid gardening is a way to prove to that lady that her "intuition" was wrong. Or perhaps she was right and I just have to work harder at the thing I love than if I was a natural green thumb. Perhaps I will never know.

What I do know is that as soon as I moved into this house with my husband, I planted plants. In. The. Ground. It was my way of establishing roots and it felt soo good. I had been carrying plants around with me in pots for years and they never seemed to make it - except for my precious jade.

I started a perennial butterfly garden 4 years ago and yes, it is "growing butterflies". In those years, I have learned that native and Florida friendly plants in the ground are my friend, and if they don't make it, they were not meant to be. Since my front garden is now surviving on it's own with little help from me, I decided to take on a new challenge and jump into vegetable gardening this year. By jump into, I mean, this is not one or two tomato plants! And by this year I mean, I have been talking about it, asking friends questions, and planning my attack in detail over the past year. To my own defense, I could not plant a thing last year due to our major renovation project and my poor butterfly garden had been horribly trampled and overgrown when we moved back in. Expanding into vegetable gardening drove me crazy so I planned, and planned, and pinned and pinned.

Into the veggie deep end we go!!!

I convinced my husband to build 4 of these raised beds. I was sure that it would be way too much space, but alas, I have easily over filled them.

He also shoveled the soil mix into the beds for me! Boy, was it a lot of soil. Thanks Hubby.

Just like grocery shopping, I advise you to go veggie plant shopping on a full tummy. I think I was hungry, because we got A. Lot. of veggies. 4 strawberries, thyme, oregano, 3 parsley. Tons of sweet Georgia onions, carrot seeds and asparagus (that's another story). 3 basil, 3 cherry tomatoes, 2 roma, 3 celebrity, 3 more basil, 4 green bell peppers, 2 red bell, white eggplant, purple eggplant and 3 cucumbers. Oh, I put pea seeds out too. Rosemary, mint, and lavender are mixed into the butterfly garden. If all these tomatoes actually show up, I am going to need to learn how to can.

This year I am determined to have sunflowers!! Every year something goes wrong while germinating, or planting, or watering or growing. This time, we sowed them straight into the soil, everywhere! All we can do now is water and hope.

Now, how did I do all this with a toddler you may ask.

We had lots for her to help with...



One shovel full plus one handful. 


Strawberries!! We must have strawberries!!

Dig Dig dig.

Sprinkle seeds, Sprinkle seeds. Sprinkle more seeds.  

Water water water.

Happy Gardening

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Earth Day Book review

Spring has sprung and Earth Day (April 22) is just around the corner.  We have started reading a few of the many, very beautiful books from Barefoot Books. Stories about Mother Earth and living in harmony with the natural world. Here are a few of our favorites. You can find these wonderful books at Butterfly Book Nook.

My Mama Earth. (ages 1-7)
These gorgeous pages paint a picture of Mama Earth's touch on each day. It is a simple story of the magnificent aspects of nature. The lyrics are imaginative and rhythmic and the youngest tots on up to adults will enjoy reading and reciting. "My Mama wakes the eastern sun, and weaves her magic till the day's done"

Whole World (ages 3-7)
A book of the song you likely grew up singing. Again this book has beautiful high quality art on every page. My favorite part is that it alternated "He's got the whole world in His hands" with "She's got the whole world in Her hands"  There are eco-tips in this edition and a singalong CD too.

Earth Tales ages (5-11)
The seven folk tales illustrate how different cultures around the world set out to live in harmony with the natural world. These stories are reminiscent of ones that would be told throughout generations around a fire. The stories are beautifully written and elaborate for the older child, but a younger one would also enjoy being read to. Each of the tales is followed by a hands-on activity that promotes green living and reinforces the eco-messages of the stories. 

The Sun Mother - Australia
Why the Sky is Far away - Nigeria
She Who Is Alone - American Southwest
Grumpy Gecko- Bali
The Magic Garden - Kazakhstan
Amrita's Tree - India
Stink Water- Wales

My favorite excerpts from The Sun Mother.
The Great Spirit spoke again. "It is time you wake the Earth." The Sun Mother smiled a sunbeam smile, and the Earth was warmed.
 When the Sun Mother walked out into the world again, she was leading a kaleidoscope of butterflies behind her. The insects fluttered from bush to bush and the world was a dance of shimmering color.
"Look around you  - this is the place you belong to. All around you are your family: the land, the wind, and the waters, the plants and the animals. You are all part of the same spirit..."

If you are interested in these or other Barefoot Books please contact me via FB page Butterfly Book Nook or check out my marketplace with Barefoot Books

Happy Reading