Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Growing in the Outdoors
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they encourage their children to connect with nature and dig in the dirt. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I have not gardened very much - really not at all.  Not since I was a child and really enjoyed finding earthworms.  I'm allergic to bees and I have Irish skin to boot.  The outdoors and I have shared an understanding - I won't try to mold you to my ways and nature won't try to kill me.  The house I bought with my hubby three and half years ago had sat neglected and empty for nearly a year.  The woman who had owned the house had a garden though.  How do I know?  I found this plaque in the "weeds" from my vantage point of the back deck.  There are raspberry plants all over my yard.  I have yet to have any because they attract all sorts of flying, stinging insects and then by the time I realize the flowers are gone and there might be fruit there - the deer have already feasted on them.

However, despite all of this I can name almost every plant in my yard.  I know all the flowering plants even without flowers.  I can identify and respect from a distance the poison ivy.  I know enough that I need to pop off the dead flower part to my rhododendron plant if I want the next season's flowers to grow in straight. I'm extremely protective over my hydrangea bushes - the only two things I planted and really wanted to have as a part of my yard.  Hubby accidentally dug them up and threw them in the brush pile (he is just as good a gardener as me) and I flipped out.  He did replant them and get me a third just in case they did not come back - which they did.  But after that it gets a little hazy and mostly if you are a plant unlucky enough to live in my yard, you had better be pretty good at taking care of yourself.

So what is it that I am teaching Little Man about the things we eat or enjoy in nature?  There is one thing I hope he will learn about nature from me - to enjoy its beauty.  That is something I am pretty decent at doing.  I love to take nature photographs.  I could fill every memory card I have with photographs of flowers, plants, landscapes and animals.  When I look at my hard-drive 80% is nature photographs and the rest is a smattering of other subjects.  So I would like to share with you some of my favorite nature photographs that showcase the beauty of the world we live in.

Flower in the butterfly garden at the University of Florida 2008

Nymph, tree butterfly, 2008

The morning sun from the road I lived on as a child 2008

An outlet on the island of Bermuda during our honeymoon 2008

Trumpet Vine, Delaware 2009

Lewes, Delaware 2009

Our backyard fall of 2010

Raspberry eating deer 2011

Cormorants 2011

Raspberry plants and weeds 2011

Kwanzan Cherry Tree Blossom 2011

Entrance to Three Sisters Spring, Florida 2011

All images are property of the artist and may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Get Out!Momma Jorje gives reasons she doesn't think she gets outside enough and asks for your suggestions on making time for the outdoors.
  • How Does Your Garden Grow?The ArtsyMama shares her love of nature photography.
  • We Go Outside — Amy at Peace 4 Parents describes her family's simple, experiential approach to encouraging appreciation of nature.
  • My Not-So-Green Thumb — Wolfmother confesses to her lack of gardening skills but expresses hope in learning alongside her son at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.
  • Enjoying Outdoors — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine describes how her children enjoy the nature.
  • Five Ideas to Encourage the Reluctant Junior Gardener — For the rare little ones who don't like to get their hands dirty, Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers tips for encouraging an early love of dirt (despite the mess).
  • Connecting to NatureMamapoekie shares how growing your own vegetable patch connects your child to nature and urges them to not take anything for granted.
  • The Farmer's Market Classroom — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction shares how the Farmer's Market has become her son's classroom.
  • Seeds — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment's hubby Ken shares his perspective on why gardening with their kiddos is so important . . . and enjoyable!
  • Toddlers in the Garden — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares her excitement as she continues to introduce her toddler and new baby to the joys of fresh veggies, straight from the garden.
  • Nature's Weave — MJ at Wander Wonder Discover explains how nature weaves its way into our lives naturally, magnetically, experientially, and spiritually.
  • Becoming Green — Kristina at Hey Red celebrates and nurtures her daughter's blossoming love of the outdoors.
  • Little Gardener — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis looks forward to introducing her baby girl to gardening and exploring home grown foods for the first time.
  • Cultivating Abundance — You can never be poor if you have a garden! Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on what she cultivates in her garden . . . and finds it's a lot more than seeds!
  • Growing in the Outdoors: Plants and People — Luschka at Diary of a First Child reflects on how she is growing while teaching her daughter to appreciate nature, the origins of food, and the many benefits of eating home-grown.
  • How Not to Grow — Anna at Wild Parenting discusses why growing vegetables fills her with fear.
  • Growing in the Outdoors — Lily at Witch Mom Blog talks about how connecting to the natural world is a matter of theology for her family and the ways that they do it.
  • A Garden Made of Straw — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares tips on making a straw bale garden.
  • The Tradition of Gardening — Carrie at Love Notes Mama reflects on the gifts that come with the tradition of gardening.
  • Gardening Smells Like Home — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon hopes that her son will associate home grown food and lovely flowers with home.
  • The New Normal — Patti at Jazzy Mama writes about how she hopes that growing vegetables in a big city will become totally normal for her children's generation.
  • Outside, With You — Amy at Anktangle writes a letter to her son, a snapshot of a moment in the garden together.
  • Farmer Boy — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how her son Joshua helps to grow and raise their family's food.
  • Growing Kids in the Garden — Lisa at Granola Catholic shares easy ways to get your kids involved in the garden.
  • Growing Food Without a Garden — Don't have a garden? "You can still grow food!" says Mrs Green of Little Green Blog. Whatever the size of your plot, she shows you how.
  • Growing Things — Liz at Garden Variety Mama shares her reasons for gardening with her kids, even though she has no idea what she's doing.
  • MomentsUK Mummy Blogger explains how the great outdoors provides a backdrop for her family to reconnect.
  • Condo Kid Turns Composter and Plastic Police — Jessica from Cloth Diapering Mama has discovered that her young son is a true earth lover despite living in a condo with no land to call their own.
  • Gardening with Baby — Sheila at A Gift Universe shows us how her garden and her son are growing.
  • Why to Choose Your Local Farmer's MarketNaturally Nena shares why she believes it's important to teach our children the value of local farmers.
  • Unfolding into Nature — At Crunchy-Chewy Mama, Jessica Claire shares her desire to cultivate a reverence for nature through gardening, buying local food, and just looking out the window.
  • Urban Gardening With Kids — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares her strategies for city gardening with little helpers — without a yard but with a whole lot of enthusiasm.
  • Mama Doesn't Garden — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life is glad her husband is there to instill the joys of gardening in their children, while all she has to do is sit back and eat homegrown tomato sandwiches.
  • Why We Make this Organic Garden Grow — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her reasons for gardening with her three small children.
  • 5 Ways to Help Your Baby Develop a Love of the Natural World — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama believes it's never too early to foster a love of the natural world in your little one.
  • April Showers Bring May PRODUCE — Erika at NaMammaSte discusses her plans for raising a little gardener.
  • Growing Outside — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers how to get her kids outside after weeks of spring rain.
  • Eating Healthier — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she learns to eat healthier and encourages her children to do the same.
  • The Beauty of Earth and Heavens — Inspired by Charlotte Mason, Erica at ChildOrganics discovers nature in her own front yard.
  • Seeing the Garden Through the Weeds — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro talks about the challenges of gardening with two small children.
  • Creating a Living Playhouse: Our Bean Teepee! — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares how her family creates a living playhouse "bean teepee" and includes tips of how to involve kids in gardening projects.
  • Grooming a Tree-Hugger: Introducing the Outdoors — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her planned strategies for making this spring and summer memorable and productive for her pre-toddler in the Outdoors.
  • Sowing Seeds of Life and Love — Suzannah at ShoutLaughLove celebrates the simple joys of baby chicks, community gardening, and a semi-charmed country life.
  • Experiencing Nature and Growing Plants Outdoors Without a Garden — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares some of her favorite ways her family discovered to fully experience nature wherever they lived.
  • Garden Day — Melissa at The New Mommy Files is thankful to be part of community of families, some of whom can even garden!
  • Teaching Garden Ettiquette to the Locusts — Tashmica from Mother Flippin' (guest posting at Natural Parents Network) allows her children to ravage her garden every year in the hopes of teaching them a greater lesson about how to treat the world.
  • Why I Play with Worms. — Megan of Megadoula, Megamom and Megatired shares why growing a garden and raising her children go hand in hand.


  1. Beautiful photos! When I got into photography, my focus quickly became the garden and other gardens. Then I found insects there, so that lead to macro photography, which I love!

  2. I love insects too. There are these gorgeous iridescent blue beetles that come to our home. I follow them around as well. 

  3. Your photos are breathtaking, Shannon! I particularly love your yard in the fall. Thanks for sharing the beauty of nature through your lens.

  4. That morning sun picture is gorgeous, and I love the one of the cherry tree blossom. I've always wanted to go to a city filled with cherry trees while they are in bloom, but so far that hasn't happened. At any rate, I dare say you'll also soon be sharing a love of photography with your little one :)

  5. Wow, those are all beautiful! I can't believe that last one.

    I'm impressed that you know the names of all your plants — I'm still working on that one. Maybe since I'm bad with faces, I'm also bad with leaves? ;)

  6. truly beautiful photos.
    my 4 year old DD thinks I know all the flowers,too. In fact I don't. must learn them before she grows up :)

  7. Thank you so much for the great compliments. I have a really great subject to work with. Little Man has his own toy camera that plays music when you depress the shutter. Neither of us are a big fan of that toy lol.
    Lauren and Isil if you just start with the ones you see everyday in your yard or neighborhood it isn't that hard to remember them. Just a little practice.

  8. I am also one to take more pictures of nature than of anything else, especially before my children. I'd go on vacation and my family would ask "where are the photos of all the people you were with?" Who cares about them? Nature is ever-present beauty.

    Maybe when LM is older, you two can engage in gardening adventures together, learning as you go. You could start with flowers and ease your way into veggies and stuff since flowers are sometimes less daunting :)

  9. Artsy, you are! :) The photos are beautiful. I love taking nature photos also. The background of your blog is like a step outside.

    I imagine LM is definitely soaking up the beauty with you. I like Amanda's idea about learning together as you go. That works well and creates a deeper relationship for all of you. Enjoy. :)

  10. Your photos are gorgeous! And I love the funny candour of your post. I have "Icelandic skin", so I empathize with your Irish skin ;)

  11. I love flower and nature photos - taking them and soaking in ones others take. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I agree your photos are awesome! Love your blog and am so glad that I found it!!


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