Thursday, June 12, 2008

Child's Garden "Room"

"Garden rooms" are all the rage in city lots, suburban yards and my rural back yard too. We like to make destination spots, complete with reading nooks on teak benches and focal points in burbling fountains. But before I ever read a garden magazine or took a tour of Butchart Gardens with my book club, my mom taught me how to make a room of my own in the great outdoors.

You can make this fun hiding spot for your children this summer.

You will need:

Two or three sampler packets of sunflower seeds. I like to mix it up: Mammoth Russian for the classic eight- to 10-foot-tall yellow sunflower with a brown-black center, closely alternated with Evening Sun for variations in russet, red, brown and yellow, also eight to 10 feet tall. The height range should be close if you mix up the varieties.

Two or three sampler packets of annual morning glory vines. Go crazy with color if you want, but blue is our favorite.

A plot of dirt that's tilled or weeded and loosened with a rake. If you want to use a grassy area, that'll work, as long as you don't mow it once the seedlings start coming up!

Mark out a square, rectangle or other shape (creativity counts!). Let your little ones help with the shape.

Next divide up your seeds so you have an equal number of each type and variety of seed for each "wall" of the room.

Time to plant!

Alternate varieties if you have more than one. The Mammoth Russian is a single-stalk variety, and the Evening Sun has multiple stalks, so this helps fill in the lower areas of the "walls."

Now, the only tricky part of this whole procedure is to make sure that you plant them close enough together to form a wall, but not so close that they don't get big and strong.

We have found that four to five inches apart works pretty well.

Important! In each hole or spot in the row that you plant a sunflower seed, place two morning glory seeds in that same spot. Right alongside.

Check your children's placement of seeds... this will be vital to the roof of the house.

After all the seeds are lined up in the shape of your walls, make sure you left a hole on at least one side for a door!

Finally, cover the seeds with soil, water well, and watch them grow.

As the morning glory vines start, twine them up the stalk of their sunflower pals. After about six weeks you should be able to string a network of twine between the sunflower heads.

The morning glories will twine along the string ceiling and form a beautiful blue canopy for the sunflower house.

I will post pictures of my children's sunflower room as soon as the seedlings poke their heads up.

Hope you have fun with this project. And tell us your kid gardening tips!


Chickie Momma said...

That is such an awesome idea - I really had never heard of it. I'm dreaming about sitting in a room made of flowers... ahhhh... the tranquility. Oh, the bees... hehehe!

I also have a really hard time picturing myself PLANTING morning glories! They are all over the place around here and annoy the person who mows the grass a lot! Maybe - I could just use the ones that are already laying there, and just plant sunflowers in the middle of it all? Heyyy, I'm on to something here...

farm suite said...

You are ALWAYS on to something :)

But, LEX, you gotta use the annual morning glories. MUCH different than the wild ones. They don't take over, and they don't come back next year. Also their flowers are prettier.

Grumpy Momma said...

What a great idea!
My thumb is brown so I'm looking forward to seeing the pics...

Love this blog, by the way..

found it via farm suite, found via Derfwad Manor..