Last in the series… and now Lightening Bolt says he really wants a window box. I think we can handle that. Amusingly, he also goes from hating the idea of a sunflower house to loving it, after I remind him that, as the sunflowers are alive, it isn’t “killing nature.”
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots written and illustrated by Sharon Lovejoy This is a book so lovingly written and illustrated that I found myself wanting to try everything suggested. Lovejoy gardened with her own child as he was growing up, and also opened a public children’s garden which has operated for a very long time now. She starts with 20 favorite plants for children, and goes on to garden plans, including the best pizza garden plan I’ve seen (calendula or marigold planted throughout to look like cheese and fend off predators! Plus a slice cut out for path for weeding access.), a fragrant moon garden, a sunflower house, a butterfly garden, a garden of giants, tiny water garden, window boxes, a maze, and more. Each garden comes with a plan, list of materials, instructions for planting and maintenance, and a two-page spread of what to do and look for on your daily walk through the garden. I have seen several of the garden types she talks about in other books, but hers seem to have the extra details that bring a garden up to extraordinary. I could find only two downsides to this book, particular to where I live. First, she’s writing from California (though I see from her website that she now lives in Maine), so her instructions will say things like “sow seeds when temperatures remain above 70”, which would be August for me, even though I know those plants can grow here. Second, I found only one garden plan that didn’t require 6-8 hours of sun a day, which is tough in our shady yard. Still, this is a book both (mostly) practical and beautiful in its own right, the one of all of these that I’d be most likely to want on my own shelf rather than fetching it from the library as needed. I also read her book Sunflower Houses, which is less garden plans and more child-friendly plants to put in the garden and fun things to do with them.