Monday, February 22, 2016

"Talking Irises" TALL BEARDED IRISES--GARDENING IS NO RESPECTER OF AGE: "Garden Inspiration for the Young Gardener in Your Life"

By Susanne Holland Spicker

'NAPLES' Johnson 2001
One of my first recollections as a child was my grandmother's flower garden. I still remember the array of colors, the intoxicating fragrance and its sheer beauty. I credit her for planting the seed resulting in my passion for flowers and gardening.

   My Grandmother's flower garden in 1970, taken with my first camera--
a little Kodak Instamatic. How I wish I could turn the time back and get a 
picture of it today with a modern digital camera. It was beautiful! 

It's no coincidence she had a mother and grandmother who shared their love of gardening with her. It is easy to stimulate a child's interest when they see you having fun and enthusiastically immersing yourself in an activity you are passionate about.  
'SWEET MUSETTE' Schreiner 1986

Later, my parents continued that legacy--one that I hope I have passed on to my children and grandchildren. 

 'MIDNIGHT REVELRY' Schreiner 2005--My daughter Emily
hoosing an iris she wants to plant in her own garden

Tall bearded irises were among my family's favorite flowers. I think my story is not unlike many: parents and grandparents helping to cultivate the love of plants of all kinds. Gardening is an activity that is no respecter of age--the very young to the very old can participate.
'PHOTOGENIC' Ghio 2006  'ARISTOCRACY' Keppel 2006

My granddaughters Eliza and Paige in the garden picking flowers to make arrangements. 

Some interesting facts about gardening and what it teaches:

  • Patience. Waiting for plants to grow and then bloom takes time, sometimes more than a year
  • Creativity. Planning a garden with a color scheme or a bed with companion plants encourages creativity
  • Responsibility. Planting, weeding, watering and general care takes commitment
  • A sense of accomplishment. Seeing a plant grow from a seed or rhizome to fruition gives a feeling of success
  • Family devotion. When we spend quality time together by participating in a common interest, we foster love and respect
'QUEEN IN CALICO' Gibson 1980
'MARY FRANCES' Gaulter 1973

Eliza has an interest in irises. She helps water, weed and deadhead the blooms. 
                               This year she's going to start planting. 
"Children who first encounter irises in childhood have an uncanny way of growing up to be lovers of all things iris--to grow them and possibly even hybridizing them." (Pat Otterness, "Kid's Eye View," TALL TALK, Spring 2012)

'SKYHOOKS' Osborn 1980
"Research has even found that kids involved with gardening and the outdoors perform better in school and have greater confidence. We can empower our youth by involving them in all aspects of gardening." ("Make Gardening A Family Affair")

'THEATER' Keppel 1981
The American Iris Society (AIS) has a youth program. It encourages interest in irises, with emphasis on growing, and possibly hybridizing irises for our young gardeners. For more information on this program, go to AIS Youth Program.

'DREAM TEAM' Johnson 2007
In the words of Cheryl Deaton, "I hope everyone who has the opportunity to interact with our youth...will take a moment to...encourage their interests in irises. They are...the future of The American Iris Society." (IRISES "Youth View" Summer 2014)

'RINGO' Shoop 1979
Eliza has enjoyed the flower garden since she was a two year-old. Now ten,
she, with other young gardeners, may be the future of the American Iris Society
In summary, encouraging children and youth to play an active role in gardening, specifically irises--by planning an iris bed, choosing the rhizomes, planting, caring for, harvesting the flowers, and arranging the blooms or even hybridizing them--makes for an enjoyable and productive hobby.  As adults, we can plant a seed that can enhance their lives on many levels.


If you have experience involving or encouraging youth to garden, I'd love to hear what you've done! 

For more information on kids in the garden here are some excellent links:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...