“Why try and explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?” This quote by Robert Breault sums up the simplicity and yet very necessary skill of tending a garden.
Why is it that something as primal as feeling soil between our fingers and planting for sustainability is no longer part of our daily existence? Growing a basic garden should be such a natural and simple thing – and be part of our DNA rather than seen as the rare talent of those thought to be born with “green thumbs”.
Yet our children seem to rarely come into contact with the elements of a garden that being sent home with the task of growing a simple bean seed is as exciting to them as seeing a rocket launch. Their school curriculum is so focused on academics and technology, and fueled by our pressure as parents to have our children excel in the classroom and on the sports field, that it doesn’t allow enough for the development of sustainable living skills.
Surely seeing something grow from a seed to a plant would stand our children in better stead when it comes to problem-solving and innovation, and help them become more aware of their surroundings – not to mention develop self-confidence and a higher EQ as a result of creating and sustaining life.
Well, Nicola and Pat at the Cherry Tomatoes Gardening Club have done just that. They offer great workshops in the form of Saturday morning gardening club sessions aimed at developing these skills in children aged three to 10.
Each class generally has about 10 to 12 kids and initially ran for two hours from 9am to 11am, with a structured lesson plan and theme. They have now been restructured to monthly three-hour workshops with seasonal themes. Each hour focuses on a different skill and your children can come and go after the first or second hour, or they can stay for the full three hours.
I’ve always kept these lessons very close to my chest to prevent them from becoming too popular and losing the magic they’ve cast upon my children and me. They’ve been part of my children’s Saturday morning routines since my firstborn turned three, come rain or shine, and my house is littered with the fruits of their labour at these lessons.
From mobiles made out of old leaves, twigs and dried flowers, to pine cones covered in peanut butter and seeds, rock animals, many potted herbs and flowers in makeshift vases and pictures created from leaves, feathers and broken egg shells, my home has become a gallery of natural art. But the most valuable things my kids have brought home after each lesson are confidence, new experiences, newly attained knowledge of nature and sweet friendships – and let’s not forget the mud-covered boots.
“I’ve always kept these lessons very close to my chest to prevent them from becoming too popular and losing the magic they’ve cast upon my children and me.”
I now feel that it is my duty to spread awareness of these courses and allow other parents to watch their children delight in the magic of gardens and contribute to the development of better individuals for society. I cannot hold back anymore for my own selfish reasons, as this would truly go against my ethos of #sharingiscaring and #empoweredmommy which allows me to be a good parent.
The workshops that my kids attend are set within the gorgeous organic fruit and veggie garden at the REEA foundation in Delta Park alongside the river, frequented by those who enjoy leisurely Saturday morning walks, with or without dogs, cycling or horse-riding lessons at the stables on site.
After gardening on Saturday, my family routine includes pancakes and ice cream at the Delta Café, which has also undergone major renovations and is a mere stone’s throw away from the gardens. So, apart from growing plants, my kids are growing experiences, memories and traditions which is something that no TV show or iPad can replace.
For more information, go and check out them out on Facebook at Cherry Tomatoes Gardening Club or email firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for their courses. Make sure to tell them that Amanda sent you!