I recently gave Illustrated copies of A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Lewis Stevenson to my grandchildren. I like that the title reflects the name of this blog. How wonderful to be surrounded by a garden of poems. My mother, who was a poet, read these poems and others to my sister and me. We read them often committing some to memory effortlessly. The visual connection of words with the gardens around us or in our imagination, memory or photographs creates a wealth of images and ideas that stay with us.
My mother wrote a collection of Grandma Rhymes for children. These two short poems are about outdoor experiences.
The Bumble Bee
One day while I was skipping by the sea,
I met a teary bumblebee,
Who said, "The reason that I’m sad
Is that the children think I’m mad,
When I am really meek and mild,
And would not harm a single child"
At noon while gazing at the sky,
I glimpsed a single butterfly,
Who murmured in a quiet moan,
"Why must such beauty fly alone."
Examples of stories for children are the Pooh and Peter Rabbit books (also loved by adults). Both are beautifully illustrated with drawings of outdoor adventures in woods and gardens. Learning about adventures in the out-of-doors helps make being there natural. My family lived in an old rambling half a house when we were young. I remember spending hours exploring the vacant lot behind the house and playing in the overgrown yard. I am sure this led to my eventual love of gardens.
Here are some photographs of children in gardens. Each photo tells a story of discovery.