Adventures in Other Gardens, Part 1

My three boys love to wander through the Enabling Gardens in Altoona. These gardens are designed, planted, and maintained by Iowa State Master Gardeners. Our community is blessed to have such a beautiful space. Whenever we visit, the boys first check out the garden with the miniature furniture and ornery gnomes (because they’re always moving); it’s Jude’s mission to create such a garden next year. Then we make our way to the Children’s Garden where they play the conga drums and the marimbas, and they balance themselves on a path made of wooden blocks. There’s a sand pit to get dirty in, and a life-sized stick tee pee.

Tonight, the Master Gardeners sponsored a Children’s Art night. I invited two friends, Grandma, and my sister and her two kids to join us. We had a blast! There were so many amazing projects for the kids:

  1. Chia heads: The boys stuffed pantyhose with grass seed and dirt. Then they picked out googly eyes, and the gardeners tied a nose. Wild hairdos to come!
  2. Handmade flowers: Hands were traced, decorated, and cut out. The fingers were curled, and the hands were taped to a straw. These flowers are now in a vase on my kitchen table.
  3. Pressed flower sun catchers: Leaves of all shapes and textures, and red, orange, yellow, and pink petals were pressed onto a sheet of sticky paper. The boys made beautiful patterns before another clear sheet was placed on top. These will hang in their bedroom windows.
  4. Wildflower arranging: Each child selected a vase, decorated with a strip of fun patterned duct tape. Then they picked flowers and grasses from buckets. Master gardeners helped them arrange a masterpiece of natural beauty!
  5. Butterfly collage: Cut-outs of wings, heads, and bodies – with many colorful patterns – were pasted onto a page and matted. Presto! A work of art for a bedroom wall.
  6. Wooden animals: A master gardener made and donated playful, creative wood statues of animals and birdhouses for the kids to paint. Wow! Rex and Jude selected a cat with toothpick whiskers. Morris selected a bunny with a heart. These will decorate each boy’s garden. 

We left with a wonderful collection of art, each piece special because they were handmade by the boys. Thank you Master Gardeners!

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