Gardeners also love summer camps. Here are some ideas and activities to get you started.
MOST GARDENERS I know have an almost childish curiosity. What if, in the midst of this very adult reset in which we collectively navigate, we give ourselves permission to unwind, relax and rediscover the wonder.
Welcome to summer camp – garden style. Taking a page of past experiences – and skipping the swim test and the homesickness part – I came up with a list of camp-inspired ideas and activities to help you regain the spirit of the summer. Invite children to play and enjoy their natural embrace on these barefoot adventure days.
Are you wondering where to start? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Keep an album
Whether you’re recording observations in a garden journal, jotting down notes on a calendar, or just using your phone that thinks it’s a camera to keep a visual journal, a scrapbook is an easy way to document the highlights of the day. season and keep your favorites. moments. Follow the height of the sunflowers. Keep a count of tomatoes (with tasting notes). I plan to keep a list of all the birds that visit my garden this summer. Take pictures every week to follow the progress of your plantings. Nothing triggers memory like a snapshot. Well, actually, perfume is the most direct line of memory, but no one has been able to replicate the smell of sweet peas, so a photo will have to do the trick.
Start a collection
Ours is a house that loves oysters. A spot in the garden mulched with (carefully cleaned) oyster shells makes an original garden statement, and those leftover shelling and feasting always puts a smile on my face. On a more practical note, I collect seed packets and plant labels year after year, rather casually storing them in a container on my potting table. It’s far from a disciplined garden journal, but it’s a surprisingly easy way to remember this favorite garden marigold (‘Strawberry Blonde’ – so good) and avoid repeating the mistakes of the past; life is too short for disappointing tomatoes and spotted roses.
Towards the end of the season, collect the seeds of your favorite plants to grow them next year and share them with your friends and family. Sweet peas, salicornia, beans and poppy seeds are a snap to pick. Let the seeds ripen on the plant until they are completely dry, then collect and store in small envelopes – and don’t forget to label.
Decorate these seed packets, and you can tick two boxes – collection and craft – with one project. Squeeze the flowers between the pages of a porous-page book (that recent beach read will do), then use your dried flowers to decorate cards or the pages of your garden scrapbook. I often forget where I hid my pressings, but it’s fascinating to discover the blooms months or even years later. Weeding can wait – lazy afternoons are spent making garlands, lavender chopsticks, and flower wreaths. Online instructions abound. Or pick lavender stems, garden roses, and fragrant rose petals for a simple potpourri. Dry the plants thoroughly, then crumble the petals together and store them in a bowl placed where you will feel a summer whiff long after the rains return.
Go on a treasure hunt
I love a good scavenger hunt, this birthday party staple that will grab the attention of kids. One of my favorite summer mindfulness rituals is collecting garden pieces and organizing my finds in a rainbow display. It’s always fun to do with the kids, who bring a sense of discovery to the task. It’s about savoring the season and creating memories that will keep us company next winter, when we’re all upside down from this week’s solstice. Happy summer!