Groff's Plant Farm Images

Kids are Home!

Published: Sat Jun 10th 2017

As I write this, school has been out for one and a half days. While I haven’t heard “I’m bored” yet, it’s because my kids know that as soon as they utter those words, they are pulling weeds.

Yesterday we went down to Longwood Gardens. The kids loved exploring the Children’s Garden in the conservatory and the outdoor kid’s area in the Idea Garden. There are nooks and crannies, and cool water features with interesting things for kids to explore.

The Main Fountain gardens are now open after a two year renovation and they are spectacular. You can walk down inside the grotto and see beautiful plants tucked into the rock walls. That will be a cool refreshing place for visitors this summer. There are fountain shows several times a day, though the special firework shows need special ticketing. The Hillside garden and Carillon tower are open again now as they were closed in coordination with the fountain construction. The Hillside garden was always one of my favorite spots at Longwood and it has been replanted with a lot of natives. I’m anxious to watch as it fills in over the next few years.

Today I finally got around to filling my containers. Ali helped me as she loves color and design and at age 8 her designs are looking a bit less hodgepodge than they did a few years ago. She chose yellow zinnias, white petunias, purple setcresea, a silvery Artemisia and coral geraniums for one pot and purple fan-flower (scaevola), coral geraniums, and blue evolvulus for the other one. They look really pretty. Plus she has agreed to take care of them all summer. Win!

While we did our pots, Liam pulled some weeds and found an ant hill to watch. They were moving their eggs as his weeding disturbed their home. He also found an immature mantid on a gerbera flower. He is my bug expert. If he sees something interesting and I can’t identify it he Googles a description and then searches the image database to identify it. The other day he identified a 6-spotted tiger beetle this way. Read the Wikipedia article, then found some Youtube videos as well.

It’s supposed to be in the 90s the next few days. Creek stomping at Theodore Parker Park just south of Quarryville will probably be on the agenda. It is a nice hiking trail through the woods that hugs the west branch of the Octorara creek. There are always stones to skip, dragon flies to watch and caddishfly larvae to search for under rocks in the water. We usually see a Blue Heron or two as well.

In this day of electronic- heavy influences and social media I know my kids are not having the childhood I did, but I can still encourage them to explore the plants, animals and insects in the world right outside their backdoor. If technology can help them learn more about it more the better.