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Looking Back at Gardening Books for Kids
“If you want a garden of your own, but have no yard---
If you wish you had some way of growing plants all through the year, even though you live where winters are long an cold---
If you want a garden small enough that you can care for it easily---
This book is for you.”
These are the opening lines of Flowerpot Gardens by Clyde Robert Bulla, an elegant little guide to container gardening from 1967, with botanical illustrations evocative of silhouettes. This book is one of a handful of little gardening guides I’ve been looking through lately, in search of ideas on how to add a bit of plant life to my small apartment. These books have made me nostalgic for my childhood days of hands-on gardening discoveries. Here are some ideas that I had forgotten or had never known about trying before:
I’d completely forgotten about sprouting an avocado from its pit until finding the instructions for doing so in Kids Gardening: A First Indoor Gardening Book for Children by Aileen Paul.
Have you ever suspended a sweet potato in a jar or glass of water in order to encourage it to send out vivid lime green vines? Kathy Mandry and Joe Toto call this a Jelly Glass Farm.
I was surprised to learn in Fun-Time Window Garden by Emogene Cooke that in addition to sprouting a carrot top in a saucer of pebbles---which I remember having attempted---you can do the same with beet tops and parsnip tops.
George Sullivan’s Plants to Grow Indoors shows how to use the top of a pineapple to grow a pineapple tree. This little gardener’s quite serious about her pineapple plant.
Did you garden this way when you were a kid, feeling a mysterious pull with each planting experiment, as I did? What are your hands-on gardening childhood memories? Did you have any favorite books about plants and gardens as a kid?