Toddling through Gardening

The weather could not get any better here in Buffalo, and we Western New Yorkers are taking full advantage of the near 80 degree temps we are having this first weekend of Fall.

Beautiful Fall day on the Erie Canal.

Beautiful Fall day on the Erie Canal.

As my three year-old takes her afternoon nap, I thought I would take the opportunity to get some work done. I put away my garden decorations that I had out, and also started writing this post. As a mother in her thirties (and that’s still hard for me to swallow– when did I get old!?), I have to prioritize EVERYTHING in order to make sure things get done. Including, my gardening. I know most people my age with kids couldn’t fathom spending much more time in their backyards than simply mowing their yards. I get it. Really. So when my daughter finally starts school, I will again have to prioritize my gardening duties based on the activities she chooses to take part in. That’s ok– that’s what it is all about. No matter what you have going on in your busy life, you can achieve gardening greatness one step at a time.

So, how do you exactly maintain your home landscape with a toddler? Well, like parenthood, the answer is not simple. With the right amount of prioritizing and support, it is possible.

This is how you can do it, every stage of your little one(s) young lives:

  • Newborn — Infants are a lot of work and a lot of time. So, don’t worry about elaborate flower beds at this stage. The most you should worry about at this point is purchasing some annuals and planting them in small flower beds while your little one naps. Or, have a family member or friend watch your little one while you get a most needed break and some “me” time in your flower beds. All you have to do is water and weed a little.
  • One year old/two year old — At this point, you aren’t as tired out as you were when they were newborns, but your time is still just as valuable now as it was then. You will have a little more freedom now that they are walking around and like to be outside (hopefully), but you still really can’t concentrate on doing anything because you are worried your toddler is going to get into things that he/she shouldn’t be. You will still be relying heavily on nap times and have someone such as your spouse/partner to look after your toddler while you start really doing what you want to do in your yard.
  • Three year old — it is definitely much easier to do things at this stage. As they quickly grow out of that “toddler” stage, you can start really getting into your gardening. At this point, I have included my daughter into my gardening world, pointing out flowers, telling her the names of various plants. She even “helps” me dig by using my trowel, and waters flowers by using the little Minnie Mouse watering can I purchased for her. It’s a great time to bond with your child and get them to appreciate nature and all its beauty.
    My daughter helping me water my lamb's ears.

    My daughter helping me            water my lamb’s ears.

    So yes, it is a challenge, but is not impossible to maintain and grow your home gardens with a little one. Once you find a routine that works for you, things will fall into place, one little “toddling” step at a time.

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