For any parent or teacher hoping to get their kids interested in gardening, here’s one piece of advice: Go straight to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s gardens and horticultural center, located on the 36-acre Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley, Mass. There, alongside the historic Italianate Garden, the Garden to Table Chef’s Garden, and the Food Pantry Garden, you’ll find Weezie’s Garden for Children, a magical green space made up of several small spiraling gardens, each with its own theme.
Simply laying eyes on this place will get most kids’ attention—Weezie’s delights include an enchanted woodland, a fairy house, and a vine teepee—but John Forti, director of horticulture at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, says it’s important for parents to remember to engage their kids in the landscape, not just turn them out to play. Whether a visit to MHS is on your agenda or you’re hoping to give those green thumbs a go at home, Forti shares the following strategies:
Among other benefits, Forti says gardening with kids can teach them about long-term sustainability, a sense of pride in working hard and then looking forward to seeing what they’ve grown, and a love of nature. “We live in a consumer culture,” he says. “Gardening is the antithesis of buying.”