Teach a child to garden and you both will blossom

I grew up in a world of houseplants. If there was a windowsill, you can be sure there was a plant in front of it, thanks to my mom.

One was a rare night blooming cereus. Mom waited for a couple of years for it to bloom just for one

Night-blooming cereus

night. Amazing.

Her magic extended to the garden as well. Things just blossomed for her.

My grandmother and grandfather (they were divorced) had the same magic. Mem grew African violets galore inside and roses outside. She talked – and sang  — to her plants. At one point my dear grandmother yodeled on the radio so I’m sure some of that was going on, too.

Pappy grew a variety of leafy plants and had a sizable garden. He was an accountant so he approached things from the scientific perspective, always reading garden journals and tinkering with plants.

All three of them are all gone now, but thanks to them, that desire for growing things still buds in me.

I couldn’t have been more than 8 when my mom sent me out to the backyard with seeds for a cutting garden. The side of the house was my little plot to tend. I watched every day for the little plants to poke through the clay Palmerton soil.

I took gardening for granted until a few years ago when I was working with VBS at church and I realized that many of the children didn’t know how to plant marigold seeds.

They can learn though, with the help of grownups.

Ah, here’s the pitch. Even if you don’t have little ones of your own right now, 4-H provides an opportunity for both children and adults to learn.

Penn State Extension-Monroe County 4-H  is recruiting people serve as 4-H leaders of youth ages 8 to 18.

A new gardening club is working with the Garden of Giving in McMichaels. The garden provides fresh produce for food pantries. Pantries, by nature, can usually only supply non-perishable items, but founder Tammy Graeber wants people to eat more healthy choices so her band of volunteers pick produce in season and haul it off to pantries on distribution day.

So what do 4-H leaders do. Volunteers organize clubs, help conduct meetings, advise members in project selection, and serve as role models.  It’s not just about gardening.  Pennsylvania 4-H has over 150 projects to choose from forestry, aerospace, electricity, nature to animal projects.

If you would like to volunteer, or just learn more about 4-H before making your decision, call the Monroe County 4-H office at (570) 421-6430.

Go for it. What you teach a child will help you both for a lifetime.

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