Food + Drink

The Magic Garden


We have a garden. It’s a garden where I let my 4-year-old daughter Claire do pretty much whatever she wants. I let her plant seeds at the wrong time of year. I let her water whenever she wants to. I let her pick and eat any edible plants. You would think the garden would be a mess but actually it’s quite nice. We have huge parsley plants, English peas and massive amounts of broccoli.

We planted the broccoli seeds on a whim in the dead of winter. We do live near the wine country in Northern California so the winters here are mild. I let Claire plant the seeds but I never thought that the broccoli would actually grow in our somewhat neglected garden. I think I was as excited about it as she is. When I saw the broccoli growing, I ran for the camera and here is a photo of our first harvest.

When we picked our first bunch, we steamed it and ate the bright green stalks with olive oil and salt–irresistible. I can’t wait until our magic garden sprouts more delicious vegetables. Now my daughter frequently reminds me to check the vegetables in the garden so we can eat them. I love that.

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  • jeff-nhn June 25, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    What a great way to interest a child in gardening. Instead of structure there is fun and hopefully your child will continue to garden as she grows up.


  • Jennifer July 1, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Jeff- Thanks for the comment. Yes, even if she does not garden as a grown up, she hopefully have gained respect for where her food comes from. Gardening seemed like a chore whenIi was a kid, so I am trying to give her fun memories.


  • Kathleen Shea April 15, 2009 at 4:33 am


    This is a great idea and one that I will try with my grandchildren. But what brought me to this site is my search for an old book that I read when I was a child (a long-long time ago). Hopefully one of your readers can help me find it. I cannot remember the author, though it is on the very tip of my tongue. The book was called “The Magic Garden”. I found the book entitled “The Secret Garden” but this is not it. I would say the book was written prior to 1940. Please help me if you can. I would like to locate a copy of this book to give to my 8-yr old granddaughter for her 1st Communion in May.

    Thanks for any help



    • Iris March 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      Was one of the main characters a boy named John Guido?, the other was a girl but I cannot remember her name.I also read the book as a child and loved it. Can,t remember much about it except, that the boy was a friend of the girl.


  • garden April 20, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor


  • Pamela August 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Was the book about children who lived in a round house and had a garden in which fairies lived and made fairy circles etc? It had line drawings of the house and garden in the end papers and the hard cover was red in colour. I think I have the book at home if it’s the one you’re thinking of.


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