Sunday, 25 July 2010

Outdoor Monday

There's been a lot of rain recently in Scotland. And I mean a.lot.of.rain. For two weeks, I didn't manage to do anything in my meagre garden, other than watching the plants grow and wondering if all that rain is responsible for the lack of bloom. Don't get me wrong, it's nice and green, but my harvest will be meek. My tatties aren't flowering and should really be ready to turn. My courgettes and pumpkins are pathetic, the strawberries haven't turned red. Thankfully there is a plentiful supply of lettuce and general greenery.

On Wednesday the gates of heaven opened particularly badly, with thunderstorm inclusive, and when I mentioned that I felt a tad sorry for Cubling for being outside all day today (she was at the forest kindergarten), the eyes of a colleague almost popped out in disbelief. I think I just about averted a report to social services... Cubling however loved the rain so much she refused to wear her waterproofs when I picked her up. It's true. There's nothing better than muddy puddles and mudpies if you're three. She'll be dancing with wolves next.

So the first signs of a dry spell were rather welcome. By me. Thanks to the Glasgow sling meet, we discovered the Children's Garden at the Botanics. As a true southsider, this fabulous oasis for children in the West End had so far entirely bypassed me. I really don't know how, but it has. It's a wonderful area of raised beds, orchards, herbs, vegetables and soft fruit garden with large picnic areas and a playhouse to explore. It's enclosed and very safe to just let your toddler explore without close supervision. Next to it is a swing park, closeby the kibble palace ("the jungle" according to Cubling) which is now finally in full growth again, as well as an additional glasshouse. I knew those, and also the wonderful walks along the beautiful river Kelvin, the big surprise for me was the children's garden. Cubling smelled herbs, collected apples that had fallen down and admired recently harvested potatoes.

Next up we went north east and explored her cousins' garden for the rest of the day. Finally, she was able to pick berries (something we'd planned to do on East Yonderton farm for a month now, and never managed to do due to the atrocious weather). Even for a child who doesn't eat fruit (much to my dismay), picking it is a delight. Shoes and socks were off in no time, Cubling likes to walk barefoot on the grass. Unlike my garden, this one has flowering sunflowers, pumpkin flowers, a variety of berries, vegetables and flowers. There is more sun further east (that's my consolation) and even if our own little patch can never be so full of delights, this garden is a great inspiration to do a bit better every year. Fruit picking to me is so satisfying, eating it straight from the bush, the feel, colour of it, the sense of collecting your own food, the way nature gives for free. More than that, it's childhood memories of my parents' rented garden, where we had strawberries, raspberries, and currants. Picking, jam making, eating. The treat of the jam making foam on a slice of bread, tastier than anything there is.

This post is part of Outdoor Monday, hosted by 5 Orange Potatoes, to celebrate and encourage all kinds of outdoor activities with children.



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