If there are young children in the house, or possibly grandchildren, now is the time to acquaint them with the joys of gardening. The little book, Oh!! the Plants You'll Grow! by Laurence J. Ross is an excellent way to start them off right. It is written with pre-readers, or beginning readers in mind and they can follow the cheerful face of Sammy the Sunflower and find her on every page. It is written especially for young attention spans and although the book is small, it focuses on many of the plants and items found in a garden center.

The author has many years experience in the gardening industry and leads us from annuals and perennials to grasses, shrubs and bulbs. Each of these pages is a succinct description about what makes each one unique and the lovely illustrations are of common plants that most of us see at a nursery or garden center. It will be a good lesson for the kiddos to learn to recognize plants so they can spot them on their visit. Pansies, coneflowers, snapdragons and tulips are among the easily spotted illustrations with each page tagged to help name the individual plants.

If a child can identify a plant, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and they might be inclined to adopt a couple for their very own when they see them in real life. This little book sows those seeds and with the eventual visit to see the plants growing, young folks might catch the gardening bug early.

book review

Coming from a rural family with quite a bit of land, a large garden was something that I simply accepted as a summertime ritual. I learned to drop bean seeds in the bottom of a tilled row before I started school, however the very first plant that I could call my own, was a sunflower that I planted at the edge of the garden. There was only one, so someone (probably a relative) must have given me the seed, but I hovered over it and cared for it all summer. The resulting head was enormous and I was so proud of my accomplishment. That sunflower started me on a path that has lasted decades and only gets better as I grow older.

Giving a child his or her very own spot of ground or container is a wonderful way of introducing them to the world of growing things and this little book is a vehicle to help the adult explain about the different plants and what to expect. Even very young children can pick out the different flowers and plants and learn their names. Ask them what their favorite color is. Mine was always green! I loved foliage plants and transplanted several species of wild ferns into a small covered spot in the front of our house where nothing else would grow. My mother gave up trying to keep anything alive there years before I worked on it. The ferns flourished and I had another success under my belt. Children have a real intuition for growing things if given the proper foundation and by including them in the trip to the garden center, especially after a discussion about what they will see, they might surprise you.

You might plan this trip with the child and build excitement for the outing. (it wouldn't hurt to do a little pre-trip sleuthing to make sure potential favorite plants are available though) If you are excited about the trip, the child or children will be as well. Instead of bored kiddos whining to leave, make it an exciting quest. Take it from someone who learned to love plants at an early age, there's nothing more exciting than your very own garden.

Oh, the Plants You'll Grow can be purchased at this link