Children have a natural affinity for nature - gardens, animals, forests and shoreline fill them with a joy and energy that can be guided and nurtured. The lessons gained and the love experienced will sustain them through their lives.
When I was 7 years old, my father was a young lawyer and he won his first big case. He and my mother used the money to buy a large old colonial house on Fairmont Hill in Hyde Park, a part of Boston. It had a huge lot of land containing gardens and orchards. After our 2 family home in Roslindale with a small neglected yard it seemed like paradise.
I remember the first day we went to the new house. I wandered outside to a large plot of pink peonies in full bloom. I had never seen such beautiful flowers and I fell in love with them and wanted to take care of them. That was the beginning of a special connection to nature.
Those gardens with apple orchard, pear tree, grape arbor, corn field and rose bushes was a new world. But, there was no one to teach me about gardening. My mother had 5 children to care for, a new old house, and my father was a busy lawer. It would have been a gift to have a guide and mentor who could educate me about this rich environment.
I now live in a house with another garden, mostly tended by my husband Jim. He has added peonies over the years because I love them. I am still in awe of them and paint them when I can.