Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Garden of One's Own

For the first 21 months of Toddler's life, we lived in a second floor flat. We had hoped to sell it and move before she arrived, but no such luck. It was a small block with a communal garden so we weren't totally deprived of outdoor space, but with a massive driveway that neighbours' cars could come up at any given moment, and no barrier between the driveway and the road, it wasn't ideal.

We were desperate for a house. Actually, let's rephrase that: we were desperate for a garden. Somewhere Toddler could play without us worrying about her messing about with somebody else's plants or getting hit by an unexpected car.

We finally sold our flat this summer, and moved in September. That was a heck of a long summer! Beautiful sunny days, perfect for a paddling pool, felt totally wasted on us. Toddler was getting to the age where she needed space to walk, run, climb and generally have fun, and we didn't have it.

At last, we moved. The garden in our new house is not at all child-friendly yet, but it's a garden! After one week in the new house, Toddler's legs were covered in grazes from climbing about (unsuccessfully) on rocks. Yes, she didn't much enjoy the grazes, but she learnt from them. She learnt to be more careful on rocks, but thankfully not that she shouldn't climb them – she's developed a great fondness for rocks since then!

She's also developed a fondness for worms. Or, as she calls them, widdy worms. While I'm hiding my revulsion and picking them up with sticks, she'll happily pluck them out of the earth with her fingers, while muttering, "Be very gentle pease." (I'm not sure if she understands this phrase or if she's just parrotting, but she hasn't squished a worm yet!)

When we didn't have a garden of our own, we knew we needed one. But it wasn't until we got one that we realised just how much we'd been missing out. Even though the weather is turning cold now, we will still often spend half an hour or more outside, kicking a ball, drawing on the patio with chalk, hunting for widdy worms and spotting airy-panes. Aeroplanes, in case you didn't work that out.

Of course, even if you don't have a garden, you can go to a park, a wood or some other big open space and have fun. But there's nothing like opening the back door and having your own little bit of the great outdoors to enjoy any time you like.

It excites me to think about the possibilities we have with this garden. Snowmen in the winter, paddling pools in the summer, den building, teaching Toddler about growing food. We talk about making teepees, and I dream of finally using the hammock we were given as a wedding gift seven years ago!

A child will thrive in any home as long as they are loved and given plenty of chances to explore the outdoors. But nothing quite beats having a garden of your own.


  1. That's fantastic that you now have a garden of your own, for children to explore. It must have been hard without one. It takes much more effort to go to the park, than it does to step out in the garden for half an hour.
    I hope you all enjoy exploring your new garden.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    1. Thanks for your reply Karen. Yes it was hard without a garden and I really feel for all the children who grow up without access to their own garden. But parks and other open spaces are great too!

  2. Looks like your little lady is enjoying her garden! We lived in a flat sans garden and moved when our 4yo was 21 months too... a little bit of outdoor space really does make all the difference for us :-) #letkidsbekids

    1. Thanks for the comment, it's nice to hear from someone who was in a similar situation. What do you and your little one do in the garden now? Would love some inspiration for the future!