Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome to Gardening For Kids!

Gardening For Kids was originally created in 1998 at Geocities to help children learn more about outdoor gardening. With Geocities closing down in summer of 2009 we decided to set up a blogger version of the Gardening For Kids website so the original children's gardening information will continue to be available to kids of all ages. We hope you enjoy your time visiting Gardening For Kids. Happy gardening!

December Flower of the Month

December Flower of the Month

Lantana montevidensis
Zones 9 to 11
Lantana Art

The flowers are shaped like a small bouquet, in bright colors of yellow, purple and orange mixed colors

They have many flowers all year long when they live in mild climates

Lantana is a wonderful woody plant that is evergreen throughout the year. The leaves have a bitter smell to them and turn a purplish color by Fall. Lantana blooms Mid-Spring to Mid-Fall, and blooms all year long when you are in mild Winter zones. The flowers look like tiny bouquets all over the plant! Trailing Lantana is very pretty shrub and hardy, they like full sun. Even if you trim Lantana, it grows back full of flowers, but you don't even have to trim it if you don't want to. If you see scraggly stems, cut them back in Fall or early Spring. Lantana is very pretty to see because it blooms when few plants have flowers. Lantana can grow branches from 3 to 4 foot wide, they arch up and out from the plant. Lantana can grow up to 24 inches tall as well, so give it plenty of room to grow. I like planting it in places other plants won't grow because it is easy to care for and isn't fussy about where its planted, just be sure water drains well from the soil. It also looks good in hanging planters, have a sturdy planter and hanger because Lantana really grows well when it likes where its planted! Try to keep Lantana watered well, it can tolerate dry soil but likes moist soil better. You can also add some compost to help it grow even better. Lantana brightens up your garden with its many sprays of flowers and easy to care for ways.

November Flower of the Month

November Flower of the Month

Colchicum autumnale
Zones 5 to 10
Colchicum Art

The flowers are large, and shaped like a cup, in soft colors of pink, white and purple

They flower in Fall, 5 or more huge flowers bloom from each bulb

Colchicum is also known as Meadow Saffron. They are large flowers that look very much like Crocus. They are also members of the Lily family. Colchicum bloom in the Fall, they come in beautiful shades of pink, white and purple. Their large cup-like flowers are welcome in the Fall, when there are fewer plants growing. Plant the corms in late Summer to early Fall. They like full sun or partial shade, and look especially good in rock gardens, in woodland gardens and in flower borders. Try some planted in pots. One thing to remember is that after Colchicum bloom in the Fall and the plant dies back to the ground, they will grow very large leaves in Spring, so give them lots of room to spread out their leaves. The flowers reach up to 6 inches tall, and the flowers can be 1-1 1/2 inches wide! Make sure you find a special place where your Colchicum will brighten up your Fall garden every year.

Monday, June 29, 2009

October Flower of the Month

October Flower of the Month

Callicarpa bodinieri
Zones 1-9
Beautyberry Art

The flowers are tiny, shaped in tiny clusters of Lilac

The berries that follow the flowers in late Fall are Magenta and hang on the bare branches

The Beautyberry is a very unusual shrub, full of pale green leaves and tiny little lilac flowers in late summer only an inch wide and so small you hardly notice them. The best part comes in the late Fall when all the leaves are gone and the branches are bare except clusters of bright Magenta berries all over them! The Beautyberry likes full sun, you may want to plant it near a tall fence so it is protected from the wind. The berries are very long lasting, up to 2-3 weeks and liven up your garden in late Fall. You may want to use mulch the first season at the base of your Beautyberry to help protect it. When they start to grow you may also want to stake them for support, as they can grow up to 5 feet tall! It will take at least a growing season or two before your Beautyberry produces its flowers and wonderful berries so be patient. In very cold areas the shrub dies back to the ground but comes back up in the Spring. In warmer areas the Beautyberry will remain all year long, once your Beautyberry has produced berries for the first time, be sure to prune it (ask for help to do this) below where the berries were because it needs new growth in Spring to produce more for next time!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

September Flower of the Month

September Flower of the Month

Butterfly Bush
Zones 5-9
Butterfly Bush Art

The flowers are cone shaped, similiar to Lilacs, in colors of Purple, White and Pink

Butterflys love their flowers!

The Butterfly Bush is named after the Butterflies who love to visit it's blossoms. This Perennial grows very large, usually up to 6-8 feet tall or even taller! It is known as a shrub, with woody stems you cut back every year to help it grow and produce flowers by August. The flowers are tiny, but there are so many of them they form a long cone shape at the end of the branches. It usually takes a year for them to become comfortable where they are planted, then they grow really big the next year. They like alot of full sunshine and need watering every week (and good drainage), especially during the blooming season. Be sure to use mulch at the base of the plant during the cold months of winter.

Some of the varieties die back to the ground and some need pruning because the new flowers grow on new wood grown in Spring. The first year do not prune them quite as far as they are new, then after the first year you can cut them "hard" until they are only about 1-1 1/2 feet from the ground. Prune them in early Spring (after the last frost) so they have plenty of time to produce lots of flowers by Summertime! If you have questions about pruning, check with your local nursery.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

August Flower of the Month

August Flower of the Month

Zones: 5 to 11
Lily Art

The flowers come in many shades and shapes. They are brightly colored or spotted.

The flowers have a trumpet shape and long stems.

Lilies are a regal looking plant, they like being in flower beds and in woodland areas too. There are many varieties of Lilies. Their flowers are shaped like a trumpet. Many of the flowers grow to be seven or eight inches wide! Lilies come from a bulb, you plant them in the Fall or Spring. They flower from Summer through Fall. Lilies tower over many other plants, use them behind shorter plants or plant many of them in a group. As always with bulbs, wait until the leaves turn yellow before you cut the leaves down. Lilies never go completely dormant, be sure to continue watering them. The stems of the Lily are sturdy so they shouldn't need to be staked. They like partial to full sun and can grow from 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall! They are the stars of the Summer garden.

Friday, June 26, 2009

July Flower of the Month

July Flower of the Month

Zones: Not hardy except in mild
Winter climates, Zones 9-11
Freesia Art

The flowers are shades and colors mixed together, Blue, Lavender, Magenta, Pink, Purple and more

The flowers have a tubuler shape and smell wonderful!

This is a wonderful bulb (also known as a corm) that produces many fragrant flowers on wiry stems. They are natives of South Africa, and are similiar to Gladiolus in the type of flower and care of the plant. In colder areas you can plant the corms in Spring or in pots indoors. They make excellent cut flowers as well. When you grow Freesia as a houseplant, you wait until the leaves turn yellow and wither (just like outdoor) to dig up the bulbs. You must dig up the corms in cold areas to save and replant for the next year, as Freesia are not very hardy. Freesia will self-sow seeds if you leave the flowers on the stems. When you grow them outdoors, plant lots of them in a group. It helps to have other plants around them because they have very tall thin stems and tend to lean over from the weight of all the flowers. They are delicate and grow from 1' to 1 1/2' feet tall. Freesia bloom in early Spring to early Summer, and prefer partial to full sun.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

June Flower of the Month

June Flower of the Month

Zones: 3 to 9
Yarrow Art

Yarrow are tall and feathery: They come in many colors, Yellows, Red and Pastels. They prefer full sun. They are very hardy and grow from 1 to 2 feet tall.

They look good with other flowers because: Their puffy flowers float above tall stalks; Butterflies and Bees visit Yarrow often.

Yarrow is a wonderful plant that can get very tall! It's foliage is feathery looking and light, while the flowers look flat on top and spread out wide in an oval shape. The flowers look like they are floating in the air! A hardy, carefree Perennial for hot and dry locations. Make sure it has well drained soil. Yarrow looks good planted with other tall plants like Daisys, Iris, Poppies and so many more. They have soft silvery-grey leaves. Be careful not to over-water or over-fertilize them because this can produce weak flower stems. Yarrow bloom in early Summer to late Summer and their leaves stay evergreen all year.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

May Flower of the Month

May Flower of the Month

Zones: All
Nasturtium Art

Nasturtiums are decorative: They come in bright colors like Orange, Red and Yellow. They like to live in the sun. You can grow them by seed.

They are unusual because: They are edible, with fragrant and spicy flowers and leaves which can be used in salads.

Nasturtiums are grown best from seed, because they do not like to be transplanted. They are bright and colorful, some varieties come in pastel colors, and some like the Alaska variety have a marbelized look to their leaves. Most Nasturtiums have large round shaped green leaves, they can become huge! They bloom in mid-Spring to late Summer and like full sun. They can grow up to 18 inches wide and 10 inches tall. You plant the seeds in early to late Spring and also late Winter, wait until all danger of frost is past or for Winter, plant before the frost starts. Actually, Nasturtiums don't mind being neglected. Nasturtiums are Annuals in all zones so you replant them unless they reseed which they usually do when they like where they are planted. They are Perennials in zones 15-24 and keep growing. They don't need fancy soil, in fact they can be in regular old soil and do just fine. They don't need alot of water (don't overwater them) and are very easy to grow. Be sure not to fertilize them or you will have big leaves and hardly any flowers. There are single and double flowering varieties, many Nasturtiums are trailing and climbing vines, while some are dwarf sized. They like dry soil and cool weather in order to flower the most. The best part of Nasturtiums are their bright flowers which look as if they might be smiling from all the sunshine!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

April Flower of the Month

April Flower of the Month

Helleborus orientalis
Scilla sibirica
Lenten Rose Art

The Lenten Rose: Comes in green and shades of Lavender, Magenta, Pink, Purple, White and Yellow. It likes to live in the shade. It does not like to be moved once it's planted.

It's a good flower for Spring because: It blooms in cold weather. It reminds you of Easter.

The Lenten Rose is a long lived Perennial and blooms in mid-Winter to mid-Spring in a wide range of colors. It has thick petals, and it's leaves are usually evergreen all year long. Lenten Rose grows from 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall, and just as wide! All parts of the Lenten Rose are poisonous. They are happiest when planted in shade or partial sun. They take a long time to get settled in after being transplanted. You usually divide them in late Summer or Fall. Good companions to plant them with are Ferns, Azaleas and Rhododendrons. By Easter there will be blooms, although Lenten Roses start blooming earlier in the year. You may need to add mulch around the base of the plant during the colder months. Another type of Hellebore is the Christmas Rose, which has white or pinkish-green flowers. Myth has it that an Angel gave one of the roses to a Shepherdess who had no present for the baby Jesus. Hellebores are easy to grow and have many beautiful leaves and flowers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

March Flower of the Month

March Flower of the Month

Primula polyantha
Zones: 3-1
Primrose Art by Katie

The Primrose comes in many colors: Lavender, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White and Yellow

It's a good flower for Spring because: It blooms in cold weather; it looks good in flower pots

The Primrose comes in a rainbow of colors and are often a sign of Spring. They look good with Spring blooming bulbs. The many different kinds of Primroses provide instant color in late Winter through Spring. Primroses are short-lived Perennials, most people replant them every year just like Annuals. They attract butterflies! Primroses are easy to grow in shade or partial sun and moist soil. They don't like Winter dampness or Summer heat. They bloom in late Winter to mid-Spring, and can grow from 10 inches to 1 foot tall. You can start planting them while it's still Winter. The bright colors are a happy reminder that Spring is almost here!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

February Flower of the Month

February Flower of the Month

Chionodoxa luciliae
Zones 3 to 10

Glory-of-the-Snow bloom in early Spring

They look best planted in big groups

Glory-of-the-Snow is a small bulb that likes to bloom right after Crocus appear. Glory-of-the-Snow likes cold weather best, it peeks out in the coldest weather to welcome Spring. There are up to 8 to 10 1 inch flowers to each short 6 inch stem, in a sparkling violet-blue with a white center. Glory-of-the-Snow look wonderful in rock gardens, under trees and mixed in among other miniature Spring bulbs. In light shade they can bloom up to 3 or 4 weeks. They grow best in well-drained soil, space them 1 to 3 inches apart and at a depth of 3 inches. Plant them in early Fall. Glory-of-the-Snow do not need much care after they are planted, they usually sow seeds and slowly spread in the garden.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

January Flower of the Month

January Flower of the Month

Siberian Squill
Scilla sibirica
Zones 2 to 8

Squill are small bulbs that are very hardy and naturalize easily

They do well in the Sun or the Shade

Siberian Squill are a wonderful small blue bulb that peeks out in early Spring. There are many different kinds of Squill, Siberian Squill is small but lights up the garden. Blue Squill have a clear bright blue color and hang from slender stems like a tiny bell. Squill also come in pink, purple, lavendar and white as well. They grow from 6 to 12 inches tall and have ribbonlike leaves. Squill are especially pretty in rock gardens. They are happily planted in pots and under trees as well. You don't have to dig up and divide Squill, they just multiply and naturalize. Plant them 8 to 10 inches apart and 3 to 4 inches deep. Squill are very welcome in any garden because they can live in full Sun or even in deep Shade! They bloom in late Winter to early Spring and are always a welcome site to the garden.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kid Critic - Caitlin August 1998

Kid Critic

Daisy Photo

Asteraceae family
Zone: Varies


“I adore Daisies. They are a gorgeous flower, and always look so pretty whether regular Daisies or Painted Daisies. I think everyone should have Daisies.”


Kid Critic, 10th grade

The Daisy is a perennial that always looks fresh and wonderful in your garden. It can be used in flower beds, rock gardens, planted in groups and with other flowers. It makes a pretty cut flower for vases. Daisies like fertile, well drained soil and sunshine. They bloom in early Summer to frost. There are many varieties to choose from.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kid Critic - Meg July 1998

Kid Critic

Morning Glory Photo

Morning Glory

“Morning Glories are beautiful flowers. They grow on vines that are long and twisty, and they will grow on anything if you let them. I love Morning Glories and I hope you do too.”


Kid Critic

Ipomoea purpurea

Zone: 3-10

The Morning Glory is a wonderful twining vine that grows very quickly. It likes to grow on a trellis, trees, fences and more. They have bright, trumpet-shaped flowers. They are usually grown as annuals but most of them will reseed themselves and return year after year. Morning Glories have heart-shaped leaves. They come in shades of blue, purple, pink, scarlet, or white. They like well-drained soil that is not very rich, and like partial or full sun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kid Critic - Skyler June 1998

Kid Critic

Rose Photo
Rosa Zone: All Zones


“I love roses. They smell good. I think they are pretty.”


Kid Critic, 3rd grade

Roses are beautiful and come in many varieties. There are tall single flower stems, climbing roses and roses that have clusters of flowers on one stem, as well as minature versions. Some roses grow 4-5 feet tall! They need full sun and a great deal of care. You prune and fertilize roses annually. Roses generally bloom mid-Spring through mid-Fall.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kid Critic - Katie May 1998

Kid Critic

Black Eyed Susan Photo

Black Eyed Susan

“I love Black Eyed Susan's and they grow in all types of weather and wind.”


Kid Critic, 6th grade


Zone 3-10

Height: 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 foot

Black Eyed Susan's are relatives of wild plants from North America. The flowers are like daisies, with orange and yellow coloring. They are tall and hardy, very easy to grow Perennials. They bloom mid Summer to late Fall, and like partial to full sun.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kid Critic - Katie April 1998

Kid Critic

Primrose Art by Katie

“Primroses are small and red or other colors with yellow centers. Their leaves look like lettuce. They are nice to look at because of their different colors and their fine petaled shape.”
Kid Critic

Primroses are a valued plant in the early spring garden, blooming with bright colors of pink, red and yellow. Their leaves look wrinkly and are very green. Primroses are one of the earliest blooming flowers in spring. Primrose flowers sit on stems above their leaves and produce numerous bright colored flowers on each plant.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kid's Science Project Resources

Science Project Resources

Just as it says, lots of fun and science info too.

Kid's Tools for Searching

This is an awesome collection of search tools to help you find what you need for your project.

Kids Turn Central
Science and botany links for your science project.

Explorations 4 Kids
Plant science projects from A to Z.

Kids Online Resources
Online resources for kid's science and botany projects.

Kids Gardening
Kids gardening site has lots of resources for gardening information, even a school greenhouse guide.

Life 123
You can find plant science project ideas here with instructions on how to create your gardening project.

There is a list of weather and seasons science project with instructions on how to achieve results.

About.com Gardening Projects
Here are two garden science projects you can try out including growing your own personal garden in a bucket.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Heaths & Heathers

Spring Torch Drawing


Calluna vulgaris

Varies with plants

Well, what is the difference between Heaths & Heathers?

Have dense, needle-like leaves and rarely need trimming except for shaping, the flowers are larger than Heather flowers and bell shaped.

The leaves are small and wonderfully colored, with flowers that usually grow on one side of the branches, the flowers are smaller than Heath flowers.

Heaths and Heathers are wonderful plants, many are evergreen year round and almost maintenance free! Best of all, they have the most beautiful flowers shaped like bells. Heaths and Heathers have a wide variety of shrubs available, some bloom in Spring, some in Summer and some in Fall & Winter. Heaths and Heathers can bloom for months at a time! There are also varieties that have spectacular leaf colors in Spring or Winter. It is very important to find a Heath or Heather that will tolerate your planting zone, and the best way to find this out is to visit the two excellent sources for Heaths & Heathers listed below.

Heaths and Heathers are great for borders, as a groundcover and in a rock garden. There are usually two types of shrubs, low growing (which tend to be bushier) and upright. They grow from as small as 6-8 inches up to 2 feet tall, and as wide. The flower colors and bloom time varies, as does the ability to thrive in temperature zones. The flower colors range from pink to lavendar to red. Some plants have double flowers.

It is very important to keep your Heaths and Heathers watered for the first year, water weekly or more if needed but do not waterlog them. If they dry out the first year they will die. They have fine roots that can be damaged easily. Once your plant has finished the first year they should be "established" or as I like to say, like where they're planted! The shrubs are drought tolerant which means you don't have to water them often, but I water them weekly. A good way to get your Heaths & Heathers through the first Winter is to use mulch around the base or stem of the plant, which helps protect it from cold weather and holds in moisture. You can remove the mulch after the last frost of Spring, but I leave mine around the plant and they seem to like it!


A good rule of thumb is to give your plants a trimming right after they bloom. You may want to wait if it is a cold area and trim them before Easter, be sure to ask the nursery or company you order them from! You want to trim down to the base of old flowers or woody parts...that's because Heathers grow on new wood, and the pruning helps them grow even better. Now Heaths, you don't even have to trim them they just keep growing! If you don't trim your Heathers, chances are they will look a little funny and not flower as much, so be sure to give them an annual trim.

Fertilizing and Soil

Heaths and Heathers really don't need fertilizer, but if you would like to add some you can use a granular kind that most Azaleas and Rhododendrons use and scratch in a little away from the base of the plant...follow the directions carefully. You may want to have someone help you do this. These shrubs like an acid well-drained soil and are very hardy. They aren't fussy about fancy soil, just make sure the water drains down and away from the plants.


Heaths and Heathers require full sun. Try to plant them where there is some kind of wind protection. The shrubs that have green leaves throughout the year are less fragile and a good choice for beginners. Heaths and Heathers Nursery is the mail order company I purchased my first four from, and they are all thriving and look great after the second year!

Heaths & Heathers need lots of sun!

Great Resources for Heaths & Heathers:

Heath and Heathers Nursery

Sun Drawing