Flower Gardening for Kids Fairmont WV
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Whether starting zinnia seeds on a sunny windowsill, planting blooming bulbs in a container, or growing big garden plots of flowers so they can make and sell bouquets at the local farmers’ market, schoolchildren all over the United States experience the beauty of cut flowers as they learn valuable math, science, art, and history concepts.Why Grow Cut Flowers?
“Do you really have to ask why happiness is important?” asks Mud Baron, green policy director for a school board member in the Los Angeles Unified School District and a garden educator passionate about giving flowers. “We live in a concrete, artificial world. A lot of human-created design is worthless, sometimes harmful. When it comes to design, flowers are just sublime.” Giving flowers is a universal sign of caring. A bouquet of blooms represents beauty, joy, comfort, and compassion.A Flowered Path to Learning
Growing flowers is a great way to help kids learn about biological concepts such as plant anatomy, growth and reproduction, pollination, and coevolution. Those vibrant colors, pleasing shapes and textures, and luscious scents that tickle our senses are nature’s exquisitely designed handiwork, helping flowers attract the pollinators they need to survive. Pollinating insects, birds, and bats feed on the flower’s nectar, then carry its pollen to another plant, allowing the flower to reproduce. More than 65 percent of flowering plants are insect-pollinated (others are pollinated by birds, bats, and wind), and 20 percent of insects depend on flowers for their food at some life stage.
The relationship between specific flowers and specific plants is critical and often coevolves over time. The design of common snapdragons, for example, allows a bumblebee of just the right weight to open the flower and get a drink. Yucca moths and yucca plants need each other because yucca flowers have a specific shape that allows only that one tiny moth to pollinate them and lay her eggs inside the flower. The tiny caterpillars will live in the flower and eat yucca seeds.
For more on pollinators, see Alluring Pollinators and Planning a Pollinator Garden . For a detailed description of flower parts and how they function together, see Digging into Flowers .
Beyond science, arranging flowers helps teach kids artistic expression and design concepts. Cut flowers provide hands-on examples for demonstrating texture, color, and form. Students can work with fresh and dried flowers to create classic and modern arrangements or come up with something unique of their own.
Selling flowers helps kids sharpen math skills when they count change, business skills when they deal with customers, and responsibility when they take care of flowers and help out at the farmers’ market. It also offers them valuable job training. According to the Society of American Florists , floral sales topped $35 billion in 2008, providing a range of jobs from growing the flowers to selling them directly to the consumer.