"The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough," wrote the late poet Rabindranath Targoe (1861-1941) of Bengali, who won the Nobel...
A male monarch seeking nectar in Vacaville, Calif. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A scene from last year's Butterfly Summit at Annie's Annuals and Perennials. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Do you have a ranch in San Benito County or Monterey County with ground squirrels? I'm doing a study looking at the economic impacts of ground...
Folks are making a bee-line to the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California, Davis, for its spring sale. All proceeds support the insect...
Bohart associate Fran Keller, an assistant professor at Folsom Lake College and a UC Davis alumnus (she received her doctorate in entomology studying with Lynn Kimsey) holds some of the new dragonfly t-shirts available at the Bohart Museum. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Brennan Dyer, a research associate at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, staffing the Bohart Museum's gift shop. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
"Normally, locusts are introverted creatures; they do not socialize unless it is for reproduction." This is what one of Lynn Kimsey's students wrote in an exam, and what artist Karissa Merritt interpreted for the Bohart Museum's innovative calendar. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
These beautiful sunny days are just calling to us to come outdoors and plant. Why not take our favorite little guys with us to “play in the dirt”? But, before we do, it would be worthwhile to make the gardening moments even more magical by reading “The Surprise Garden” to them.
Written by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern, “The Surprise Garden”—with the clear, bright and engaging text and illustrations just beckon us to jump into the pages and follow the joy of the kids in the book as they discover the wonder of gardening. The book begins: “ We're planting the seeds for a surprise garden. Can you guess what will grow? We don't know. It's a SURPRISE!”
From there, Hall and Halpern lead us through the whole process of planting in rich soil, watering well, and seeing the wonder of “small green shoots” growing and being warmed by the sun. Here we learn all the elements of growing a successful garden. But, this is a “surprise garden”—and since the seeds were randomly planted and marked with color-coded sticks, the excitement of seeing what has actually grown is mesmerizing. It's also a wonderful idea for how we can get our young gardeners hooked on our own gardening passion!
This terrific book has been around for quite a while and was first printed by Scholastic in 1999. That means that a lot of kids have been able to order it for very little money. The other good news is, it is so well written and researched, that dozens of lesson plans, reading comprehension ideas and gardening and art activities are now online for us to use with all those kids in our lives—pre-school through 3rd grade.
And, on the last page is the “big reveal”! An illustrated page showing what each seed looks like, the color-coded stick that stood watch next to each as they were growing, and, finally, what each grows into! So, the wonderful mystery is solved in the end. It's all a delight and makes you want to get right out there with your best kids and plant! Enjoy the spring.
The Surprise Garden