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A Child's Garden: 60 Ideas to Make Any Garden Come Alive for Children Paperback – January 15, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Child's Garden is an excellent guide for parents wishing to create natural spaces in the garden where their children can openly play and explore. Stepping beyond the traditional ideas of building a treehouse or planting a vegetable garden, the authors include 60 unique ways to tailor a landscape to nurture a child's sense of enchantment and wonder. For instance, many children like to hide, and the book includes ideas for building natural caves out of woven willow branches, climbing vines, or weeping shrubs. For parents wanting to plant a good tree for climbing, this guide knowledgeably recommends the fast-growing and sturdy Norway maple as one of the best. It's filled with such information throughout its nine sections on water, creatures, refuges, dirt, heights, movement, make-believe, nurturing, and learning. Messages on safety are wisely included, along with an excellent list of resources covering everything from buying butterfly houses to visiting selected children's gardens. Through its many color photographs and warm, wise text, A Child's Garden will draw parents into their children's timeless, carefree world and perhaps back to a time when they themselves explored streams, played in the sand, studied bugs, and roamed without agenda. --Karen Karleski --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"[Dannenmaier believes that a garden made for children will engage adults too, because it will be full of secret hideaways and sensory delights."
House and Garden
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; Updated Pbk. Ed edition (January 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881928437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881928433
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #953,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is exactly what I was searching for. I love to garden, but I also need to accommodate my two rambunctious children and a variety of pets. This book has page after page of creative ideas, safety considerations, examples, and plenty of photos. The author is clear, interesting, and very informative about both gardening and childhood development.
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Format: Hardcover
Every page of this book has full color photos from some of the most incredible gardens for children I have ever seen, from the large elaborate planned spaces of botanical gardens, to small modest spaces that will fit any space or budget. While this is not a heavy-duty "how to" book, it is a book of ideas--and we all know that ideas lead to other ideas! The cover of this book alone is inspiring!
The author asks, "How important are the old childhood pleasures of collecting seed pods, fishing in ditches, making bowers, picking flowers, and climbing trees?...long hours of unstructured outdoor exploration are a fast-vanishing aspect of contemporary childhood." She continues, "...the environment [on her uncle's farm] was so complex--full of smells, varied land forms, and mesmerizing creatures. I remember a scooped out pond surrounded by mud in which pigs, geese and ducks joyously wallowed. The strange pungency of the air, the frighteningly gigantic hogs, the mysterious, billowy grasses...still fill my senses." The author talks at great length about the psychology of nature, and of German educational reforms of the early 20th century (but only the good ones <G>). Each page has a line fron a Robert Louis Stevenson poem, for "...you may see, if you will look Through the windows of this book, Another child far away, And in another garden play."
The book includes suggestions for water gardens, sensory gardens, vegetable gardens, themed gardens, natural sand boxes, mazes, and attracting wildlife, plus many resources for strange seeds, odd plants, and landscape designers in varied areas of the US and the UK, all geared towards making a child's space a natural one.
BTW, when I bought the book, my kids grabbed it from me immediately.
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Format: Hardcover
This beautifully illustrated book looks at gardens with the delight of a child from the perspective of a mother who loves her children and her community. Ms. Dannenmaier shows us how to get more out of the natural world, no matter our age or environment. She shows parents how to connect with their children in the garden, particularly urban spaces. This is a great gift book.
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Format: Hardcover
Our whole family has enjoyed reading this book to get ideas for our Sunflower/Fairy Garden!! Every section offers wonderful ideas that we would never have thought of to add...What Fun our Magical Garden will be thanks to, A Child's Garden : Enchanting Outdoor Spaces for Children and Parents! One section offers the idea of planting different berries around the yard so the children can snack as they play! I have given this book to our landscaper to see what ideas he has for adding water to the garden...Already he has suggested using a water pump to circulate water in order to make a small trickling brook for our boys to sail their boats on! I also got the idea to make a willow archway that will be child size for the children to cimb through! We are so very excited to spend this summer creating and adding to our Enchanted Fairy Garden!
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Format: Paperback
This books gives a history of children's gardens and a case for children to be surrounded by nature. It is filled with lovely, inspirational photos and text. However, the majority of the featured gardens and garden plans are more whimsical than practical. I didn't find a lot of really useful information on plants and gardening to help someone who wishes to create a garden space for their children. I much prefer Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots by Sharon Lovejoy.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to this book based upon all of the positive reviews, but unfortunately it was something of a disappointment. Many of the plant "ideas" in this book are fairly common sense if you have any gardening experience whatsoever. For instance, not growing plants that are covered in thorns. But my biggest problem with this book is that most of it is very impractical if you're not wealthy. I can't afford to buy "brass, steel, copper and bronze Art Nouveau" pieces for our garden nor can I install a "a miniature mountain, a stream, two waterfalls, a pond and a naturalistic pool." Many of the pictures in the book showcase custom built play areas or play houses, which are also impractical for the average person. By contrast my copy of Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children is filled with tons of unique, fun and affordable ideas that can help you create a magical garden for your child without breaking the bank. I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of 1 because it does have good ideas if money is no object. So if that's you, then perhaps you'll enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback
I just received this as a gift today, and I loved looking through the beautiful photographs. So many interesting ideas for treehouses, mazes, theme gardens, and uses for those left-behind stumps and odd-shaped small yards-- it truly encourages people to plant where they're blooming, no matter how less-than-ideal the yard. It does seem to favor northern climates on the surface, but a Miami garden is highlighted, and the basics-- structures and uses of space are more of a focus, rather than specific plants or seasonal values. (This is important to me as a southern gardener-- we just don't have the same gardening calendar.)

Of course several of the featured gardens are owned by professional landscape designers or are part of large public gardens. But that shouldn't deter the novice with a vision; don't we all want to learn from the pros and use them as a springboard? If nothing else, I am inspired to continue creating a fun place for my children to play and roam, as well as consider ways to branch out into other local institutions that could provide these play spaces.
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