favorite theme for young children is an ABC garden. Here's a list that will
work in most locations, provided you have enough space. Or you and the children
can look through seed catalogs, garden reference books, or take a field trip to
a garden centers to choose what you'll plant.
for tomato plants, which require about four square feet and a cage or tower in
which to grow, most plants can flourish in one square foot of garden space.
That means you will probably need about 30 square feet for an alphabet garden.
Plan a planting day in mid-May and give students and their families plenty of
lead time. In fact, it might be wise to have them bring in the plants by the
day before so that you can see any "holes" that you can fill with a quick run
to the garden store, or asking friends for perennial divisions or seeds.
the bed and mark the square feet for planting day by pouring a thin stream of
flour on the soil - preferably on a day with little or no wind!
you're short on space, you can plant one flower for every letter in the name of
your school, neighborhood association, child-care center, etc.
you can have each child bring a flower that starts with the first letter of the
child's first name.
can ask each family to bring in the flower or bulb individually, and keep the
rest to plant at home. You can assign one or more alphabet letters to each
family, with some suggested plants, or ask them to sign up for the plants they
wish to bring.
they wish to bring in the entire four-pack, you can create a nice entryway
garden with the excess flower donations for your alphabet garden.
you need is one variety for each letter of the alphabet, and stakes to identify
each plant. It's really fun to plant them in alphabetical order, too.
are several options for the plant stakes or name labels:
can buy plastic plant name stakes in bulk at garden centers or online -
remember, you'll need 26! If the children are too young to write legibly, write
each plant's name using a permanent marker, such as a Sharpie pen.
children might enjoy painting each alphabet letter on a clean stone in enamel
paint to mark each flower. Be careful, for enamel paint might stain! But poster
paints will fade almost immediately in the sun. You can type up the whole list
on a sheet of paper, have it laminated, and hot-glue it to a stake to place in
the garden for full identification of each plant.
children might enjoy painting wooden stakes in patterns and pretty colors, and
writing the plant's name on top of the color. If your city has a recycling
center for toxic chemicals such as exterior paints, you can call ahead to see
if they have any exterior paint to give away, and that's a good source of paint
that will stand up to the sun and rain.
E Elephant Ears
J Johnny Jump-Up (viola tricolor)
Q Queen Anne's Lace
R Radishes (several seeds)
S Shasta Daisy
U Umbrella sedge (tropical plant in a
pot; bring inside in winter)
V Vinca minor
X Xeriscape plants that can withstand
drought, such as hens 'n' chicks or yucca
to have a few extra plants on hand for children whose families forget or can't
afford to donate plants.
plants start to flower, try to make a bouquet with flowers or plant parts that
start with the letters of a student's name.