I was asked to design a special “literacy garden” for the school library where the students could hang out and read outdoors.
Ever since my kids were in elementary school, I was involved in their classes and volunteered in the school garden beginning in the fall and throughout the school year.
I looked forward to loading up my truck with plants and mounds of soil and digging in because it gave me a great excuse to hang around my kids and be a part of their world outside of our home.
Of course, I enjoyed gardening too!
The site for the future school “literacy garden!”
It was to be a whimsical retreat, a place where the kids could read, dream and commune with nature.
The design and installation of the garden took a lot longer than I expected as funds had to be raised and construction approved by the school district.
No one put pressure on me to complete the work overnight, but I felt an internal time clock beating.
I wanted to complete the project before my son graduated from elementary school so he could enjoy at least a full year of seeing “mom’s garden.”
I never told anyone about my concern and desire to “beat the clock.”
I designed the garden when my son was in third grade and my daughter in first grade.
No mow red fescue grass and glass river
The garden was completed just before the second semester of my son’s fifth grade, his graduating year.
I felt a little sad that he would only be able to enjoy it for a semester, but relieved that my daughter would be able to enjoy it for longer than that.
There was a ribbon cutting ceremony for the garden and I was honored with a plaque and a sign was posted at the entrance of the garden with the words, “Designed by Shirley Bovshow”
This act of recognition was more than I expected or desired.
The students were so thankful and it made me happy to see them excited and sitting around the garden.
My son and daughter were smiling and seemed proud of their “special connection to the garden.”
My son gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, “Thanks for finishing the garden before graduation.”
It didn’t occur to me that my son had his own time clock ticking too, and it made me feel a little sad that he carried this concern too.
Maybe I was just feeling his heart all along, or maybe he was feeling mine?
My sons words made me realize that this garden would hold a special place in his heart long after graduation.
As a mom, I am warmed by the fact that a small part of my son and daughters childhood will live on in this special garden.
School is back in session, which means its the perfect time to create a special garden memory for your child!
The children enjoy their new literacy garden
Lush, tropical plants, cycad
Decorative turtle in the garden
Abutilon in background, ferns and calla lilies
Plaster, clay and mosaic garden art created by the school children for the literacy garden
Plaques to inspire the kids to “imagine”
An encouragement to “read,” perfectly placed in a school literacy garden!
Designer Shirley Bovshow with her children in front of the Literacy Garden in 2004