Planted back in April from seed – doing beautifully.
Hens & Chicks
Cut off the top 4-6 inches from your succulents, remove a few of the top pedals, strip off the pedals on the stems, plant 1-2 inches deep; and this is what you typically get in a few weeks time:
. . . After About 1-Month of Growth:
. . . After another year of growth:
Safe Gardening for Children on the Spectrum
- By Emma Croft
Image Courtesy of Pexels
My son was 6 when we got his formal diagnosis, but I had been managing his autism since he was about a year old. The first time I held his bare feet above spring grass in the yard, he drew them up toward his torso and wailed; he didn’t like the feel of it on his feet. He has deep-seated texture aversions, and one of them was grass. This was a sign of things to come: My son hates the great outdoors. However, with a little ingenuity and a lot of trial and error, we were able to create a safe and engaging play area in the backyard of our home where he can run around and get plenty of exercise.
Bite-Sized Gardens shares a few tips.
Unstructured Play, In A Structured Setting
When you first assess your yard, make sure yours is a fully-fenced backyard that can help eliminate wandering. Greater Learning LP suggests also doing a perimeter check on a regular basis to address any structural issues.
For extra safety, consider installing a keyed or combination lock on any gates kids have access to, which ensures that a curious hand won’t be able to swing gates open. If you don’t have fencing, now is the time to have this installed. This significantly reduces the chances of your child eloping. Determine which materials you want to use, then connect with top-rated fence companies through a site like Angi. Be sure to review customer testimonials and ratings, and find at least two companies to give you quotes and timelines.
Typically, a young child with autism will engage in parallel play, alongside other children, more than interactive or cooperative play. You can encourage involvement with other kids by offering multiple designated areas within your playspace for many different activities. Group noisy activities together and have separate locations for quiet play.
A Place To Get Dirty
Set up a sandbox area to enhance sensory play. This should be a contained space with clean play sand and utensils for scooping, sorting and building. This can be a great place for a pretend building site, or an imaginary archaeological excavation. You can also work with your child’s interests here. Create a treasure hunt for buried Pokemon, or help him draw out a map of his world with colored sands.
Somewhere To Swing And Spin
Children with autism frequently experience vestibular abnormalities that can cause issues with balance. Scholastic notes that a swing set and jungle gym help kids develop coordination and dexterity, and learning to cooperate with other children to use the equipment is great for improving social skills and communication. Climbing, spinning, swinging and sliding all work to help your child understand how his body occupies space and moves within it.
A Place To Be Calm And Quiet
Set aside a quiet space in the yard where your child can recoup his energies and calm down when he needs to. A playhouse, gazebo or even just a shady area with comfy seating, such as a glider, can be a good addition for the whole family. This will permit your child to move away from loud or uncomfortable situations going on elsewhere in the yard. Consider keeping some quiet time toys in the area. For restorative downtime, you can provide a table for building blocks, or even keep a waterproof toy box containing books and art supplies.
Add non-toxic, colorful flowers and plants for visual interest. You can even encourage your child to participate by cultivating his own garden. Consider teaching your child how to use a good pair of gloves and tools to develop his own floral or vegetable garden. By planting his own garden, he might develop a new taste for different types of vegetables, which can bolster healthy eating.
A Word On Water
Access to water can be a great sensory tool in the garden, but be careful when installing fountains and pools. As PBS points out, children with autism can be drawn to water, as many find it calming. But this can be extremely hazardous if they are not strong swimmers. Any pool should be fenced in such a way that your child cannot access it without adult supervision. Pool alarms can let you know if someone has entered the pool without authorization, helping you respond quickly in case of an emergency. Outdoor water features should be designed so that your child cannot enter them or fall into them, behind fencing or landscaping and in open lines of sight.
An Eye To The Future
After we created our son’s outdoor play area, we realized that our hard work paid off in two ways. First and foremost, it provided our child with an area all his own where he could comfortably and safely play outside. Second, we did such a good job making outdoor improvements that it helped our resale value once we finally had to sell our home. While our son’s comfort was of the utmost importance, that little boost made an impactful difference that we still appreciate today.
By no means do these tips provide a comprehensive look at what you can do for a playspace for your child with ASD, but my hope is that it offers you some food for thought. Children with autistic spectrum disorder can enjoy an outdoor play area just as much as any neurotypical child. They like to climb, swing, run and play like any other child. They just need a little more attention to help keep them safe and engaged. With the right preparations, any parent can create a functional play space that is both safe and stimulating for their whole family.
Bite-Sized Gardens is a water-wise gardening blog filled with tips and expert advice. Reach out today for more info!
Your First Garden – A Basic Guide
Gardening is an age-old hobby that can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Both young and old have found joy in the gentle tending of a garden, whether it be floral or veggie in nature (pun intended!).
There are several reasons for starting a garden – and as ZenBusiness points out, with more and more people working from home, there are more opportunities for healthy eating than ever before. Maybe gardening is a lockdown activity that you’ve come to love, or you’ve found a healthy and sustainable alternative to the grocery store. Perhaps you’re looking for ways to increase the value of your home.
Regardless of the reason for your interest in gardening, here are a few tips from Bite-Size Gardens to get you started with your first garden.
Finding the Right Space
One of the first steps to starting a garden is deciding on the perfect location to plant a few seeds or roots. Consider what you would like to plant, and determine the section of your yard that can best meet your plants’ needs using these tips from TreeHugger.com.
Chat to neighboring gardeners and see whether they have any tips to share about the sort of plant that best suits the region. Consider the amount of space that you have, how much sunshine it receives, and how you will access the patch for watering, picking, and caring for your plants.
Research the Best Plants
Depending on the location, the local climate will vary and the garden will receive a predetermined amount of sunshine, rain, and wind. If you want the garden to be successful, then it’s important to consider various factors that will influence the growth.
- Environment and various elements such as sunshine, rain, extreme seasons, etc.
- Size of the plant
- Amount of shade
- Flowering time
- Maintenance required
- Resistance to disease and parasites
It’s also worth considering your intention for gardening, as this will point you in certain directions. For example, you may want to grow veggies to serve at dinner time, or perhaps you prefer a rose garden to enjoy sitting in with your family.
Clear the Area with the Help of Professionals
If you have a large yard, then you may be able to measure out the perfect patch and begin right away. However, most people will need to clear a bit of land to make space. Sometimes, this involves removing a tree stump or pruning a large tree. While it may be tempting to clear the space on your own, it’s highly recommended that you hire a professional tree removal service. Professionals will have the appropriate tools, gear, and equipment — and the know-how to use them safely.
Plant the Foliage and Nurture the Environment
As you can see, there’s a lot of work that goes into preparing the environment for your garden. If you take the time and effort to properly prep, then the rest should be easy and fun.
Compare costs from local nurseries for plants and basic tools. Prepare the garden beds, and plant the seeds or plants. Make sure that you’ve recorded the proper maintenance requirements and meet them. There are even gardening apps to help with the care process, like Smart Plant Home. Whether you need a calendar to stay on top of watering, help identifying diseases and pests plaguing your plants, or answers to the questions many novice gardeners have, downloading our app will help your garden bloom to its fullest potential.
In addition, you may need to invest in building your soil and fertilizer, and learn to strike the balance between overwatering and under-watering. With this in mind, keep a close eye on the rain forecast.
Starting your first garden can seem like a daunting process. But with some planning, prep, and patience, even those who weren’t born without a green thumb can enjoy a lush, beautiful space.
To garden or not to garden is no longer the question. Bite-Size Gardens takes out the growing pains. We’d love to hear from you!
Ideas on Beautifying Your Property . . .
Elevate Your Exterior And Increase Your Home’s Value
If you are planning to take advantage of today’s sellers market, you’re in luck. Homes are more in-demand than ever, and you can squeeze every last drop of value out of your property by simply prioritizing your outdoor spaces. Keep reading as today’s Bite-Sized Gardens blog shares a bit of advice.
Start with an evaluation.
Before you can decide what to do, you have to know what needs to be done. Even though you live in your house, you probably don’t walk around the entire exterior that often. Take a few minutes to actually walk your property. Start at the mailbox – flowers around the mailbox are a great first project – and make your way to the very end of the backyard. Look at the quality of your grass. Is it green and lush? Are there bare or brown spots left by your pets?
Tidy it up.
No matter how well you tend your yard, you will probably find at least a few opportunities to tidy up. This might be something as simple as trimming the shrubs or mulching the flower beds. Or, you may find that a coat of paint is needed on the front door. Small updates such as these are easy to handle on your own and will pay off when it’s time to put your home on the market.
Go for native plants.
One of the most important things you can do when it’s time to look into landscaping is to invest in native plants. Low growing succulents, such as sedum, are a beautiful and low-maintenance option that will also serve to attract bees. There are many types of plants that grow naturally throughout the state that will make an exceptional addition to your lawn. Garden Design lists the canyon snow Iris, California Bush sunflower, shrubby monkeyflower, and hummingbird sage among these.
Aside from increasing property values, there are many reasons that you should consider adding one or more trees to your property. Trees can help slow water runoff and prevent erosion, and they are also a smart way to reduce your energy costs while serving as a buffer for noise pollution, which is important if you live in the city.
Add flower boxes.
If you don’t have much of a lawn, but you would like to add color, flower boxes are the answer. You can make these on your own or buy them pre designed at your local hardware store. Keep in mind that flower boxes are essentially raised gardens, and you will need to water them more often than flowers grown in the ground.
Pressure wash hardscape features.
Hardscapes are the features of your exterior design that are made of things like rock, brick, and cement. Make a point to keep these clean when your home is on the market. One of the quickest and most efficient ways to remove dirt and grime build-up on the surfaces is to pressure wash them. If they are heavily soiled, TipTop Home Pros recommends using an environmentally-friendly detergent and then using sweeping back and forth motions.
Your home’s value is not determined merely by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you have on the listing. It is also influenced by the perception that it is well cared for. Buyers do not want to move into a home that they think has been neglected. And, considering that your curb appeal is their first impression, it makes sense to prioritize your landscape. It isn’t difficult, and simple steps, such as planting native flowers and cleaning the walkway, will make a huge difference at listing time.
Geranium Maderense, Grevillea and SweetPea (In Photo: Left to Right)
All three are drought tolerant, hardy and above all beautiful!
Seasons Greeting to Everyone, and Best of Health. 🙂
Indoor Sansevieria Arrangement
We have a cat which loves to dig . . . she doesn’t like the rocks,
and the rocks also help keep the moister in place.
This is watered – at most – once a month with distilled water.