17 OCTOBER 1941, Page 14

Children's Gardens

Looking back over the summer, I find that one of the pleasantest things in it has been the children's garden. Children who watch when you are not looking, acquire an amazing early aptitude for handling seeds and soil, and the child who sees gardening-jobs being done at an early age will never grow up into a bad gardener. In some way the efforts of children are nearly always mysteriously blessed. The radishes you yourself put in are wrecked by flea; but your small son, aged four, raises superlative radishes on a gravel path. Your peas are devoured by jays; but your small daughters raid the kitchen, get a handful of dried peas from a packet and raise a luscious crop. You throw away your diseased tomato-plants, only to find that the 'children retrieve them, coddle them and finally nurse them into fruiting earlier than your own. Your boxes of un- wanted seedlings are saved and, tenderly pricked out, blossom with a profusion that makes you slightly jealous. The child that has no garden is missing a precious part of its education. And in the child's apparently lucky success with seeds and seedlings there is, of course, a lesson for the grown-up. A child is light on the earth; its fingers are delicate. Green fingers are, in fact, either gentle or small.