the easter garden

April 8, 2009

Despite all my Waldorf guilt, there are still some Waldorf-y traditions we keep. For years now, in the week before Easter, the kids and I have made and planted an Easter garden.

We take an old pan, and fill it with soil. We add a “tree” cut from the branch of a real tree, a dry pond, some gravel paths and a cave which H. made long ago, when he was about five. Then we scatter wheat grass seeds throughout, sprinkle on a little more soil, and water the garden.

planting wheat seeds

We add a caterpillar to the cave, and leave him there in the dark, waiting to metamorphose.

adding the caterpillar

It makes for an austere, colorless lenten scene, which is just the effect we’re after. Because, in a matter of days, everything will change.

lenten garden

Working with Mr. T yesterday, I realized that after more than ten years of making this Easter garden, this is probably one of the last times one of my kids will want to help me. It’s a little kid activity. Then again, it’s a tradition, and maybe I’ll be able to wrangle some help, simply for old time’s sake. Either way, I’ll probably keep up the tradition on my own because the garden so beautifully symbolizes Easter, with a simplicity that may work for little kids, but with a depth that can reach anyone.

I’ll post pictures in a few days, to show how our garden transforms.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin April 8, 2009 at 8:21 am

This is a wonderful activity you’ve shared with all three kids. I can’t wait to see the photos. When you realize that something you’re doing with your child will probably be the last time you do it, it feels sorrowful. When I finished a book yesterday, I thought, “Do I want to save that for grandchildren or get rid of it?” It feels good to shed layers, it is freeing, but it also seems to mark an end or transition that I’m not entirely ready for.

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patricia April 8, 2009 at 8:26 am

You and I definitely are sharing this, Kristin. We can cry on each other’s shoulders!

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Carrie Pomeroy April 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm

This is so lovely and inspiring. We don’t have any spring traditions like this yet, but I may borrow it.

Today we were talking about how traditionally, people would have been so hungry by this time of year, all their root stores depleted, and how encouraging it would have been when the baby animals started getting born and the green shoots started poking up. It was a lovely reminder of how connected the Easter symbols are to a much older tradition.

Thanks for sharing this activity and the photos.

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melissa s. April 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm

what a great idea. we may have to adopt it as a tradition of our own!

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Barbara April 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm

What a nice idea! I had thought about planting real grass for easter baskets, but was thwarted by the prospect of keeping them secret. This seems both more fun and more satisfying.

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Emily April 13, 2009 at 9:37 am

Oh, I love it. Can we do it from here on out? Rhiannon is only three!

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patricia April 13, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Oh yes, you and Rhiannon must do it. Every half-Jewish girl needs a lovely Easter garden. You’ve still got a few years of her being interested.

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