Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Small Front Yards II: When Garden Design and Kids Conflict

When I saw what the folks at the day care which my kids attended had done to the patch of ground in front of the entrance, I was delighted.

While a great deal of effort has gone into making the Garderie Querbes a well-equipped centre for early childhood education inside, the outside has languished. Every couple of years a few parents of children in the day care or in the school in which it’s located, get together to do something about a garden. Last year the space in front of the school itself was planted with perennials which survived quite nicely, but until a few weeks ago not much had been attempted in front of the garderie’s entrance.

Then one of the teachers along with the man who lives upstairs decided to redo the bare patch. Over a couple of weeks a mural, a winding path, a few plants in pots, a little fence appeared. It looked lovely, and I saw several people stop to admire it. But when I passed this morning—the last day of school in these parts—it had disappeared. I went in to find out why and was told that the collaborative effort foundered on the difference between what is safe for little kids and the other party’s ideas of what was good garden design. So the dangerous elements were removed and, for the moment, all that remains is the crushed rock from the path and the bicycle stands. Grass is supposed to be planted shortly. What a shame that something more interesting couldn’t be worked out.


deBeauxOs said...

Plants in pots are dangerous for little kids?

Unless they were castor bean or some other toxic vegetation, I don't understand what the problem could be.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Seems the problem was more with a spiky little fence, some sharp rocks (neither of which are the picture which was taken about half way through the development) and the concern was that the kids would fall on them and the garderie would be liable for damages.

It also sounds as if the whole thing got rather contentious...but I wasn't there so I can't say for sure. Elin (at not quite three) was the youngest child there when it opened three decades ago.


lagatta à montréal said...

From time to time, I babysit the granddaughter of a friend about 8 or 9 years older than me. I used to babysit her son! How time passes... Friend, her second husband and grandbaby, and other friends are meeting up at Jarry Park for la Fête nationale (et internationale) in about half an hour. There will be many events for children including a workshop on Haitian dance.

There is a lovely post at spacingmontreal on the new garden outside La Maison de l'Amitié/House of Friendship, a Mennonite centre for refugees and neighbourhood people, in the southwestern Plateau. It is a big improvement over the sad macadam courtyard, while preserving social (and smoking) space.

I'm sad they couldn't find something more interesting than grass. When I was a tiny girl, I loved my grandmother's old-fashioned garden with its seemingly random flowers.

Joyeuse fête nationale à tout le monde de toute origine.