Grow an Animal Garden

catmint

This is the catmint growing in Stacy’s backyard.

When kids take ownership of their garden, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m a big advocate of letting kids pick out their own plants, giving them their own space or just make decisions about their garden in general. It’s just like cooking—if you let kids make it, they’re more likely to eat it. And it’s the same for gardening. If you involve kids in the early process, they’re more likely to take care of it long-term.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by picking out fun plants. You can do this with family names—my daughter Annabelle loves Annabelle’s hydrangea. And we are planning to plant Jack in the Pulpit this year for my son, Jack. Another way to create a fun garden is to choose themed plants. For instance, an all white garden, a daisy garden or one of our favorites—an animal garden.

My first book, a picture book, is about animal plants (Cathy’s Animal Garden). So I wanted to take a minute to give you a few more plants to try with animal names. I hope you have fun with this. Create your own unique space, and let the kids pick them out!

Animal Plants

  • Butterfly weed
  • Catmint
  • Tiger lily
  • Elephant ear
  • Hens and chicks
  • Leopard’s bane
  • Lambs’ ear
  • Dogwood
  • Bee balm
  • Spider flower
  • Cardinal flower
  • Tickseed
  • Monkey grass
  • Snake’s head fritillary
  • Butterfly bush
  • Dragon’s bloom sedum
  • Foxglove

Stacy is a gardener, birder, and naturalist, and the author of nearly 10 books, including The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book, The Secret Lives of Animals, Project Garden, and 101 Plants You Can't Kill.

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