A Dragon's Garden

Dragon Tongue beans for a dragon-themed garden. (Photo by Emma Biggs)

Dragon Tongue beans for a dragon-themed garden. (Photo by Emma Biggs)

I LOVE IT when kids see things that adults don’t! I would never have thought of a dragon’s garden: It was Finn’s idea.

This week Emma spoke at Toronto Botanical Garden about making gardening fun for kids. Emma shared her favourite fun plants for kids—and one of those fun plants is a gorgeous bean called Dragon Tongue.

Then she talked about fun theme gardens including a tickling garden, a purple garden, and giant’s garden.

The next morning we had a note from Finn’s mom. Finn came to the talk—and Finn is stoked about gardening. Not only that: He plans to grow Dragon Tongue beans in a dragon-themed garden.

Emma and I were floored. What a fantastic idea!

So we scoured seed websites for dragon-themed plants. Here are ideas for kids who want a dragon-themed garden:

  • Dragon’s Egg cucumber

  • Purple Dragon carrot

  • Red Dragon arugula

  • Tongue of Fire bean

  • Snapdragon…and there are so many sizes and colours

  • Dragon’s Toe pepper

  • Green Dragon cucumber

  • Thai Dragon hot pepper

  • Blue Dragon dracocephalum

  • Flower Dragon watermelon

  • Black Dragon coleus

Litchi tomato for spiny skin!

Litchi tomato for spiny skin!

There are lots more plants with a dragon connection. Just ask kids—they can help us imagine what best fits here:

  • Toothy. (An agave looks pretty toothy to my imagination. Or, if you want to stretch things, dandelion comes from French—dent-de-lion—which means "lion's tooth.” I even found a daylily called ‘Snaggle Tooth.’)

  • Long and pointy for the tail. (Corn? …I’ll let the kids brainstorm this one.)

  • Leathery or spiny for dragon-like skin. (I’m picturing citrus rind here; and Litchi Tomato would be perfect!)

  • Serpent-like shape. (I think snake gourds might work!)

  • Wings (How about a winged bean, angel wing begonia…or maybe something with winged seeds such as maple?)

When Emma and I created the talk, we sat down together to iron out key messages. Emma starts and finishes her talk by reminding adults that kids might not look at gardening the same way adults do….so let kids be creative. The dragon-themed garden is a beautiful affirmation of that message and a very moving reward for the time we put into building the talk!

Thank you Finn!

Finn, creator of the dragon’s garden. Thank you Finn!

Finn, creator of the dragon’s garden. Thank you Finn!