Woollen Vegetables – an inexpensive gift for children

I have my antennae (oh what do antannae do? scan? scope?). I have my antennae scoping for inexpensive activities to share with children 24/7 (I have found it operating even in my dream-time when the moon is high and alight in the blackness above). I am most jubilant when I find (or someone tips me off about) an activity that involves being outside, but a close second is one where our (mine and the children with me) imaginations’ are captivated. And here one is…

A knitted vegetable patch down the bottom of a winding carpeted path in the Waikato Museum (Hamilton, New Zealand), in bloom till the 31st of August 2011.

There are miniature baskets for the wee one’s hands to collect their hand-dug kumara, and other roots. Plump and bright tomatoes can be picked – be careful not to squash the succulent strawberries. The courgettes even have flowers, for those Mums and Dads who love to be exotic with edible flowers and enjoy plotting feta stuffed courgette flowers for tea.

Woollen Vegetables, Waikato Museum

When my friend Sarah shared the scoop on the garden, my mind raced with memories of all the families of vegetable gardens I’d encountered in this lifetime. Beans tied back with Nana’s pantyhose next to Poppa’s raspberry bush parked beside the Renault Fuego. Dad’s dinner-time visits to ‘water’ the sweet-peas clinging onto the trellis afront the lines of obedient green beyond. The thatched triangle-beds with their oranges, yellows and greens ready to be eaten, on display in a festival in France in the millennium. So, admittedly when I stood beside the modest single bed of legumes down the bottom of a winding carpeted path in the Waikato Museum I was a little disappointed in its lack of expanse. But, the expanse of creativity made up for the lack of real estate. Quality versus Quantity. The fact the vegetables and fruits could be picked, and some of them had under ground habitations and others wee hooks to be attached to their vines, and that the veges that needed curly bits had hand-knitted curly bits… all this intricate detail was a delight for the senses.

So, on a rainy or a sunny day… maybe after school and before soccer, this week…place your kids in or on a form of transport and wind down the carpeted path to the bottom of Waikato Museum to pick some veges with a difference.

Woollen Vegetables, Waikato Museum

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