Dahila’s Summer Garden

Written by Katelynn Shaiko


Dahila is a curious ten year old. This summer she wants to get into gardening because she is named after a flower but doesn’t know where to begin. Until she notices her new neighbor, Ms. Rosie, gardening in her backyard. Dahila is faced with completing her summer goal of gardening.

Keywords: garden, plants, observation, pungent, harvest, organisms

Hi, my name is Dahila. I was named that because it’s my mom’s favorite flower. What’s funny is that I’m 10 years old and I know nothing about gardening or flowers. A lot of people in my neighborhood have plants and flowers and they look really pretty because it’s the summer and all the colors look so bright. My goal for this summer is to pick up a book or two about gardening and learn.

One day, I was looking out the window when I noticed my neighbor, Ms. Rosie, was planting something in her backyard. Ms. Rosie is new to the neighborhood and really keeps to herself. When everyone is outside playing and parents are talking, Ms. Rosie stays inside. I ask my mom if I can knock on her door because I’m so curious about her. I only ever see her outside when she is planting in her big woven floppy hat. She has me really curious about gardening which I assume that’s what she is doing.

I finally get the courage after weeks to go out there and talk to Ms. Rosie. I don’t want to bother her but I’m just so curious about who she is and what she is always doing in her garden. Ms. Rosie seems like she is about my grandma’s age so I definitely know she is approachable.

I went outside and peaked my head through our white picket fence and blurted out “Hey my name is Dahila! I’m your next door neighbor. What are you doing out here?” Ms. Rosie looked over and said “Hi Dahila, I’m currently planting my garden. I used to have one back at my old house and I need to start one up again. It’s the best time of the year to do it.” I looked at her with amazement. I find myself wanting to know more. I tell her “I’ve never planted anything and honestly I think I would not be very good at it either. The only time I’ve ever touched anything outside is when I’m playing with my friends… outside.” I notice that Ms. Rosie smiled at me when I tell that I don’t know much about plants. She ended up inviting me to come over to help her plant tomorrow as long as it’s okay with my mom.

The next day I knocked on Ms. Rosie’s door in my clothes I knew I could get dirty in! She told me yesterday to bring a notebook. Ms. Rosie answered the door thrilled to start gardening together. She even handed me my own gardening tools and gloves! I’ve never had this and I honestly find it so nice that she gave this to me. “Woah! Thank you so much for these tools! What are we going to do today?” I said. Ms. Rosie handed me seeds and said “We are going to plant these seeds and then we are going to write in journals about what we observe from the other plants that I have planted.” Ms. Rosie then goes to tell me about all the vegetables she planted such as tomatoes, cilantro, cucumbers, jalapeños, banana peppers, and extra plants and flowers to make it look pretty. I’m planting and adding bell peppers, the scientific name, Capsicum annum. Ms. Rosie said Bell peppers are considered less pungent and are easy to harvest.

When I was planting my bell peppers I thought to myself how cool this was and the connection I’m creating with the soil and plants around me. After planting my seeds of bell peppers, I wrote in my observation journal the date and what I did. After writing the observations, Ms. Rosie told me to write down my thoughts on gardening too. I wrote down how intriguing I think gardening is now and how I’m super excited to watch how my plant grows and to see the garden all finished. I got done writing down everything before Ms. Rosie. When she got done I asked her “Why do you like gardening so much?” She responded, “It’s good for our Earth and it’s good for our health. I like to focus on nurturing my garden and my plants and focusing on their health. Plants are organisms. They are like humans and you should treat them like such once you create a relationship with a plant you have to love it unconditionally.”

After that day, I didn’t stop journaling and observing my plant or garden for the whole summer. My bell pepper plant didn’t stop growing and it was so awesome to see. I go over to Ms. Rosie’s every day to talk to her and do observations for the day. Ms. Rosie inspired me and taught me the importance and positivity that gardening brings and I will never forget that.


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Humanizing Science through STEAM Challenges Copyright © 2021 by E.J. Bahng and John M. Hauptman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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