One year my daughter made my husband what he considers his favorite Father’s Day gift: A garden.

She claimed a tiny patch of ground in our larger garden, carefully selected just-the-right seedlings from the “plant store” and exuberantly hoed, planted and watered.  The result:  a riotous mix of pink, yellow, orange and red blooms. Zinnias, marigolds and a vibrant Gerber daisy.

This Father’s Day, Dad might love a few flowers. They might show up in a surprise garden created by your kids, or bud from a carefully tended seed in a pot. (See “16 Tips for Wildlife Gardening With Kids”) Or you could learn how to attract butterflies, birds, and other wildlife to your new garden by providing the right habitat.

Great Nature Books to Go With a Garden

Seed, Soil, SunAlong with the flowers, he might appreciate one or two beautifully photographed nature books.

Author Cris Peterson and photographer David Lundquist create a bouquet for the ears and eyes in Seed, Soil, Sun (Boyds Mills, 2010, ages 4 and up).

Peterson does a fine job of explaining the plant growth cycle in child-friendly language while Lundquist captures the happy glow of youngsters watching earthworms, digging in the dirt and engaged in outdoor activity.

Animal Colors (EarlyLight Books, 2009, ages 4 and up) is a garden of bright critters from around the world.  Author/photographer Beth Fielding includes a succinct factual description for each featured animal, from the tiny red velvet mite to the black-and-white Orca whale.

Be sure to share two cool facts with Dad as the summer approaches.

  1. From Seed, Soil, Sun: “More corn seeds are planted each year in the United States than any other kind of seed.”
  2. And from Animal Colors: The snowy owl of the chilly Arctic “pants like a dog when hot to cool off.”

Happy Father’s Day!