If you want a child's undivided attention, host a tea party, suggests Agatha Youngblood, a gardener in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
There's something about the ceremony of brewing and sipping tea that soothes and settles everyone, she says, even the young and restless. Set aside a special place in the garden just for this activity. Add enough props to make it magical. And solicit your young guests' help in creating the scene. "That really makes the tea garden theirs," says Youngblood.
It worked for her. She turned the area near her California pepper tree into a tea garden. With the help of her granddaughter Caroline, then 7, Youngblood laid down a brick floor, brought in some French cafe furniture, and hung sun catchers (circles of colored glass) on transparent plastic fishing line from the tree's branches.
This last touch is what created the magic, Youngblood says. "The way the sun bounces off the glass in the late afternoon makes
you feel like you're inside a colored light," she says. "We both love it."