Three Kids, One Cabbage and a Caterpillar…

Cabbage Transplants

Last fall, I planted a flower garden with my children using their old, plastic swimming pool.  You can read more about “A Children’s Garden in an Unusual Place” if you like.  The flowers grew and the kids loved taking care of watering their new plants.  

My mother, (Pastor Farmer), had a few cabbage transplants that she had purchased for her vegetable garden left over and gave them to the kids.  So, we planted two cabbages in the flower garden.

Like most children, my 3 youngest children love to play outside.  One morning, my daughter ran in and told me to hurry outside “to see something really neat.”

Cabbage Transplants

Cabbage Transplants

What they had discovered was a little caterpillar on one of our transplanted cabbages.  It was so small that I had to put on my “old lady” reading glasses just to see him clearly.

The kids were so excited about their find that they were jumping up and down.  Isn’t it amazing at how the simple things bring such joy into a child’s life?

Cabbage Transplants

Here is the caterpillar, who the kids named “Wormy”.  I apologize for the out of focus picture, but it is the best one that I have of him.

My children moved a patio chair right next to the the garden so that they could observe their new pet closely.  For three weeks, they would hurry home from school and run outside to sit and watch him – (at least I think it is a him).   

Then in January, the rains came and one day, we could no longer see “Wormy”.  My fear was that maybe he had been washed away by the storm.  To be honest, the kids were not too upset because by that time, they had tired of watching him all of the time and had moved on to watching their new rose shrubs grow.  I am thankful that at least “Wormy” lives on in our pictures and I have another childhood story to share with my children when they grow up.

By the way, the Three Little Roses are doing well and I will post pictures soon.  There have actually been a few surprises.

I hope you are all having a great week!

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
15 replies
  1. Darla
    Darla says:

    So exciting when the children get involved in Nature this way. Our family acts the same way…you always have to 'come see' what they have found now.

  2. Edith Hope
    Edith Hope says:

    Dear Noelle, What an absolutely enchanting story and what a delight your children must be to you. I should like to think that Wormy was not washed away by the rain but is now transformed into the most beautiful butterfly.

  3. Hocking Hills Gardener
    Hocking Hills Gardener says:

    To see the world through the eyes of a child. Everything is a new discovery and exciting. Especially bugs of every kind. We were the same way.Walking sticks sort of freaked me out then. LOL! It is wonderful that you are teaching them about gardening and nature. Good job Noelle.

  4. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    Noelle, you are such a good mama, teaching your children about the plants that grow and letting them explore whatever catches their interest. I bet "Wormy" made a powerful impact on their imaginations and their understanding of the world, and I'm with Edith on this one: he probably lived out the rest of his life on the wing. 🙂

  5. Christine B.
    Christine B. says:

    As a kid, we convinced my mom to let us have a leech as a pet that we found at a nearby lake. Can you imagine? I think we tired of him after a few days (or maybe it was mom that did) and back into the lake he went. Worms are much better pets….

    Christine in Alaska

  6. Kyna
    Kyna says:

    When you put on your glasses, did you see him smoking a little hookah? 😀
    Sorry, I just say Alice in Wonderland last night lol.

  7. James Missier
    James Missier says:

    I'm sure they will be very excited to see it turn to pupa & finally into a butterfly.

    I had my son see the whole process and enjoy seeing the butterfly take its maiden flight.

  8. Rose
    Rose says:

    What a sweet story! Now I would have been upset to find a caterpillar in my cabbages:) But I did plant some parsley and fennel last year specifically for the caterpillars, and the grandkids loved going out to check on them whenever they visited.

    Sorry I haven't been around this week–it's been a crazy week, and I've been gone most of the time. I was going to e-mail you, but I can't get your e-mail icon to work for me. I'm going to be in Scottsdale next week and am planning to visit the DBG one day. If you have time, you can e-mail me at prairierose150 at gmail dot com.

  9. Andrea
    Andrea says:

    Hahaha Noelle, i love that story. I also share with it. When my nephew and niece are still young we also take care of larvae in their own habitat/plants. That is my way of teaching them the facts of life, and subtly putting in their heads the beauty and importance of nature. When they are grown up and maybe like me already enmeshed in city life, i hope they will appreciate the knowledge they learned there. I make sure our environment is like our big laboratory where our kids learn many things, without being bored. The sad thing is we tried putting catterpillars inside meshed containers, of course with their plant food. Our purpose is to see them pupate and eventually watch metamorphosis. However, our few attempts failed because ants eat them before they go into the next stage of their life. We sometimes get pupa and watch them, but same kind of ants also eat them. In the natural habitat it is really difficult to watch life stages because usually they also leave the plant at night or to hide for pupation.

    oh it is already so long, i am sorry.

  10. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    How cute! It's so great that your kids enjoy watching the happenings in the garden. I really think that kids that grow up learning about gardens and nature end up being adults that care about taking care of the world around them.
    PS I had to laugh at Kyna's comment 🙂

  11. says:

    Thank you, thank you and thank you for your comments! The children's garden will soon be emptied and the soil used for our new vegetable garden that the kids and I are building.

    Kathleen, the three roses we planted were Graham Thomas, William Shakespeare and Abraham Darby. I can hardly wait for them to bloom!

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