As most parents know children are very inquisitive and look to us the parent to gain valuable knowledge to progress further as they grow. So, what is more exciting and organic than making gardening adventurous for our little ones to feel a sense of achievement. Of course, with any type of outside activity, keeping their imagination flowing along with safety is key. With this guide your little green fingered people will be sure to be entertained for hours, take in the fresh air and tire them out in the process.
At Groves Nurseries, we like to encourage children to learn within the natural environment. Please visit: Gifts for Children for our wide variety of tools for little hands
What to plant and where
First things first, when it comes to planting anything in the garden or surrounding area planning is essential. There are a variety of places in which your little green fingered enthusiasts can make their own depending on what they choose to grow. Here is a rundown of children’s favourite plants to grow:
• Rosemary (or Rosmarinus officinalis to the garden enthusiasts) - Is an aromatic smelling herb that is robust enough when squeezed by excited fingers. Filling the air with a pine like fragrance, Rosemary is best to be planted in a place where there is a combination of partial shade and sunlight. When starting to grow rosemary, it is best to begin its growing process in a pot in well-drained, sandy soil and providing it with at least six to eight hours of sunlight. This is a fun way to introduce children to the magical world of herbs and for junior garden enthusiasts, introducing them to propagation.
• Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) - being an annual plant, it is the perfect flower for the impatient ones as it is easy to grow. Start by sowing the seeds in a pot in spring time when they start to grow they will have an abundance of hot coloured flowers and a great way to teach children about colour in the process. Placed in partial sunlight and shade, this vibrant plant grows best in the spring time in moist well-drained soil.
• Lambs Ears (Alchemilla mollis) - have a soft and furry feel to its leaves and are very popular with little fingers. This perennial plant is low in maintenance and best to be planted in a flower bed or rock garden. In summer, it produces spiky white or violet coloured flowers that will entice the bees to come out to play. To help them bloom, choose a place where there is full or partial sun light. Lamb’s ears will flourish best in well-drained, compost enhanced soil.
• Sweet pea (Lathyris odorata) - This sweetly scented flower comes in a variety of colours including white, red, pink, purple, lavender and a pastel blue. Described as butterflies because if its delicate petals, mainly grow during in summer, however these species are quite hardy and can bloom in late spring too. By starting this colourful plant in a pot of well-drained soil are the perfect choice for children as they can pick the flowers on a daily basis.
• Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) - Is the obvious choice for children as they are very easy to grow. In a matter of weeks, they will tower above everyone with its large vibrant yellow flower head, forming a natural bird feeder. Because of the sunflowers large size, it is always best to place this vigorous plant in fertile, well-drained soil containing heavy mulch. They require full sun to grow properly and develop best in the Summer months.
To protect little hands from the outdoor garden tasks, Groves Nurseries have a range of garden gloves. Please go to: https://grovesnurseries.co.uk/childrens-christmas-gifts
Children and gardening seem to be the obvious combination, I mean who wouldn’t want to have the chance to play with water and mud! But instead of getting too horticultural, keeping it simple is always best. Creating projects and giving them independence with little supervision is the best way forward. Not only will they learn how to garden but it builds confidence and gives a sense of achievement. Gardening is not only how to grow individual plants but it encourages them to take in the natural surroundings and other wildlife.