COVID-19
We are delighted to now be able to deliver roses to mainland UK.   Unfortunately, all other items on our website are currently for delivery to West Dorset and East Devon only.

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At home... with the kids


ACTIVITIES AND PROJECTS FOR THE KIDS




Create a Family

Get the whole family involved in this creative project. A reminder that you and your family got through this period. Get your creative juices flowing. A great conversation starter. Fill out the simple template and start a scrapbook! Interview your grandparents (see the questions on page 3) and add the stories into your book. Don't forget to add photos!

You could also plant a real tree and gather the family (who are already at home together!) around it for a group photo. Make this picture taking an annual event and collect the photos together in an album. As the years pass you’ll create a wonderful keepsake to pass down, a true family tree. Who knows? Perhaps years from now your grandchildren or great-grandchildren will add photos of themselves and their families standing beneath the spreading branches of the now stately tree that was once a spindly sapling planted by you and your children long ago during the COVID-19. 

Materials (just a list for inspiration but you can use anything!)

Scrapbook
Various depending on which kind of tree you decide to make. 
Paper - Marker Pens - Photos (optional)

Share with us your creation on GROVES NURSERIES Facebook page 

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY SHEET HERE 


Magic Miniature Garden

Design a beautiful miniature garden to inspire you. Maybe you could base it on a real garden you would like to design (always good to start with a plan!) or, go to complete fantasyland and create a magical garden for fairies and dragons. Anything you like. Start by going outside and collecting things for your garden. Let your imagination run wild and use whatever you have to hand.

A box or container to build your magic garden. Recycle containers from the supermarket or seed trays from the garden centre.
Use an egg box lid or an old frame. If you use a box - cut the side lower so its more like a tray. 

Materials (just a list for inspiration but you can use anything!)

PVA glue, scissors, sellotape, string, clay (to make little creatures for your garden), cane or sticks, leaves, grass, flower petals, sand, pebbles and rocks, blue paper or tin foil for a pond.

Toothpicks, matchsticks, bottletops, earth, moss, buttons, cardboard, cotton reels, small pots and anything else you have about!

Share with us photos of your miniature garden on GROVES NURSERIES Facebook page 

Design your garden first?


DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY SHEET HERE 

Bee Friendly

Bees are an important part of our world, they help to pollinate plants that create the food that we eat. But bee numbers have been dropping over the years and now they need help. The good news is that we can all do little things to help save bees.

 Activities:

1. Plant a bee friendly garden
Try growing some bee-friendly plants. Cottage garden flowers like geraniums, wallflowers, lavender and hollyhocks make a great display. A pond or bird bath can be a useful source of drinking water for bees.
2. Grow some herbs
A lot of herbs are good for bees, and smell delicious – they can be added to meals as well. A herb garden is a relaxing sensory place for children – or even a pot of herbs near a bench if space is limited. Bees love wild marjoram, mint, fennel, borage, chives, rosemary, sage, hyssop among others.
3. Create a bee corridor
Try to link your bee-friendly area to other ones to make it easier for bees to move between spaces. You could do this by creating a corridor of wildflowers around the edge of your garden. Digging up the grass in some areas and planting wildflower seeds or plugs will give them a better start.
4. Grow a hedge
You could try a variety of plants. Ask a Groves expert what would suit your garden.  and even fruiting plants like raspberry and currant bushes, as well as Hawthorn
5. Use alternatives to herbicides or weed killers
Cut weeds back where they really need to be removed, but leave them where you can. Ask a Groves expert for advice about more natural pest control - there are many alternatives.
6. Grow some fruit
Fruit trees and plants are great for bees, as well as helping us eat healthily. Cherries, strawberries and raspberries are an especially big treat and even more so if you pick them yourself!
7. Create bee hotels
You can make these by tying together bamboo canes, making gaps under paving slabs or drilling holes in wood. Put the bee hotels in your bee-friendly areas. Find out how to create a large bee and bug hotel with wooden pallets or a small bee and bug hotel. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY
8. Grow honeysuckle
If you have some wall space, a boundary or outbuilding, you could grow honeysuckle.
9. Grow sunflowers
The sunflowers could all be planted along the edge of your garden to encourage bees.
10. Save a "struggling" bee
If you come across a struggling bee, it could be suffering from exhaustion, have a parasite or simply been caught out in the rain.  It might be cold so put a piece of paper under it and place it somewhere warm. A simple solution of sugar and water helps revive exhausted bees. To create this energy drink for bees to revive tired bees, The RSPB suggests mixing two tablespoons of white, granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water, and placing the mix on a plate or spoon.. .. Share with us photos of the bees you have spotted on GROVES NURSERIES Facebook page 

Which bee's have you seen in your garden?


DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY SHEET HERE 


Butterfly Crop Protector

Design and make a fantastic insect crop protector to keep the birds away from your plants.

Materials:
A range of waterproof materials – e.g. empty plastic drinks bottles, bubble wrap, empty yoghurt pots.
Thick pipe cleaners or garden wire
PVA glue
Sticky tape
String
Cane or stick
Red string or piece of plastic
 
Instructions:

1. To make the wings, bend a large pipe cleaner or piece of wire in to a loop and twist the ends together. Cover the wings with a piece of bubble wrap, fabric or other waterproof material, and use sticky tape or glue to fix it on to the wing shape. You will need to make four wings; think about patterns and colours if you decorate them.
2. Take the clean drinks bottle and, using pipe cleaners or wire, attach the wings around the bottle.
3. Fix two further pieces of wire or pipe cleaners to the top of the bottle to be the antennae and stick the red piece of plastic in the bottle opening to represent the proboscis (the long 'nose' on the front of an insect).
4. Attach your butterfly by string or wire to the cane and choose somewhere to place it in your vegetable plot. .. Share with us photos of your creations on our GROVES NURSERIES Facebook page 

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY SHEET HERE 


Make pots for plants from your old tin cans

Sort out your recycling and create a new life for some old tin cans. It's everything you are looking for in a plant container - inexpensive but with a bit of character. They look great inside on a window sill or on a balcony or patio space. Here's how you can transform a tin container into a rustic plant pot.

Materials:
Tin can (can be any shape or size - use your imagination)
Washing-up liquid
Hammer and nail
Soil
Plant/flowers/herbs, or whatever takes your fancy
 
Instructions:
1. Collect some old tin cans.
2. Clean out the cans. For ones that held oil, wipe out the grease before you wash them. You can either remove labels from the outside or leave them on to weather down.
3. Use a hammer and nail to make drainage holes in the bottom of the tin. 
4. Fill the tin with soil and plant your flowers or herbs or vegetables. If you don't have any seeds consider getting some cuttings from the garden or growing from kitchen scraps. Your pot may rust over time, but this is all part of its charm. What else can be recycled to make a useful garden container? I used some old biscuit tins... Share with us your recycled pots on our GROVES NURSERIES Facebook page or scroll down for more fun activities. 

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Grow your own from kitchen scraps

Did You Know You Can Grow Vegetables From Scraps? You can either grow these indoors, outdoors, or near your kitchen window. It can save money, cut down on food waste, and teach valuable lessons about nature and sustainability. From celery and onions to beets and ginger root, scraps often have plenty of life left. They just need a chance to avoid the compost pile. It's a case of trial and error but here are a list of foods that you could try. Choose your favourite and go for it!

Materials:
Some growing medium to plant and containers to grow your vegetables and herbs in.
Recycle packaging like plastic containers, jam jars, egg boxes etc.
 
Suggestions:
Lettuce
Lettuce, Bok Choy and cabbage are relatively easy to grow from scraps. Instead of throwing out those leftover leaves, simply place them in a bowl with just a bit of water in the bottom. Keep the bowl somewhere that gets good sunlight and mist the leaves with water a couple of times each week. After 3 or 4 days, you will notice roots beginning to appear along with new leaves. When this happens you can transplant your lettuce or cabbage in soil.

Celery
Celery is one of the easiest foods to grow from leftover scraps. Just cut off the bottom or base of your celery and lay it in a bowl with just a bit of warm water in the bottom. Keep the bowl in direct sunlight as long as possible each day and after about a week, you will begin to see the leaves thickening and growing along the base. When this happens, you can transplant your celery in soil and wait for it to grow to full length.

Potatoes
Virtually everyone knows that potatoes can be grown from potato peelings. You need peelings that have eyes on them. Cut those peelings into two inch pieces, ensuring that there are at least two or three eyes on each piece. Allow them to dry out overnight and then simply plant them about four inches deep in your soil. Make sure that the eyes are facing up when planting. It will take a few weeks before you see the potato plant begin to grow.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes can be grown much like regular potatoes. You just have to cut the sweet potato in half and suspend it using toothpicks above a container of shallow water. Roots will begin to appear in just a few days and sprouts will be seen on top of the potato around that same time. Once those sprouts reach about four inches or so in length, just twist them off and place them in a container of water. When the roots from this container reach about an inch in length, you can plant them in soil.

Ginger
Ginger root is very easy to grow and once you get started, you can keep your supply of ginger full. You just need to plant a spare piece of your ginger root in potting soil, making sure that the buds are facing up. You will notice new shoots and new roots in about a week or so and once this happens you can pull it up and use it again. Remember to save a piece of the rhizome so that you can replant it and grow more for the next time you need it.

Garlic
Garlic is really easy to grow and can be done from just one clove. When you buy garlic, you get several cloves so just pull one off and plant it with the roots facing down in potting soil. Garlic likes plenty of direct sunlight so in warmer weather, keep it outdoors in the sun during the day. Once you notice that new shoots have established, cut the shoots back and your plant will produce a bulb. You can take part of this new bulb and plant again.

Onions
Onions are very easy to grow indoors or out. You just have to cut the root of the onion off and make sure that you leave about a half an inch of onion when you do. Cover lightly with potting soil and keep in a sunny area. For green onions, simply put the white base with the roots intact in a container of water and place in direct sunlight. Change the water out every few days and the green will continue to grow. Just snip what you need and allow it to grow as long as you like.

Pumpkins
Did you save those seeds from your carved pumpkins on Halloween? If you have a shop bought pumpkin save a couple for growing new pumpkins. Just spread the seeds out in a sunny area outdoors and cover with soil.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes can be grown just by saving those seeds that you probably throw out anyway. You just have to rinse the seeds and allow them to dry. Plant in a good, rich potting soil until you notice growth coming in. Allow the seeds to get a few inches high before transplanting them outdoors. During cold weather you can grow your tomatoes indoors. Just remember to keep them in an area that gets plenty of sunlight and water a few times each week.

Basil
Basil is relatively easy to regrow. You just have to have a stem about four inches high. Place this stem in a glass of water with the leaves well above the water line. Leave the glass sitting in a bright area but not in direct sunlight. Roots should begin to form in a few days and when those roots reach a couple of inches long, you can transplant them in soil.

Coriander
Coriander can be grown from scraps as well. Just place the bottom of the stem in a glass of water and leave in a bright area, near a windowsill perhaps. When the roots grow a couple of inches long, you can transplant the plant into a pot and you will notice new sprigs in just a few weeks.

Apples
You can plant seeds from those delicious apples and grow your own apple trees. These are a little difficult but they will grow although you should note that you can plant several of the seeds from a single apple and end up with different types of apple trees. Just allow the seeds to dry out and then plant them. Note that you will need at least two apple trees in order for them to grow well so save more than one seed the next time you enjoy an apple.

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Build a Bug Hotel

Re-use your waste to make a hotel for wildlife. You may have lots of this lying around in the garden. Recycle what you can.  At any given time, your garden might contain over 2,000 species of insects. Many are beneficial insects, the kind you want to attract because they work with you to control pests and pollinate flowers.

Beneficial insects support biodiversity, the foundation for the world’s ecological balance. An insect hotel in your garden will attract these beneficial insects, offering them a space where they can propagate and hunker down and hangout. Encouraging biodiversity in the garden helps to increase ecosystem productivity.

Placing an insect hotel in the garden increases the chances that beneficial insects will naturally visit your garden. In addition to their decorative qualities, they help supplement the increasing loss of natural habitats.


Instructions:

Some things you might have lying around that you can use for your structure: an old drawer, a biscuit tin, a wooden crate or box, a deep picture frame, pallets 

1. Pile up your pallets (or whatever you’re using to make the floors of your hotel) on top of each other. Make sure there’s space between each floor – you can use house bricks for creating space between the floors of your hotel if you need to. 

2. As you pile up your layers get a grown up to make sure each layer of the hotel is stable. 

3. Fill some of the gaps between your pallets with bamboo canes or twigs. Line up the canes or sticks so the ends face out of your hotel; that way your insect guests can crawl  in easily. 

4. Stuff the other spaces between the floors of your hotel with the different materials you have. 

5. For your hotel’s green roof, nail or fix some wood about three centimetres high all the way around the edge of the top of your hotel.

6. Next, line your roof with the weed control fabric or membrane. You should now be in a position to ‘fill up’ your roof with compost without any spilling out or falling through into your insect hotel. 

7. Cover the fabric or membrane with a layer of multipurpose compost that comes nearly up to the top of the wood edging of your roof. 

8. Plant the compost layer with your turf, moss or succulent plants. You’ve now got a green roof for your five star  bug hotel!

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To fill in the layers of your hotel: • Bamboo canes • Paving slabs • Stones • Sticks, twigs, branches and leaves, fir cones • Broken non-plastic plant pots • House bricks

For your hotel’s green roof: • Wooden strips for edging the roof about 3 centimetres wide • Galvanised nails • Weed control fabric or membrane • Multipurpose compost • Plants (turf, moss or succulent plants are great)

 

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY SHEET HERE 

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Scavenger Hunt

Although the garden provides many opportunities for exploration, sometimes it helps if kids have some direction to begin their observations. A scavenger hunt can provide a little bit of structure while still offering the flexibility for individual discovery.

Materials:

• List of items to find (see overleaf)

• Clipboard

• Pencil

Approximate Time to Complete: 15 minutes +

Location: Outdoor 

Ages: 4-10


Instructions:

1. Create a list of items commonly seen in the garden and nature such as leaves, birds, insects, rocks, etc. Theolder the  children participating in the hunt, the more specific your list can be. For example, instead of asking them to find a bird, ask them to find a cardinal.  To adapt the activity for younger children, use pictures to make your list (hand drawn or cut from a magazine). 


2. Place your completed list on a clipboard; then grab a pencil (or crayon) and visit your garden, a park, nature trail or some other type of a community green space.


3. There are many ways to adapt this activity. Here are a few ideas:

• Make a nature bracelet. If playing in a public space it is best to hunt with your eyes, but if you are in your own yard or another location where collection is acceptable, kids can make bracelets from masking tape (sticky side out). As your child finds the (non-living) items on the list, have him/her stick the items to the bracelet. At the end of the game, kids will have a fun keepsake to show off.

• Rather than basing your hunt on visual characteristics, you could also develop a sound, texture, or smell, hunt (or an edible hunt if you have a vegetable or herb garden and your child is old enough to understand not to eat unknown items).

• If your child or children are highly competitive, keep track of the time it takes to find all the items, trying to beat your previous times, or add prizes! 

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY SHEET HERE 

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WELCOME

As schools shut down to stave off the spread of the coronavirus, you might be wondering what to do with your children home all day. Gardening is a great way to combine learning and offers valuable life skills.Responsibility.Teaching your children the importance of responsibility and looking after their plants will set them in good stead for all of their life.

Creativity - Gardening is a great way to stimulate your little ones' imaginations and encourage them to exercise their creativity.

Nutrition. Growing fresh food and learning where food comes from and how it is grown will help your children make better nutritional choices in the future.

Health and Fitness. Encouraging children to get outdoors will improve their sensory and physical development

Discovery. From observing how the sunshine affects the growth of plants, through to watching insects play in the garden, children will be able to gain an appreciation for nature and the circle of life

Self Confidence. Gardening can help boost self-esteem, stimulate independent thought, and increase engagement levels

A lot of us are parents here at Groves. And while the coronavirus is new to all of us, we have a bunch of ideas for how to keep our kids busy, entertained, and learning while they're home. It’s a great excuse to get outside into the fresh air and relax.

Even if you haven’t got a garden you can still start growing indoors in pots or on a patio or balcony. Make use of what you have lying about. Old cans or egg boxes make great containers from which to start seedlings growing.

Firstly you need to get some compost or growing medium. If you are not sure which one to get just ask us. We have a team of plant experts in house to help. As long as there is light and water – away you go!

We hope these projects helps ease the burden of this confusing time.  Hang in there. One day at a time… and keep your garden growing (and your kids learning).

Here are a few projects to get started on.


BIRD BALLS

Great to hang in your garden or balcony to attract birds to your garden.

Shopping list (we can home deliver)

  • Wild bird seed (to help them fly)
  • Dried mealworms (a favourite treat)
  • Suet (vegetarian/vegan options available)
  • Dried berries (yum yum)
  • Peanuts (to give them energy)
  • String

 Instructions:

Find somewhere to hang your Bird Ball from. For example, a tree, or a windowsill…

In a bowl, mix the bird seed, meal worms and peanuts together.

Put 1 cup of suet and 2 cups of the seed into a bowl and mix.

Put the mixture into a saucepan and heat until the suet has melted (medium heat), stirring the mixture continuously.

Leave to cool for a couple of minutes.

Cut each bit of string to 30cm long and tie one end into a tight knot 3 times.

Take a handful of the mixture from the bowl, place the knotted end of the string into the middle of the mixture, and create a ball around the string using your hands.

Stick the dried berries around the Bird Ball to attract the birds.

Place the Bird Ball in the fridge and leave to cool overnight.

Once the mixture has cooled/set, hang the Bird Ball up for the birds to eat!

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY SHEET HERE 


 

 GROW A PALLET GARDEN

Re-use and recycle with this garden for a small space!


Shopping list (we can home deliver)

Some weed control fabric or membrane

Some multi-purpose compost

Scented garden herbs like oregano, marjoram, thyme or basil

Some bedding plants like petunia or lobelia (ideally picktrailing plants – you can usually see if it’s trailing by looking at the plantlabels)

Galvanised nails or tacks

Of course you’ll also need a wooden pallet, try asking Groves if they have any spare that might be going to waste - we often have some.

  

Instructions:

Lay your pallet flat on the ground with the gaps in the pallet you’re going to grow your plants out of facing down to the floor.

Cover the back and sides of the pallet (e.g. the face that’snow facing up, and the edges of your pallet) with a double thickness of weed control membrane or fabric, nailing or tacking the fabric into place. You should end up with the back and all sides of the pallet sealed with the fabric.For extra strength, you can re-inforce the fabric with chicken wire if you want to.

Turn your pallet over so the gaps you’re going to plant in are now facing upwards. Fill the pallet up with compost by tipping the compost through the gaps.

Give the pallet a good watering; if you need to, top it up with compost.

Plant your plants into the gaps in the pallet. Make sure you leave some space between the plants as they’ll grow to fill out the space. Tryand mix up your herbs and flowers.

When you’ve finished planting, gently lean your pallet up against a wall. It will be heavy, so get a grown up to help.

Keep the pallet watered from the top.




 GROW AN EDIBLE HANGING BASKET

Grow tasty, tumbling food for your family

Shopping list (we can home deliver)

A wire hanging basket

Sphagnum moss planter liner, or sisal

Multipurpose compost

Plant food or fertiliser

A hook or wall bracket and screws to hang your basket

Plants: choose from: tumbling cherry tomatoes, strawberry plants, chives, basil, or parsley, lettuce, and trailing nasturtiums

 

Instructions:

Line your basket with the sphagnum moss or sisal.

Fill the basket you’ve lined with the compost

Put your plants into the compost in your basket. You can do this in the basket, and by poking holes through the sides of the basket and planting your plants through these holes. Make sure you take your plants out of any little pots or packaging they were sold in before you plant them in your basket.

Water your basket well and make sure the plants are firmly in place.

Hang the basket from your hook or wall bracket. Make sure you get an adult to put up the hook or wall bracket for you.

Check your basket every day. Make sure the compost stays wet and give it some plant food about once a week.

As your basket grows treat it like a pet – feed it and water it well and it’ll give you lots of tasty food over the summer!


 

GROW A PIZZA WHEEL

Grow your own pizza toppings

 

Shopping list (we can home deliver)

Seeds or very young plants for the pizza toppings you want to grow

Multi-purpose compost

Plant food

A spade or trowel

A watering can

Stones or bricks to mark out your pizza wheel

  

Instructions:

Make a circle on the ground where you want your pizza wheel to go. Use your stones or bricks. Or you could use a big container instead.

Dig up the ground in your circle really well and mix in your compost. Rake it over so it’s level.

Give the soil a good stamp down to get rid of any air bubbles in it, and then rake it over again.

Divide your circle into four or five pizza slices using more of your stones or bricks.

Pick a pizza topping you want to grow in each of your pizza slices. Some good ones are basil, rocket, spinach, rainbow chard, tomatoes or peppers.

Sow the seeds or plant your very young plants in your pizza wheel and water them.

If it’s cold, try sowing the seeds in a pot with some compost. Keep the pot indoors and water it until the plants start to grow. When the plants are about as big as your thumb try planting them out into your pizza wheel.

In a few weeks you should start to see them come up and you can then start putting your plants on your pizzas!


 

BAMBOO TIPI

Grow a den made of bean plants

 

Shopping list (we can home deliver)

Some bamboo canes

Some garden string

Runner bean seeds or young plants

A trowel

Multipurpose compost

Watering can

  

Instructions:

Find a spot in the garden where you want to grow your tipi.

Mark out a circle (it can help to use sand). This is where you want the edge of your tipi to be.

Push the bamboo canes into the soil leaving about 10 to 20cm between each cane. Leave a 50 cm gap between two of the canes for the way in to your tipi.

Tie the canes together using the garden string at the top.You might need a tall grown up to help!

Near the bottom of each cane, dig a little planting hole and fill it with some compost.

Plant a runner bean seed or young plant in each of the planting holes. There are lots of types of bean so have fun choosing. If you are using seeds, use two in each planting hole in case one doesn’t sprout.

When you’re done, give them a good water. Runner beans like water so give them plenty as they grow.

Your beans will grow over your canes and make a tipi. You can use it as a den, and pick, cook and eat the beans that grow.

 


 

GROW A VEGETABLE PICTURE

Grow edible plants into a work of art.

Angie Porter Posted by Angie Porter


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