Young gardeners have fun
of us share our gardens with our children. Some of the
best moments of family life are enjoyed there. It shouldn't
be a case of "get that ball off my flowers" but instead
"Dad, my seeds have grown up bigger than yours, can
I plant them out now?" Treehouse is a column about children
and gardens, sometimes it will be written by grown ups,
and sometimes by children. In this first edition, Greenfingers
Dreamteamer Stephen Anderton - who shares his garden
with Lydia (8), Rosamund (14) and Eleanor (16) - gives
a few of his ideas to get your kids interested.
So, how can you interest children in gardening? How
do you interest them in something, which despite your
best efforts, never works out the way you planned it
for more than a couple of weeks, or in something which
will sometimes even die on you? This is not the stuff
of childhood security, is it? Failure never stimulated
anyone's interest, and nor did being dragged around
stately gardens on hot afternoons!
The answer is to give children some gardening to do
which brings results. Fast. Give them something to grow
which can be eaten fresh off the plant, like tomatoes.
Start from seed
if you must, but buying a plant is a more certain way
of achieving results. Introduce a bit of friendly competition
-give them each their own courgette plant for example,
and let brothers vie with sisters to grow the biggest
and best-fed Zeppelin in the vegetable patch. Or try
starting them with something which grows so fast you
can almost watch it move!
But the plants are the soft soap, the bribe. More important
is to assume from the start that children will be interested
in gardening, and to regard that as normal. After all,
what child doesn't enjoy getting their hands dirty?
Include them in your planning. Remember, it's their
home as much as it is yours.
Play the 'What if...' game when you think about making
changes to the shape of a lawn
or the route of a path. The designer Tommy Church once
planned a whole garden for a client around a circular
ride way for their daughter to cycle along.
Let garden design be fun, just as much as growing tomatoes,
and let it be a part of ordinary family life. That way
you will never find yourself wondering how to interest
them in gardening. With luck they will start bringing
ideas to you.
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reprinted with permission from Greenfingers.com