How To Make Gardening Fun For Children

Outdoor activities with children

Use seeds from fruit and vegetables to show children where seeds originate from and how they grow. Examples which we have personally tried include dried chickpeas which are put into a dish on top of wet cotton wool. The chickpea plants grow quickly usually within 10 days. Avocado seeds can be left in a shallow bowl of water and will sprout roots and eventually grow into a plant. We have one on our kitchen window which is a year old and two foot high, although I doubt it will ever produce fruit the children love the plant and remember the growing process.

Collect leaves and organise them into size order. Add the leaves to scrapbooks and identify the plant or tree they come from. Once complete, leave the scrapbook under a heavy object for a month or so, to preserve the leaves. Encourage your children to look at the leaves in detail, draw the leaves and colour in.

Make a daisy chain and have a competition for the longest daisy chain. Make necklaces, bracelets and crowns. The daisy chains can be dried in the airing cupboard to last a long time.

Indoor activities with children

Paint plant pots. Use a terracotta pot, emulsion or other water based paint and different size brushes or sponges. Make sure the children use an apron or wear old clothes as this gets messy. Position the pot upside down and paint patterns such as lines, spots, flowers, faces etc. Once the pots are dry they can be completed by adding a plant.

How To Make A Butterfly Garden

Butterflies need shelter from shrubs or trees, warmth and nectar. There are 50 varieties of butterflies here in the UK however unfortunately they are becoming a rare species. There a number of plants that can help encourage butterflies to use your garden or even breed. Here is our top ten:

1. Aubretia, Aubrieta 'Doctor Mules'; a carpet-forming plant that produces rich blue or purple flowers in May and June.
2. Butterfly bush, Buddleja davidii; this plant produces cone-shaped clusters of tiny beautiful flowers in either purple, white, pink, or red. Perfect attraction for butterflies!
3. Golden rod, Solidago 'Goldenmosa'; a clump-forming border plant that produces feathery, golden coloured flower-heads towards the end of summer and early autumn.
4. Honesty, Lunaria annua; a tall plant with heart-shaped leaves and sweet-smelling pink or violet-purple flowers from April to June.
5. Ivy, Hedera helix; an evergreen climbing vine that are perfect for supplying winter nectar for the few remaining butterflies in your garden.
6. Lavender, Lavandula; a garden favourite, producing white, pink, blue or purple aromatic flowers during the summer months. Flowers and foliage can be used for making pot-pourri.
7. Red valerian, Centranthus ruber; a cottage garden plant that produces clusters of red flowers from mid-summer through to autumn. Great for dry soil.
8. Small scabious, Scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'; a long-flowering plant that produces stunning lavender-blue flowers from late spring up to autumn.
9. Sweet rocket, Hesperis matronalis; deliciously scented plant that produces white, violet or purple flowers from May to August.
10. Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum; a plant that produces spiny flower-heads of pink and purple in mid-summer.

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