The weather is warming up and the days are becoming longer. Soon winter will seem like a distant memory and we’ll all be spending more time outdoors.
One of the first places we’ll be visiting is our own gardens and allotments – making sure that everything is ready for the season ahead. And with a little (or a lot) of encouragement, you could have a budding gardener waiting in the wings to offer a helping hand before long.
Start with a story. A book that features a garden, insects, flowers and vegetables will be sure to spark their imaginations and will have them wanting to get out in the garden in no time. From classic stories to illustrative books – there’s a page-turner out there that will plant the idea of gardening in your little one’s mind.
Give them part of the garden. Don’t fob them off with a patch full of weeds hidden behind the shed. Find them a little plot they’ll be proud of. Somewhere they’ll be able to see from the kitchen window will be perfect so they can admire their handy work from indoors.
Save up spare building, decorating or gardening materials such as tiles, split canes, string, pots etc. for your little Monty Don in-the-making to use as small-scale versions of full-sized garden accessories.
Tip! Large plant pots or round plastic containers are great to sink into the ground as miniature ponds. If you’re lucky, they’ll even attract wildlife too.
Encourage children to go along to the garden centre with you and choose their own or even better, get them from grandparents and friends of the family.
Children get bored easily, so suggest plants that produce quick results (small fuchsias and late-sown bedding plants are fast to flower) or have other uses like edible plants.
Building an insect hotel is a great way of getting little ones out in the garden. Find a place in sunlight or light shade and use whatever is lying around: old plant stems, cones, bark. Simply pile it up and use a few bricks to keep everything in place. A few old roof tiles will keep things dry. Frogs, ladybirds and other insects will love it.
From helping you sweep the patio to watering the plants at night, getting your little one to give you a hand can transform the most tedious of tasks into something a little more fun and is a great way of getting them interested in gardening.
So, no matter whether they take over your whole garden with ponds, plants and bug hotels or even just help you dead-head a few plants on a late summer’s evening, get your little one interested in gardening as soon as you can. You never know, it might just grow on them.