Since the beginning of Spring we've been pottering about in the garden with the kids trying to get them interested in all things 'flowers' and 'nature'. This is the first year that we have attempted such a thing as the kids are still only 3 and 1 and quite simply we've been too knackered to do much more than tend to a small patch of grass - and even mowing that sometimes felt too much!! We were sent a cute little children's gardening kit (Thank you Moneysupermarket!) to help us get the kids all green fingered. Noah kept calling the watering can a teapot at first.....
I started off by showing the kids how runner beans grow and we did this by putting the beans in a glass jar with a nice damp roll of kitchen towel and making sure that it had a bit of water in the bottom of the jar. Every day we would look at the bean as it began to sprout roots and shoots. It was fascinating. I always remember doing this as a child so I loved doing it with Isla and Noah. We also recycled some food containers (the bigger cardboard Twiglet tubes work well!) to use to grow our runner beans in before we planted them out.
There aren't many of them but they are now planted in the garden and they are entwining themselves around the canes that we put in the earth. We find it so fascinating the way the tendrils wrap themselves around the cane, the kids love that we have our very own beanstalks, just need to hope there are no giants....
Isla and I paid a visit to the garden centre and we bought a few plants to put in pots and also some sweet pea seeds as I have long had a desire to have sweet peas growing in my garden - they smell so lovely and the flowers are so delicately beautiful. Isla and I planted them and we took care to make sure the little seeds grew into seedlings.
|Yes the kids were using dessert spoons before we got a gardening kit!|
We invested in a very small makeshift greenhouse - we don't have a massive garden so it was only a £20 one that could house our seedlings to protect them from the unusually long winter!
I also have to point out that the life of a seedling is perilous in our garden. On two occasions our pots got knocked off the shelves in the little greenhouse and I found myself one morning (6.45am) scrabbling around in my dressing gown in the pouring rain re-potting all our much loved little green shoots!! I was desperate for us to be successful at growing things from scratch!
We also found that we had some flowers in our garden that we never knew we had! Foxgloves have popped up in the last week. We also have Granny's Bonnet (Aquilegia vulgaris - oooh get me with my latin names!) - from my Dad's garden which has self seeded in a few other places. And that's another thing that I love about gardening, you can pinch little bits and bobs from other people's gardens (well strictly speaking, only people you know!). What excellent freebies!
We came across a couple of little friends while we were gardening too, which was a nice. surprise! Gardening is actually really helping with Isla's irrational fears of bugs and creepy crawlies.
All in all we're really enjoying spending time as a family in our little garden. Apart from flowers and a few runner beans we've also planted to some herbs so I'm hoping that we will also get to sample the fruits of our labours at dinner time as well. There are so many valuable lessons to be learnt from gardening.