2016 marks 150 years since the birth of Beatrix Potter, one of the world’s best-loved children’s authors. We enjoy the stories and have a few bits of pottery with the characters on.
Inspired by this, I thought it would be fun to make a miniature garden with some of the plants that are mentioned in the stories. Did you know that Peter Rabbit is eating a radish, not a carrot, in the famous Beatrix Potter illustration? The radish is believed to be the Long Scarlet Radish.
Gardening with children
Gardening with children is great fun whatever their age. Now that the weather is starting to warm up why not involve the children and ‘grow your own’?
Digging, sowing, planting and watering are great activities, indoors or out.
Taking responsibility for something small but lovely is a great life lesson.
Children love planting seeds, and watching them grow.
They also tend to love water play and watering plants is a great way to teach children all about how things grow.
I decided to invest in a mini watering can and some other tools as it makes it easier for the children to use and also makes it special.
Give them their own section and allow them to care for it, even if it is with lots of guidance!
I thought it would be fun to build a Peter Rabbit Garden in a container. I didn’t want to go and buy anything, especially as all sorts of containers/vessels can be used from wellies to sandpits! I found last years water tray in the garage which I thought would work.
I then did a quick bit of research to remind myself what grew in the garden. There are lots of vegetables, fruits and herbs. Mr McGregor had a greenhouse and a vegetable plot.
Here is a list of some of the plants mentioned in the Peter Rabbit stories:
- Lemon Balm • Rosemary • Parsley • Strawberry
- Mint • Lettuce • Radish • Calendula • Sage
- Chamomile • Tomato • Lavender • Thyme
Radishes and Parsley seemed to fit with what I wanted as they are both easy to grow. We also decided to grow some tomatoes. We used a Cherry Tomato Seed Pod which is so simple! All we had to do was push the pod into the soil, leave uncovered and water.
I will plant some calendula (marigold) seeds a bit later in the year. It is a lovely flower to plant with children as the flowers are a pretty orange or yellow and they are edible. They are great for decorating plates with or using in baking.
When the radishes and parsley grow, we will be using them in cooking together.
If your child is old enough, you could sketch some ideas together of what you want the garden to look like. You could discuss what things you would like to put in the garden to show that it was a Peter Rabbit garden and of course choose which plants to grow.
It would be fun if you can think of ways to make things together. If possible, take your child shopping for seeds/seedlings with you.
We decided to have a gate that Peter used to enter the garden that we made with lollipop sticks. We used two sticks to hang a blue jacket on that Peter lost and was used as a scarecrow in Mr Mcgregor’s garden.
The container will need drainage holes in the bottom ideally. I haven’t drilled any in the water tray, so it will be interesting to see how well the seeds grow! We filled the tray with compost then placed the fence and other bits where we wanted them. We planted the seeds and covered with soil. We have made sure that the garden is in a sunny location.
There are lots of tasty salad leaves and herbs you can grow in the garden – no expertise required!
The most popular salad leaves to grow are lettuces such as Little Gem or Paris White (crisp, sweet leaves) and rocket (both herb and wild varieties); while herbs like mint, parsley and basil also make good choices.
- For the salads, ask your child to scatter the seeds onto some compost in a container, sprinkle with a little more compost, water lightly, and wait for germination.
- To grow herbs, plant seeds or buy herb seedlings – children love digging little holes. Only water when the top of the soil feels dry. Pick and use your herbs regularly to keep them bushy and compact.
- Encourage your child to water regularly and soon your garden will have things growing and your child can proudly harvest them 🙂
So to recap: (Try to do as much as you can with your child)
Plan the garden
Think of /make/ find things to include
Find a suitable container
Place in sunny position
Fill it with compost
Choose & plant seeds/seedlings
Most children love planting and caring for growing plants. It is such a great activity for spring /summer evenings or weekends. Growing herbs, fruits and vegetables helps them learn where their food comes from and is known to help with fussy eating.
The aim is to get your child excited about planting healthy food and the more they are able to be involved in the process, the more likely they are to continue to enjoy gardening and to eat the things they have grown.
I’m joining in with LarabeeUK‘s Kids in the Garden Blog Hop with 13 other bloggers. I believe that any opportunity for children to enjoy being in the garden in the fresh air and away from screens has to be encouraged!
It would be great if you added your own Kids in the Garden blog post 🙂
In order to take part all you have to do is:
1.Include the badge on your post.
2.Comment on this post plus one other.
I hope you will take a look at some of the other fabulous posts. Each day for the rest of the week, a new post will be added 🙂