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Gardens for Children

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
In today’s world any way to prise children out from in front of the TV or Xbox can be a real challenge for parents. One way to get kids outside can be to involve them in gardening. By designing the garden with the kids in mind it is possible to develop an exciting adventure playground and fantasy world within your own property boundary. A child’s world is big on the senses so a garden which has smell, taste, sound, touch and sight cerate’s interest for our little ones.

Some ideas include big climbing trees which bear fruit or nuts such as walnuts or apple trees. A kids eating area under dappled shade where it is OK for them to be messy and noisy. A ‘Snack Track’ to visit after school. This can be an edible garden along a path full of cheery tomatoes, snow peas, strawberries, blueberries, parsley, mandarins, beans etc. Food can be picked and eaten on the spot. Fruits from this area can substitute for the normal sweets. Strawberries and raspberries can be mashed and frozen and eaten like ice blocks. Citrus such as lemonade and mandarins can be squeezed into drinks instead of Fizzy drink.

A wildlife garden designed to attract bees, birds, butterflies and insects let children discover the natural world and to go one hunts with their bug catcher and butterfly net. Plant Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Eupatorium and milkweeds to attract these creatures. A shallow pond can attract frogs, fish and dragonflies.

A fairy garden filled with flowers and painted stones, shells and figurines, wind chimes and scented with Daphne, Citrus and Gardenias lets the imagination run wild. Rocks can be painted with glow in the dark paint and fairy lights strung from trees to create night time adventures.

A little amphitheatre can be built by mounding the earth or planting a curved hedge. Children can put on plays for friends and family.

Little niches with stepping stones, hedge mazes, tunnels, logs to walk along or jump off, hidden paths all create areas for play such as hide and seek.

A pet cemetery area allows children to bury loved pets be it the cat or sparrow found in the cats mouth!

A tree planting ceremony can take place for each of the children. The children can choose the tree themselves and bury treasures or poems under the tree in a time capsule.

A pixie garden can be created by planting many of the dwarf root stock trees such as lemons, peaches, apples and mandarins. These plants only grow to one to one and a half metres but produce normal sized fruit. A perfect height for children to pick. Other fruiting trees such as figs, apples and plums can be trained to be espaliered, this creates interesting shapes. Many trees can be included in a small space and they are at a good height for children to pick. Hedges such as lonicera and buxus can be pruned into interesting shapes such as snails, chickens, or anything else the children suggest. Hedges can also be pruned to grow as tunnels and archways for children to play in.

Educate children about recycling by building a compost with them or a ‘worm farm’ for all those vegetable scraps from the kitchen.

So go on and have a go. Remember that a kids garden can be more than just a sandpit and tree house and is only limited by your imagination and your child’s!
Article by Green Urban Living
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