Welcome to National Gardening Week 2016
National Gardening Week was launched five years ago by the RHS and since then has grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, retailers, culture and heritage organisations and groups get involved and you can too. Here are a few things you can start thinking about if you’d like to get involved in 2016.
Join the celebrations
Events and activities are being run up and down the country. From beginner’s workshops to guided walks, face painting to garden parties, there’s something for everyone and everyone is invited. Find out what’s on.
Would you like to throw a garden party, love your neighbourhood park or think your local street could do with a tidy up? Well if so, you can get involved in National Gardening Week by running your own event and registering it with us online. No matter how big or small your idea, we’d love to have you involved.
Do something fun
There are plenty of things you can do yourself or with your family to get into the spirit of National Gardening Week. From building a pond, to making rhubarb jam
Nine nifty ways to get children gardening
As the summer days roll on, there’s nothing nicer than pottering about in your own back garden.
No travel, no fuss.
But getting the kids to love it as much as you do isn’t always easy. Here’s how…
1. Have a sunflower growing competition
An oldie but goodie. Simply plant some sunflower seeds and watch them grow, grow, grow!
Get your kids to choose one each and label it so they know which flower belongs to which person and have a competition to see whose can grow the tallest.
Yes, we know it’s an old classic idea from Blue Peter but we love it! They’re STUNNING flowers too.
Top tip: Invest in some canes or grow them against a wall that they can be tethered to so that they don’t droop as they grow (yes, we’ve had tears due to sunflower droop).
2. Grow mini cucumbers
Cucumbers are actually pretty easy to grow, and your kids will be delighted to see what green fingers they have.
Plus, use them (washed) in a salad or as sticks to snack on and watch them beam with pride, knowing they helped grow their own lunch. Awww.
Top tip: Feeling ultra adventurous? Buy a jar of pickling vinegar and teach them how to pickle their own gherkins, too. Delicious on barbequed burgers.
3. Grow a bee garden
Bees love a certain type of habitat. Choose flowering vegetables, native flowers and herb patches to attract them – your local garden centre staff will be happy to give you some tips. Then wait and watch the bumble bees arrive!
Top tip: Plant in beds not just outside the back door, so that you don’t get any unwelcome visitors!
4. Make a bird house
This is a really lovely craft activity and will help to bring birds to your garden, to boot.
You don’t have to build it from scratch unless you’re feeling super-creative. Just grab a plain wooden bird house from your local garden centre (or craft shop) and use paints and cute woodland stickers to pretty it up. Simple… but super gorgeous!
Top tip: Scatter seeds inside to attract your first bird visitors.
5. Grow flowers to attract butterflies
Butterflies really love certain flowers and plants, so get planting strategically and you and the kids can butterfly spot throughout the summer.
Top tip: Butterflies love: Goldenrod, New English Aster and Joe-Pye weed among others – a garden centre can help advise on more.
6. Do a nature trail
Little children especially love to do a nature trail and you don’t have to travel beyond your garden to have one.
Pick a few things to collect – a feather, a pretty stone, a leaf, a petal – and give them a little treasure box to put them in, plus a checklist to tick as they go.
7. Grow tomatoes
Just like cucumbers, tomatoes can be pretty easy to grow and you can choose from lots of different varieties, too, like plum, cherry, vine and beef.
Again, just like the mini cucumbers, your kids will really enjoy using the tomatoes they’ve picked in a salad for tea, or with cherry tomatoes, to snack on as they garden. Double win!
Top tip: Roast freshly picked tomatoes in the oven and pour over freshly boiled pasta, topped with handfuls of grated cheese, for a simple but delicious family tea.
8. Pick some flowers and give them to Grandma
Little ones love going around the garden and spotting all the different flowers.
And even if you don’t have lots, just one or two pretty flowers mixed with some greenery and twigs and tied in a cute ribbon can make a lovely rustic summer bouquet.
Grandma’s smile will be worth it.
Top tip: Teach them this little trick and hopefully it won’t be just Grandma who gets pretty posies!
9. Get watering
Show us a little one who doesn’t love water play and we’ll eat our sunhat. Plus watering the plants is a great way to teach children all about how things grow.
Top tip: Invest in a mini watering can for little ones and make a certain area of the garden their patch for keeping well watered this summer. Taking responsibility for something small but lovely is a great life lesson.