Summer is finally here – and we Brits know how important it is to make the most of every second of warm weather that we get.
There’s no time like the present to start showing it a little love.
And, what’s more, gardening is a great activity to rope the grandchildren into this summer. After all, kids love flowers, plants and – unfortunately – dirt.
Introduce the little people in your life to gardening, for a creative and healthy activity that you can share together. It’s also a great way to keep them entertained while getting your garden in perfect order for barbecues
There is something completely magical, whatever your age, about watching a plant grow from a seed to a flower.
It’s not too late to start planting seeds.
Big seeds like sunflowers and sweet peas are easiest for little fingers to hold and plant. They are also quick to flower, which is perfect for impatient young gardeners who want to see fast results.
Marigolds, pansies, forget-me-nots and cornflowers are also colourful and easy to grow, so well worth trying your hand at.
Young gardeners might also find it easier to grow flowers in pots as these can be moved around the garden and even brought inside to admire once they start to bloom.
START A VEGGIE PATCH
There’s something so satisfying about growing something in your own garden and then using it in your cooking. Start your grandchildren’s passion for vegetables at an early age and start teaching them the importance of healthy eating with a veggie patch.
There’s also the added benefit that home-grown vegetables taste a million times better than the ones you can pick up at the supermarket.
Lettuce is a great one to start with, as it can be sown all year round.
Plants like radishes and baby carrots are fast and easy to grow. Strawberries, beans and tomatoes are another great option in late spring.
When planting, be sure to prepare the ground with generous amounts of manure or compost and give your child a watering can to keep plants moist as the weather heats up. It’ll be a lovely activity they can join in with every time they come to visit.
And once things start to grow, your grandkids can pick and make their own salad for lunch!
...OR A HERB GARDEN
A herb garden is another great project to share with your grandkids. For one thing you don’t need lots of space or energy to create a small one – a few sprigs of mint is a good place to start as it will grow like a house on fire and gives off the most wonderful fragrance.
FEED THE BIRDS
The birds in your garden appreciate some food and water when the weather is cool and children absolutely love watching birds.
Most garden centres stock a good selection of seeds and nuts which are perfect for feeding the birds, but be sure to avoid cereals such as wheat which attract pigeons to your garden.
You can stop providing seeds as summer has arrived, the weather is heating up and natural sources of food are plentiful.
Do a little research and buy plants that suit your garden’s conditions – not just the prettiest flowers in the shop.
Most garden centres have experts on hand who will be more than happy to help you find something this is exactly right for you.
Pots should be full – but not crammed – with roots, and leaves should be deep green and disease-free.
And try to be patient – young plants are often much cheaper, and they’ll grow up before you know it.
Don’t leave house plants out – they need love too. Be sure to spray or gently sponge leaves of foliage plants regularly with clean tepid water to freshen them up and remove any dust.
You can also take plants outside for an hour or two on warm days and when there’s a very fine rain.
They will benefit from fresh rainwater and a little fresh air.