Learning in the Garden
Choose 26 plants beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. You can use the RHS Plant Search to help you, or just check out a seed stand!
- Number garden
Try and focus on a sequence of numbers your child is working on. It could be 1 to 10, or even multiples of the times table!
- Make signs/labels for plants
Make signs with plant names to help your children identify what is growing and encourage them to spell correctly.
- Spell out your child's name using plants/herbs beginning with the same letter
Choose a number of plants that will spell out your childs name.
I.e 'Clare', could be made up of:
- Chilli Peppers | Chives | Coriander | Cress
- Lettuce | Lemongrass
- Asparagus Fern | Azalea
- English Bluebells | Evening Primrose
- Find a plant that shares a name with your child/family
Many plants have latin names and 'common names', sometimes they are named after the person who discovered them. This could be a fun research task! Examples include:
- Iris 'Peter James' (SDB)
- Pelargonium 'Grace Thomas' (Sc)
- Campanula 'Joe Elliott'
- Echeveria 'Doris Taylor'
- Kniphofia 'Samuel's Sensation' Samuel
- Make a plant pot in the shape of a letter
For example, 'O' would choose a set of circle pots to join together. Where 'T' or 'L' might use two rectangle pots. This could be the first letter of their name, the name of the plant, or as part of their alphabet. To join the pots together, you could use a staple gun, double sided tape or twine.
- Create a tiered hanging basket with their name
Children with shorter names (ideally less than 4/5 letters - but there are no rules) could create a hanging basket, and lable each row with a letter from their name.
- Make your own stepping stones
Fill old cake tins with concrete or resin and all your child to press their favourite materials in whilst supervised. See this pictorial for help.
- Get the chalk out
Allow your children to experiment with letters and numbers with chalk on the path or pavement. Maybe they could make a trail for the family to follow?
Scented - Sensory - Garden: RHS Top Tips
There are a huge variety of plants that lend themselves to Sensory Gardens.
The aromas given off by flowers are wonderful to enjoy, but the smells have a purpose too. Plant scents attract insects to the flowers for pollination and some smelly leaves deter insects from eating them.
- Curry plant, Helichrysum italicum; curry smelling leaves which give off a spicy aroma on a warm, sunny day.
- Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia; relaxing, fresh aroma with tiny purple flowers.
- Chocolate cosmos, Cosmos atrosanguineus; beautiful, maroon flowers give off a chocolate/ vanilla scent - a big hit with the kids!
- Lemon scented geranium, Pelargonium crispum; crinkly leaves that smell of lemon when rubbed.
- Oregano/wild marjoram, Origanum vulgare; the aromatic leaves are delicious dried or fresh in pasta dishes. This plant also produces pretty pink or white flowers in midsummer to early autumn.*
- Mint, There are many different varieties of mint to choose from with leaves that smell completely different. You have apple mint, ginger mint, chocolate mint and tashkent mint.
- The scent often becomes most prominent by bruising or gently rubbing the leaves – the tiny hairs on the leaves house glands that contain tiny drops of oil that are then released.
- They make a fun addition to anyone’s garden and certainly are a talking point to guess the fragrance.
- They can be grown easily in pots, the garden or even a sunny windowsill indoors and have many uses. Indoors, their fragrance becomes a natural room deodoriser – no need for chemicals!
- Leaves can be dried and used to make fragrant potpourri or sachets and even decorate homemade cards.
- Scented leaves come in a range of shapes, patterns and colours; with some varying from pale to dark green in colour and many have fascinating textures for kids to explore – leaves can be furry, woolly, silky, smooth and even sticky!
Leaves vary between plants, from rough to smooth, furry to spiky. Every texture has a purpose; many plants that are nice to feel have adapted to a specific natural environment in some way. These can be succulents or have hairy leaves to cope with dry conditions. Here are a few plants that are nice to touch.
- Lamb’s ears, Stachys byzantina; as its common name suggests, its downy leaves resemble the ears of a lamb.
- Silver sage, Salvia argentea; large, silvery –white leaves covered in cotton wool like down.
- Jerusalem sage, Phlomis fruticosa; soft, downy leaves and stems with pretty, yellow flowers.
There are so many delicious plants that it’s difficult to choose just a few. Although many of these are used in our cooking, please remember that some children could have allergies to any one of the following:
- Spearmint, Mentha spicata; a vigorous growing herb, which tastes great with peas or new potatoes.
- Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis; highly fragrant leaves used to flavour meat and fish. Its scent is wonderful.
- Chives, Allium schoenoprasum; in addition to delicious foliage that can be used in salads. This plant also produces pretty pink, mauve or purple flowers.
- Nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus; a colourful salad can be made from the beautiful peppery orange, red or yellow flowers and the foliage.*
- Wild strawberry, Fragaria vesca; this plant loves partial sun and fairly damp conditions and produces small, sweet, delicious fruit.*
- Pot marigold, Calendula officinalis; gorgeous, sunny flowers, with aromatic, dark green leaves. The petals brighten up any salad.*
- Sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum; the Italians wouldn’t consider cooking without this delicious, fresh-tasting herb.*
- Vegetables. These are plants too and taste no better than when you grow them yourself. Try carrots, radishes, lettuces, broad beans or peas.*
The RHS have a great website full of FREE resources, the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.
Garden Decor and Design
Create a rainbow garden
You can see this chart, and choose to plant specific coloured vegetables and fruit in a specific order to create a rainbow. You could also make coloured sections.
Rainbow pots for rainbow plants
Why not colour co-ordinate your pots to your seeds/plants? That way your child will know that their red pots will grow red plants, or will they? Nature does funny things sometimes!
- Unusual planters
Here are our ideas for stand-out containers and planters:
You'll be amazed how a coat of paint can change their look!
- A novelty mug
- An old work boot, wellyboot or shoe
- Egg box, juice carton, drinks can, any recyclable material
- An old tire, dustbin, BBQ, old sink
- Old jeans or fishing trousers
- Animal cage (bird, guineapig etc)
- Old kitchen bowl/ colander / jug/ bin/ cake stand
- Unique Ornaments
If your child has old plastic toys they no longer need, supervise them with a glue gun and watch them make something epic!
I.E glue several toy dinosaurs together and spray paint them gold, for a super cool garden piece.
- Learn how to Macrame
Macramé is a form of textile produced using knotting (rather than weaving or knitting) techniques. This easy (once you learn how!) technique looks so good, it's actually quite expensive to buy in shops! You'll be able to hang plant's wherever you like.