Autumn is the perfect time to spend outside with children and get some gardening time in before the onset of winter. Children love to explore interesting garden environments and many will involve themselves in the garden by discovering birds, insects and lizards, by climbing trees and simply playing in the garden and following garden paths.

There’s so much to learn from a good hands on session in the soil, whether planting or playing. This often becomes part of a young explorers set of interests, especially caring for plants. Curiosity about botanical species and how they change through the seasons can be wonderful opportunities for learning about gardening. For every question there’s an answer and sometimes it’s just about being observant and learning together. I can remember watching a grasshopper with one of my daughters. It was fascinating to watch its antics as it shed its skin over the following hour.

It goes without saying that many children are interested in food. Helping grow fruits and vegetables with healthy encouragement will help them develop their gardening skills followed by the rewards of eating the fruits of their labour. Learning that plants need water and that weeds compete with plants are good for children to know. As children contribute to the garden and perhaps develop their own garden bed, just remember that their garden tools need to be up to the task, made with strong handles, quality metal and properly weighted, just like adults tools. Over the years I have both helped and developed local school gardens and recall the beaming faces of children when they taste their harvests. Their smiles really are priceless.

One amusing pass-time for children is to make “Flower Soup”. A shared childhood recipe (although she couldn’t remember the method) is – “I just collected flowers and put water into a bucket and then kept adding flowers, mixed it in and left it for a day or two.” I smiled when she added “And then it stayed there until it was tipped out by a parent and I would start again. It was just perfume, never soup, it was just called Flower Soup. Other things we enjoyed were mud pies, looking at insects and playing with sticks.”

SAVE THE DATE – Wondai Garden Expo Saturday 17th April 8am – 4.30pm and Sunday 18th April 8am – 1pm. Hoping to see you at the Expo! “Happy Gardening” from Romaine at Ramesa Nursery.

Images by Romaine Undery

Image Child1 – Sharing the discovery of insects

Image Child2 – He is learning that plants need water

Image Childs Garden – Gardening in colourful tubs can be fun for children