Friday, 27 May 2011

Children's Gardens at RHS Chelsea

A Child's Garden in Wales

The Chelsea Flower Show must be one of the few UK flower shows that does not encourage children to attend.  I only saw one child visitor and two children behind a stand on the day I attended. Children's growing was highlighted in several gardens this year.

My favourite was A Child's Garden in Wales. A 1940s inspired garden created by Anthea Guthrie, with the teenage boys from special needs schools in Heronsbridge and Ysgol Bryn Castell Wales with whom she had been working with for two years.  Home made footballs and hobby horses, a rusted iron junk fence with umbrella spokes all feature.  No plastic toys in sight.  As the garden is set in 1947 most of it is given over to fruit and vegetables.  The few annuals children then would have grown are surprisingly similar to those children would have grown today, including Love in the Mist, Calendula, forget me nots and night scented stock. They are similar to the easy grow flowers seeds I use with my son.  Its great that the children researched the history of the garden

Calendula flowers amongst the vegetables

Another group of schools showcasing flower and food growing were to be found at the Miracle Growers Learning Journey garden.  If you look at their site  you'll see they had some royal visitors.

Radishes from the Learning Journey

The cut flower part of the garden highlighted 9 inner city schools in south east London where the children grew their own cut flowers and able to take a learning journey into plant care. The project recognised that many urban schools are surrounded by hard urban views with little foliage and flowers. It demonstrated that
even schools without land garden soil can grow in containers,

Similarly the fruit and veg part of the garden demonstrated how the children in schools throughout the country grew food without a vegetable patch using window sills and containers on hard landscaped areas. The photograph shows the large variety of radishes which were grown, a really easy plant for children to grow.

If you have a favourite Chelsea garden this year please let us know.  If you are growing food and flowers in your school please get in touch we'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Three Doors at RHS Chelsea that all Kids will Love

I visited the Chelsea Flower Show in London yesterday.  If you are in the UK you will know that the papers and television have been overflowing with reviews of it.  The show certainly lived up to expectations.  I arrived as the gates opened at 8.00am which allowed for a quiet first hour and enabled me to take photos without the crowds.

There is a fuller more meaty post to follow about what the show had to offer children's gardening.  What I often take away from garden shows are one or two details where I think, I could do that or that will work in my garden.  On that basis I'd like to share three images with you.  They will appeal to children of all ages.  The first is from the Fever-Tree's Tree House garden designed by Stephen Hall.  This had a beautiful low level tree house with the most enchanting door.  No child would be able to resist going through this.  It conjures up images of secret gardens and hidden worlds.  Just raising the house off the floor by one/two feet added to the interest.

Tree House Garden

Faces in the garden are a firm favourite of mine.  Carving a face in the door to this tree house such a simple and clever idea.  It could translate quite easily to a tall garden gate or even a fence.

Finally a 'dor' with a difference.  A sculpture of this minute dormouse rolled up asleep in a  nutshell was quite

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