Can you recommend plants that'll get my children interested in gardening? (Melica Cutbush, St Ives, Cambs)
Encouraging children to appreciate the natural world around them is a greater gift than any you'll find at a toy shop. It's a wonderful way to stimulate and excite them, while building confidence and educating them too. This interaction can start as soon as they're up on their feet, so we need to provide the means by which this relationship can flourish. Even if you don't have a garden, a great way for children to interact with plants directly is by using them in containers. Here are six plants I've grown with my children that have captured their hearts and mnds.
1. Poached egg plant
Limnanthes douglasii is a great easy-to-grow annual. In autumn or early spring, sow seed in soil that gets plenty of sun. Once established, they will self-seed freely.
The lilac blooms of the butterlfy bush not only look and smell wonderful, they attract an array of butterflies into your garden, helping to keep it healthy and beautiful.
Pumpkins' large seeds are easy for little hands to sow. Pop each seed into a small pot of compost in mid-April. Keep it on a sunny windowsill and plant out at the end of May.
Delicious, sweet-tasting peas are easy to grow and are packed with vitamins and minerals. Try gowing them in containers supported with a bamboo wigwam and netting.
Without doubt, sunflowers are one of the most popular growing projects for children. Sow the large seeds in late spring, and let the tallest flower contest ensue.
In my opinion, this is a must-have plant for any garden where children play. Encourage them to crush the flowers between their fingers and breathe in the fragrance.