7 supreme Scottish gardening blogs

scottish highland garden

Autumn view of a Scottish highland secret garden
Image: shutterstock

With wild chunks of land in the countryside and petite backyards in the capital, veg plots and flowerbeds, these are seven of our favourite Scottish gardening bloggers. Dig in!

A Pentland Garden Diary

chicken proof herb garden

Nadine and Sandy’s chicken-proofed herb garden
Image: A Pentland Garden Diary

When Nadine Pierce and her ‘partner in gardening grime’ Sandy moved to the edge of the Scottish Pentland Hills in 2013, neither had much gardening experience. But their ‘keen and willing, if slightly clueless’ approach totally paid off. Today, their garden – and their blog – is thriving.

But with abundance comes problems – namely, chickens that merrily demolish lovingly planted herbs. Sound familiar? Take Nadine and Sandy’s advice and stick bamboo around your herb bed so they can’t get in. Problem solved.

Edinburgh Garden Diary

cut flowers from the edinburgh garden

Joanna’s garden provides her with a constant supply of beautiful cut flowers.
Image source: Edinburgh Garden Diary

Without a garden in London, I didn’t know what I was missing’, says blogger Joanna. When she moved to Edinburgh with her husband (‘The Brazilian’), she got her hands on her tenement building’s small, neglected patch.

Now a total gardening convert, Joanna says ‘caring for a few feet of your own soil can exalt your soul to the higher realms of serenity and satisfaction.’ Do check out her post about her visit to Newliston Estate – it’s so evocative you’ll feel like you’re there with her. Oh, and her photos are beautiful too.

Leavesnbloom

beautiful blues

Rosie Nixon’s gardening pictures and helpful tips will inspire and guide
Image: Leavesnbloom

Wildlife gardener and photographer Rosie Nixon says ‘anything that buzzes, creeps, crawls or flutters,’ distracts her from her weeding. That’s great for us because it means more of her gorgeous photographs to coo over. See something you like? Just mosey on over to the fine art shop on her blog and pick up a few prints.

In the meantime, check out Rosie’s post on growing pulmonaria. Inspirational and educational in equal measure, she covers everything from how to say it (‘pul-mo-NAIR-ee-a’) to how to care for it. Needless to say, her pictures are a knockout.

Mal’s Edinburgh Allotment

allotment herbs

Herbs are among Mal’s favourite things to grow and cook with.
Image source: Mal’s Edinburgh Allotment

Ardent bread baker and gardener, Mal knows how to turn a few simple ingredients into a showstopper. Whether he’s blogging about baking brioche hippopotami or sharing his excitement at cracking carrot cultivation, you can feel his passion in every post.

Herbs are one of Mal’s favourite things to grow and eat. But not coriander. ‘It’s the bane of my life,’ Mal says. ‘Every year I try to grow it for leaf and every year it bolts. Well this year… I’m going to beat it!’ Watch this space to see how he gets on.

Quirky Bird Gardener Blog

Rona’s Monarda Marshall’s Delight in full bloom
Image source: Quirky Bird Gardener Blog

When Rona Dodds first came across Monarda she was a student at National Trust for Scotland’s Threave School of Gardening. She says ‘Not only were they memorable for their colour but the lovely almost spicy scent of flowers and leaves.’ One look at her post about them is sure convince you to give them a try.

Back then, Rona guessed that the flowers in question were M. Cambridge Scarlet. Today, having been gardening privately and professionally for 30 years she knows exactly what she’s talking about. If you want tips from a woman who knows her way around a garden – Rona’s blog is the place to be.

Square Sparrow

square sparrow veg harvest

Some of Square Sparrow’s autumnal harvest.
Image source: Square Sparrow

Gardening and blogging from ‘deepest darkest Kinross-shire’, farmer’s daughter, Karen Elwis, aka the Square Sparrow, is no stranger to mucking in and getting stuff done in the great outdoors.

At home, she’s doing it with the help of HunterGatherer (aka her husband) and the company of a Highland pony, a fat cat, a flock of chocolate-coloured Shetland sheep, and occasionally, her three kids. It’s a full house, and the homestead  gets even busier in the autumn when the polytunnel produces its veggies, Victoria the plum tree gives rich pickings, and Vinnie the vine creates ‘myriad bunches of tiny green grapes’. There’s much to love on Karen’s blog, not least the gorgeous pictures of her Scottish smallholding life.

The Bonnie Gardener

bonnie gardener lupins

Nicola has a deep and abiding love for herbaceous perennials.
Image source: The Bonnie Gardener

Are you a fan of herbaceous perennials? Blogger Nicola is: ‘Watching herbaceous perennials develop in any garden is a thing of beauty and it brings me a huge amount of joy.’

That’s why she’s creating ‘a large, flowing herbaceous river right through the middle of the garden’ this year. Inspired to plant a few yourself? Nicola’s pick of the perennials will give you plenty of ideas. There’s plenty here to help you keep your garden looking its best.

Do you know of any other brilliant Scottish gardening bloggers? Let us know on our Facebook page!

Tops Tips for Styling Your Garden 2020

We are looking for new ways to adapt during COVID-19 Pandemic.  Our gardens can be an extension of our indoor space – you may want to enjoy the ambience of sitting in your garden with your family, or to grow your vegetables and herbs for health benefits . You can make the most of your garden during the current situation with some simple styling tips.

Your garden can be a space for several purposes; a space to play with kids, an entertaining space, or somewhere for quiet contemplation. No matter the size and shape of the garden, think of ways how you can make your garden work for you. Styling your garden is making sure everything in the garden works together to create a serene and beautiful space for you and your family. Here are some the top tips for styling your garden.

 

Well Shaped Lawn

A well-shaped and carefully tended lawn can change the look of your garden and set it on the right track. Your lawn is one of the first things, and the biggest shape, you will see through your window. There is no standard shape for garden lawns, you can try any shape you like – square, oval, rectangular or circle.

garden style 2020 lawn

©Thompson & Morgan – Invest time in getting your lawn in top in good shape.

To get the perfect lawn it’s important to use the right garden tools but, if you don’t have the right ones, there’s no need to spend a fortune. There are many professional garden companies where you can hire garden tools in the UK.

 

Furniture

Furniture is one of the top styling tips that can transform your garden in summer. The type of furniture can reflect your style like other interior parts of your home. The colour of a furniture set can complement the garden wall or fence colour, or tie in with your patio finish.

garden style 2020 seating

©BVG – Choose garden furniture to match your style.

Folding furniture in bold colours will work for your patio or courtyard, or opt for a set of bench seats. For a luxurious feel add an L-shaped sofa, swing seats, or ‘on-trend’ hanging chairs.

When styling your seating area, remember to create enough space for each person to sit comfortably, and allow enough space to walk around the furniture when everyone is seated.

 

Grow Your Own

The ‘grow your own’ movement has surged with the rise in the food prices. More people now appreciate organic products creating more demand to grow your own vegetables and herbs

Garden style 2020 grow your own

©Shutterstock – The ‘grow your own’ movement is as strong as ever in 2020!

Research has shown that there is an increase in the number of vegetarians and vegans in the UK, which may also explain the increase in homeowners growing more herbs, salads and vegetables in their gardens. Growing your own crops requires regular garden maintenance but using the right gardening tools and equipment will help you to achieve the best results.

 

Lighting

To create a vibrant garden, adding lighting is a great idea. Lighting looks good at night but some lights will also create a decorative feature during the day. You can purchase glittery balls or lanterns to brighten up your garden space.

Garden style 2020 lighting

©BVG – Lighting helps to make the most of your garden in the evening.

Keep the social gathering going even after sundown with some twinkly solar string lights. A little sparkle helps to create a relaxed atmosphere for any party, gathering or social event. 

With all of these top tips hopefully, you are able to gather some ideas for your very own back garden. Creating that perfect space for your children and pets to enjoy, or even just to have a few cheeky drinks with some friends and family. 

 

Top tips for Instagram-ready gardens

Person taking photo of garden with smartphone

Get your garden grid-ready with these top tips
Image: leungchopan

Instagram gardening is huge these days. This social media app is a great virtual place to make friends with like-minded growers, swap advice and grow an online audience as you grow your own.

But if you’re not sure how to get started, or would love some ideas for improving how you Insta-garden, we’ve got some amazing tips to share with you.

We asked some of our favourite instagram-loving gardeners for their best advice on growing and capturing Instagram-ready gardens, and here’s what they said:

Dave @greedy_gardens

Dave from greedy gardens standing in his allotment

Dave shares allotment growing with his two green-fingered sons
Image: @greedy_gardens

“My home garden is for the chickens and kids, with flowers around the borders so it will never be award winning. I’ve had my allotment for 5 years now, I’ve learned to grow things that we all like, although I always end up with too many courgettes!” says Dave of @greedy_gardens.

Dave’s priorities are growing things he and his family love, plus keeping his two sons busy on the plot – with a mud kitchen for the youngest and a ‘Minecraft’ related veg patch for the oldest.

With regard to what ‘works’ on Instagram, Dave feels that’s a bit of a mystery: “In the past I have posted what I thought were great photos of flowers only to get very few ‘likes’, then I’d post a muddy carrot and would get loads of likes.” 

His advice is to concentrate on the social side of social media:

I would never consider myself an expert gardener or instagrammer but I would say try and be enthusiastic and interesting. Interact with the gardening community; I think that’s more important and fun than trying to create an amazing photo.

August @augusts_garden

August with her children in the garden

August enjoys teaching her girls about the joy of gardening
Image: @marklordphoto

Seeing my girls faces light up when the seeds they have sown poke through the soil, and then even better when they get to eat their creations, is something I desperately want to share with other families and this is quite simply what motivates me to share photos and posts on Instagram.

August of @augusts_garden loves to grow unusual shapes and rainbow colours to get her girls enthusiastic about growing – and eating – good food. And as market gardener at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, August certainly knows her onions. She loves bright colours, so her Instagram feed is a treasure trove of fruit, flowers and delicious veg:

“I find so much beauty in nature which Is why I find it difficult to stick to a scheme resulting in a garden bursting with colourful vegetables and flowers. If you look at my page I strongly recommend sunglasses!”

Her main advice for Instagram gardening is to follow your heart:

“I think you have to stick to what you love and trust in yourself even if it’s not what everyone else is posting. It’s not just a picture you post, the words also make an impact. If you love what you grow it’s hard for it not to come across in your posts.”

Amy @amyskitchengarden

Amy standing on her balcony with a box of potatoes

Amy grows amazing produce on her tiny Brighton balcony
Image: @amyskitchengarden

Amy of @amyskitchengarden describes herself as a ‘rookie veggie grower’. She rediscovered her childhood love of gardening last year and started with potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and aubergines. Now she’s getting great results from her Brighton balcony garden (although she openly shares the not-so-great ones too).

“I try not to think too much about my Instagram channel when I’m planning my garden,” says Amy. “I always choose interesting seeds that catch my eye, rather than thinking what will do well on social media… I have to admit, I did buy some rainbow sweetcorn last month because of it’s beautiful colourful kernels too!”

She advises using lots of flowers and bright colours to jazz up your feed. But her main concern is looking after the environment and spreading awareness:

I try to use upcycled materials in my gardening, the most eye catching of which are my big recycled beer keg containers! I’m always keen to do my bit for the environment as sustainability and minimising waste are super important, so whilst my garden isn’t the most ‘Instagrammable’ I think people really enjoy seeing how they can take these tips into their own garden.

Lucy @shegrowsveg

Lucy standing in garden with a pink striped top

Lucy has created a beautiful Instagrammable edible garden
Image: @shegrowsveg

Lucy of @shegrowsveg takes her Instagram presence seriously:

I completely ripped out, redesigned and replanted my garden to showcase what you could do with fully edible planting. I wanted to take the opportunity to show that choosing edible plants did not mean compromising on beauty or design or mean that the entire garden looks like an allotment.

Her grid is full of lush, large veg and vibrant colour. And she loves to showcase specialist and unique fruit and veg that looks great in her photos and inspires her audience.

But, despite her commitment to Instagram gardening, Lucy’s main piece of advice is to follow your heart rather than the likes:

“Don’t make it all about Instagram, remember this is your garden and it should still be a place that makes you happy. People enjoy following accounts that are genuine as opposed to content simply created for a good photo. If you are loving your garden, other people will love it too!”

Will @solegardener

Summers day at South Wood Farm with a topiary garden

Stunning topiary at South Wood Farm, taken by head gardener Will
Image: @solegardener

The garden that Will shares on Instagram is grander than your ordinary backyard or allotment. He’s head gardener at South Wood Farm in Devon, and his Instagram account @solegardener is packed with stunning images of the grounds.

With such an excellent backdrop, it’s not surprising that Will has become an expert in getting the best out of garden photography. He has some advice on composition:

I find wide angle shots of plants or borders with a subject matter or focal point in such as a house/gate/bench always seem to be a lot more popular than just a plant portrait for example.

And his top tip for a successful instagram feed is incredibly simple:

“It sounds obvious but I’m always very aware of the lighting and weather when I’m taking pictures of the garden. Plants never look happy on a grey overcast day (much like the gardener!)”

Vera @growntocook

Vera standing in an allotment holding a pumpkin

Vera keeps a tidy plot on @growntocook
Image: @growntocook

For Vera of @growntocook Insta success starts with a tidy garden: “A well-organised garden with neat beds is generally easier to photograph than a jungle-like planting which can be very delightful in real life, but is not easy to capture well in photos.”

Vera’s kitchen garden comprises 15 rectangular beds which are very practical for the no-dig gardening she practises, while also looking great on camera:

“The photos that get the most likes on my feed are usually aerial shots of our kitchen garden, but the ones that generate most engagement are often those where I share more in-depth information about specific plants.”

Ultimately, says Vera, it’s your humanness that’s going to help you grow an audience:

… don’t be afraid to share your failures. If you don’t want to make them a part of your grid, share them in stories. We all have failures and ultimately, perfection is boring! Concentrate on what you love about gardening in the first place and then share that love with your audience.

Lucy @allotment.postie

Lucy standing on a garden fork in an allotment

Keeping an Instagram account motivates Lucy to visit her allotment on greyer days
Image: @allotment.postie

For Lucy of @allotment.postie, Instagramming is a great motivator to get down the allotment, even when the weather’s rubbish.

She told us that her most popular posts tend to feature pumpkins:

I think because they’re very exciting and satisfying to grow! Flowers are always a crowd pleaser also, and I’ve noticed if you have a personal project people like to follow along.

But as well as growing a following on Instagram, Lucy really values the community and support of other growers. She recommends engaging with other Insta gardeners, asking questions and spreading appreciation.

“The biggest mistake is to not share mistakes. Everyone knows life isn’t what social media shows, but by sharing your mistakes… you can get advice on how to fix it or move on. It may seem embarrassing to share mistakes but everyone has them, even the big names that seem to have it all figured out.”

Shannon @diaryofaladygardener

Shannon wearing bright pink gardening gloves on an allotment

Shannon wears bright accessories in her winter pictures
Image: @diaryofaladygardener

Shannon of @diaryofaladygardener doesn’t let Instagram sway her planting decisions too much.

This year my focus is on things that we’ll actually eat at home rather than what looks best (although I’m still hoping it’ll all look lovely too). That said, I’ve got my eye on an awful lot of dahlias for this year because I got such flower envy from everyone else’s feed in 2019!

When it comes to photography, Shannon takes a lot of photos. For every one photo she posts, she’s probably taken about 30-40. Her advice? Introduce a dash of colour wherever you can: “that’s why my gloves are bright pink and my wheelbarrow has splashes of yellow – the extra colour can really bring a photo to life, especially during the winter months.”

And Shannon also recommends showing yourself in your feed:

“I personally love to follow the people who have really authentic feeds and have themselves in the photos – you can really see how happy growing makes them and the love that’s gone into growing those plants, fruits and veggies!”

Dave and Joy @our_tiny_garden

Dave and Joy holding their baby on the allotment in the winter

Dave and Joy have recently grown from a tiny garden into a large allotment
Image: @our_tiny_garden

Dave and Joy of @our_tiny_garden grow fruit and veg in their small back garden and have just taken on a new allotment. Their Instagram feed is full of colour and beautiful close ups.

We’re growing some coloured corn this year because it looks amazing, and Chioggia beetroot too. Fundamentally though, we grow for taste. And we’re just lucky that tomato plants and tomatoes are super photogenic, and yellow courgettes are delicious too!

We asked the couple for their photography tips and they shared this with us:

“A good camera helps a lot, but it doesn’t need to be an expensive DSLR. All of our photos are taken with a mobile phone camera… Our major tip would be to use natural light. Sunshine if possible, as it lifts the colours and the feel of the photo massively.” 

And when it comes to those stunning close ups, take note of this advice: “Don’t use a digital zoom – Take a larger area photo and zoom in afterwards. This prevents the image from pixelating as much.”

Claire of @sowing_at_the_stoop

Portrait of a thriving garden with green leaves and canes in an allotment

Claire’s passion for growing is clearly evident
Image: @sowing_at_the_stoop

“Having an Instagram page was my way of making me keep up my home allotment and to make sure I spent some time out there every day,” says Claire of @sowing_at_the_stoop.

“It’s turned into much more that .. I’ve ‘met’ some truly great people always on hand with advice or ideas as well as being involved with the Thompson and Morgan trials last year … which I loved!”

When it comes to photography, Claire says:

I think a more natural setting works best with social media… the colourful images seem to be popular or some garden hacks that I share… Summer watering or propagation… that type of thing does well too.

Like many of our Instagrammers, Claire urges you to do what you enjoy: “Do what you love and garden in a way that suits you.. don’t go for the ‘likes’. If you enjoy what you do, that will shine through onto your IG page.”

Rachel @thegoodlifeainteasy

Rachel holding a kale haul and standing in front of a shed

Rachel celebrating her kale haul
Image: @thegoodlifeainteasy

Rachel of @thegoodlifeainteasy (but it’s worth it) colourfully documents her efforts to live as sustainably as possible on her Instagram account. She’s got an organic allotment and some lovely ex-battery hens to help her in her mission.

Despite her large Instagram following and an engaged audience, she doesn’t garden for the Gram:

To be honest, I don’t really think of Instagram when I plan my garden. I just do what I love and what I’ll enjoy, and then share that. So if anything I think my tip would be to be authentic and just share what you love and your passion will come through.

Karen @welliesandwaffles

Karen kneeling in the garden whilst doing cabbage watch

Karen on ‘cabbage watch’ in her kitchen garden
Image: @welliesandwaffles

“I think my most liked photo is actually of some chard roots which were bright pink,” writes Karen of @welliesandwaffles. Colourful images are key to engaging Karen’s audience, but they’re not the only things that count:

I also find that a good description works very well… alongside the photo. Otherwise it’s like having cheese without the crackers!

She continues: “Showing a wide variety of plants, detailed descriptions and adding tips always adds to the post. It takes time and effort to get a garden to look great so show this and take people along on the journey. The gardening community loves a ‘before and after’ photo.”

Jane @plot_life_

Allotmenteer Jane taking a selfie whilst overlooking her thriving allotment

Allotmenteer Jane enjoying her allotment
Image: @plot_life_

“For me, the best images come from something that you’re passionate about. The growing community on Instagram are a wonderful bunch: the best posts are made with an enthusiasm that often transcends the image on a grid,” says Jane of @plot_life_.

When it comes to plants that make the best images, Jane has been experimenting lately, and with some success:

Last year, I experimented with vertical growing: the aesthetics of crops at various heights across the plot was very pleasing to the eye and is something I’ll probably build on this year.

But, ultimately, says Jane, don’t worry too much about what’s going to ‘work’ on Instagram or not:

“Grow what you love: be driven by your personal taste, not by what others are growing or what you feel you ‘should’ be cultivating. You will spend far longer in your garden than the person scrolling through your feed, so make sure you love it!”

@inatinygarden

Inatinygardener holding a bunch of rainbow carrots

Rainbow carrots are a feast for the eyes and the table
Image: @inatinygarden

“I started my Instagram account to encourage people to grow their own, showing it’s possible even in a small space with limited time,” says @inatinygarden.

And for this Instagrammer, it’s the pollinators who govern all her decisions.

I grow a variety of plants in order to have flowers all year round for multiple pollinators… So my advice is, don’t grow for what will get the most likes on Instagram, grow for the pollinators, Mother Earth and last but not least for your own enjoyment!

We’d like to thank all of our wonderful Instagram gardeners for their generous advice. And we hope you’ve found some inspiration to help you start – or grow – your own Insta accounts.

Top tips for family gardens

Mother and son gardening in the vegetable plot

Get your kids digging in the dirt
Image: Oksana Kuzmina

Kids have a natural love of nature, but they’re easily lured back indoors by screen time. If you’d like to get your children out in the garden for fresh air, learning and fun, we’ve compiled some great tips courtesy of our favourite family and gardening bloggers. Here’s all the inspiration you need to encourage young people to embrace the outdoors, gardens, and gardening…

How to tempt kids outdoors

Kid in a yellow jacket playing in a forest den

Entice children out with mud and dens
Image: Thomas Holt

  1. Make garden activities age-appropriate 

Lauren of Inspire, Create, Educate says: “Start by asking yourself what child-friendly means for your child. When my three were younger it would have meant keeping tools out of the way and being relaxed enough to let them dig and muck about wherever they liked. Now they’re all in junior and high school, we plant things together and they’re shown how to use the garden tools safely and appropriately.”

  1. Let kids get dirty 

Kate of The Ladybird’s Adventures says: “My kids love mud so it’s never been hard to get them involved in the garden.”  With that in mind, she’s created a mud kitchen for her children to play in: “They have a little play house that grown ups can’t fit inside and a mud kitchen that they adore. We use all sorts in the mud kitchen such as shells, petals, mud, conkers and of course water.”

Vicky of Earth Based Fun is another big fan of the power of mud to get kids outdoors and says a good way to get children interested in spending time outside is to get them building dens: “Children love to make dens – use willow, sticks, mud, just anything you can find to make a den that they will spend days playing in. Use clay to play in and keep it simple making mud pies. The smallest most simple of activities can create the most magic, and those are the things that they will always remember.”

  1. Create space to play 

Space to play unhindered by rules turns your garden into whatever your kids imagine it to be. Kev at An English Homestead says: “Giving them an area to play and just do their own thing is just as essential. Mine have a few different areas and love creating different games between their Wendy house and swings. It’s great for me as well, while they’re outside having fun, I can keep an eye on them while I work on the garden.”

  1. Create a wildlife pond

Lucy who writes Kids of the Wild says: “Whether in a bowl or several metres wide, it’s a brilliant ongoing project for all the family. We started with a bog garden in an old dog bed and now have a fantastic metre-deep pond teeming with wildlife and native fish! The children find it mesmerising.”

How to get kids interested in gardening

child planting seeds in pots

Encourage kids to grow from seed
Image: Mahony

  1. Give kids their own patch 

One of the best ways to get kids to switch off their devices, pull on a pair of wellies and get out into the garden, is to give them a patch of their own. It’s important, says Lucy of Kids of the Wild, to let your children make decisions without your input: “In our last garden my daughter edged her patch with stones, planted daffodils, allowed celandines to grow and hung a sheep’s skull on her patch of fence! Whenever I was outside she’d potter over and weed or rearrange.”

This freedom has clearly encouraged Lucy’s daughter to make more sophisticated choices about her gardening: “In our current garden she’s made fairy paths in her special area – a bigger space than previously – using pottery we’ve dug up, she’s planted geraniums and fallen in love with dahlias! I’m not a dahlia fan but allowing her to have autonomy has allowed her to develop her own gardening loves.”

Are you short of outside space? Catherine creator of Growing Family says even a container can be enough to get a child interested in the garden: “Having a piece of earth to call their own really motivates them to look after it and stay interested.”

  1. Ditch the toy tools 

Kev at An English Homestead writes: “Once they’ve over toddler size they know whether something is useful or not. My three children have proper “trenching” spades and shovels that are used by construction workers in deep and confined trenches. They can dig properly with these and actually feel useful. I think kids have a sixth sense when something is just “busy work” or real work, so give them proper jobs to make them feel helpful.”

  1. Set an example 

The best way to get children interested in gardening, says Lauren at Inspire, Create, Educate, is to let them see you in the garden! She says: “Children take their cues from their parents – even babies will reach for your phone instead of the cute child-friendly toy phone. If you do all your gardening while they’re in school and they never see you doing it, they’ll never take an interest.”

Speaking of maintaining children’s interest, Catherine at Growing Family says: “Don’t expect kids to have a long attention span in the garden either; you can keep things interesting by giving them a series of little jobs, and letting them potter about at their own pace.”

  1. Get kids growing

Kev at An English Homestead says the best way to get kids to engage with gardening is to let them grow from seed and harvest and eat the resulting crop – as he says “my three always think of their bellies and look forward to a tasty harvest.”

Catherine of Growing Family agrees. She says: “Growing plants from seed is my kids’ number one favourite gardening job. I can see why: it’s just such a magical process, and hugely rewarding when those little seedlings thrive.”

Don’t have your own garden? That’s not a problem says Sabina who writes Deep in Mummy Matters. She says: “My mother-in-law has an allotment where she grows fruit and vegetables. The children really enjoy going over to the allotment with her to help out, and of course to eat the fruits of their labour. If you don’t have space in your garden for a vegetable patch then speak to your council about an allotment as they are really cheap to rent and it’s a good family activity to do on evenings and weekends.”

And do let kids take charge, reminds Kev who allows his kids to harvest veg for tea: “They love coming back up with all the goodies and knowing that they had to decide what was ready and what wasn’t. It gives them a sense of responsibility and pride that they’re helping to feed the family.”

Karen at Pumpkins and Bunting has a great idea for combining growing and building dens. She says: “Children of all ages love dens and sweet treats, so try growing your own pea teepee! It’s a simple way to encourage children to get involved with gardening on the allotment and pick and eat fresh veg too. Make a simple tepee leaving a gap between two of the canes big enough for a child to crawl into, tie together at the top securely with twine.”

What’s best to sow and grow with kids?

strawberry 'just add cream' from T&M

Strawberries are the perfect crop for hanging baskets
Image: Strawberry ‘Just Add Cream’ from Thompson & Morgan

    • Easy-to-grow favourites:

“Radishes, lettuce, carrots and beans are all easy and quick to grow,” says Vicky at Earth Based Fun. “Edible flowers seem to always fascinate them. My daughter loves wild flowers. All you need is a bit of dirt and a small pot to watch them grow.”

    • Things they can pick and eat on the spot:

Kev at An English Homestead writes: “My children love running down the garden after school to find enough to snack on. They love all the berries but also go mad for cucamelons, cucumbers, tomatoes, New Zealand yam leaves and a weird favourite is electric daisies [they taste of citrus crossed with an electric shock] which they love tricking their friends with!”

    • Sunflowers:

“Sunflowers are one of the best things to grow with children because they’re fast-growing and fun to race,” says Lauren at Inspire, Create, Educate. She and her children also grow tomatoes during the summer and adds: “My youngest loves to grow colourful rainbow chard (as well as his very own apple tree), and we love to see nasturtiums too. The answer really is, grow whatever your children want to grow!”

    • Peas:

Over at An English Homestead, Kev’s kids adore peas. He writes: “I love growing tall heritage peas just so I know there will be some they can’t reach! I remember looking out the window a couple of years ago and between them they had harvested a bowl full of peas and raspberries and they sat sharing them out between each other, eating both at the same time!”

    • Strawberries:

Try growing strawberries in hanging baskets, says Claire at The Ladybird’s Adventures – it’s very simple and takes little space.

    • Create a container garden:

Create a bit of magic with acontainer fairy garden, suggests Karen at Pumpkins and Bunting. “Use a container with a wide surface area and fill with compost. Add small plants such as heather, succulents, cyclamen or house plants. Make or buy a fairy door and use gravel and small stones to create a winding path. Include small furniture from a doll’s house or make your own. Add solar or battery operated fairy lights for extra magic sparkle!”

With our bloggers’ tips, you now have plenty of strategies you can use to get your little ones hooked on gardening and the fascinating natural world that lies just outside the kitchen door.

 

Get growing in the garden this Easter!

The long Easter weekend conjures thoughts of Easter egg hunts, family roasts, and the promise of warmer weather. But Easter is also the beginning of the gardening year for many, as they make use of the bank holidays to get the garden sorted – before things really get out of hand!

Easter egg hunt

©Sue Sanderson. Set up an Easter egg hunt for the kids in your garden.

Get mowing!

If you haven’t started already, then it’s definitely time to get the lawnmower out. Your first cut of your grass is probably overdue, so raise the blades to their highest setting and get mowing. While you’re at it, give the lawn a feed to set it up for the season ahead.

Mow the lawn

Begin mowing the lawn again this month – set the blades to their highest setting.

Divide and conquer!

By now, most perennials have poked fresh shoots above ground and new growth is well underway. Now is a great time to tidy up any remaining plant debris from last year and have a good tidy up. Borders that looked tired last year can be given new life with a spring redesign. Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of perennials before they put on too much growth, and then fill any gaps with new plants.

replant perennial borders

©Carly Holloway. Lift and divide perennials now, before they put on too much growth.

Don’t forget that they will need watering while they establish. It’s worth installing a seeper hose now if you live in a dry area – you’ll be glad you did by the middle of July! A layer of mulch will also bring dividends later in the year, providing nutrients and retaining moisture in the soil – as well as making the whole border look much smarter.

Grow, grow, grow!

April is the month for potting up and potting on! Plug plants are the perfect way to get a head start on seasonal bedding. Make sure you have plenty of pots and fresh compost to hand, so that you can get them potted up as soon as they arrive. Never use up half used bags of last year’s compost as this is the perfect overwintering site for pests and diseases. Old compost is best used as a mulch on your borders.

pots of plug plants and seedlings

Pot up plug plants and keep on top of seed sowing throughout this month.

While you’re at the potting bench, it’s time to take out those Dahlia tubers that you were storing overwinter, and start them into growth. Use decent sized pots (2-3 litre) to allow the roots to develop well. If you’ve lost some then there’s still time to replace them with some new Dahlia tubers. Dahlias are having a surprising resurgence in popularity, with events such as the Anglesey Abbey Dahlia Festival which are always popular. Why not create your own festival in your flower borders this summer!

Dahlia flowers

©Sue Sanderson. Create your own Dahlia festival for a fabulous display of colour.

The next 2 months will see a peak in seed sowing – especially for the vegetable growers out there! It’s a good idea to take half an hour to put your seed in order. Keep them in a storage box, ordered by sowing period, with dated dividers. Week by week you can see exactly which seed needs sowing, and this should prevent any being missed.

A breath of fresh air!

Greenhouse with door open

Open greenhouse doors and vents to prevent plants overheating on warm days.

With so many young plants crammed into the greenhouse, it’s important to ventilate, especially as you may well still be using a greenhouse heater at night. An automatic greenhouse vent opener makes a great investment at this time of the year, reducing the risk of your young plants overheating in a hot greenhouse. Open the greenhouse door in the morning, but remember to close it by late afternoon as there is still a nip in the air at night. If you are visited by cats then it’s a good idea to fix a mesh across the door to prevent them snuggling up on top of your new plants!

And relax…

With the garden tidy and everything in order, you can bring out the garden furniture, sit back and relax. Don’t forget to set up that Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching the whole family enjoying the outdoor space that you’ve created!

 

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