Gardening: How to encourage a new generation of gardeners | Brian Kidd
An area of hedge suddenly died in our garden months ago and I was going to plant replacements but it would have been too difficult to remove the dead leylandii conifers.
Pam saw a lovely climbing shrub called solanum jasminoides Glessnevin at a nursery and we bought one last February.
The climber filled the gap and started to bloom in April and has been in full bloom ever since.
I wanted to let you know, what a bit of luck!
I know the children have gone back to school but this weekend they can help you in the garden and plant some seeds of hardy annual flowers.
More often that not c hildren like to see things happen quickly but this week will give them something to look forward to.
This week, we are going to plant some hardy annual flower seeds at the lowest possible cost.
Hardy annuals are plants that are sown now and will flower next summer. They will produce a carpet of colour for many weeks and are often called cottage garden plants.
Also they are wonderful for bees, which is very important to any gardener.
Dig over a border to the depth of a garden fork and then rake the area over to a depth of four inches.
Use the rake so that the soil is nice and fine and then apply a dressing of fish, blood and bone fertiliser using two ounces per square yard.
Rake again to ensure the fertiliser is well incorporated into the top four inches of soil.
Now, this is the fun bit...
Give the children a broom handle and ask them to make jigsaw puzzle shapes by pushing the tips of the broom handle into the border.
Encourage them to imagine how the colours will look, show them the pictures of the flowers and ask them to look at the heights of the blooms.
This will cause some arguments but if you are lucky enough to have relaxed and easygoing grandchildren, go to the next step...
Hardy annuals which can be sown now for flowers next summer are larkspur, pot marigolds – which have the botanical name of calendula which means flowers every month – godetia, love-in-a-mist, cornflowers.
There are lots of others too and a seed catalogue will help you find them in the garden centre.
Once the soil and fertiliser has been raked and the areas have been defined, it’s time to sow the seeds.
Put little pinches of seeds about four inches apart into the defined areas and then water the border.
In three weeks there will be a mass of growth including weeds.
If some of the flower seed doesn't germinate, thin out some of those which are successful to fill any gaps.
Wait for another fortnight and then remove the weeds – you will see the same weeds all over the bed but the flowers have their own type of foliage.
This is where the children can help you out a lot – just show them to the weeds, hand them a trowel and promise them an ice lolly.
It shouldn’t be long until the bed is weed-free once again.