How many of us older folks bemoan the time that youngsters spend on their mobiles and video games? Back in the good old days, we say, kids used to be outdoors playing and finding out what the real world was all about. But if you watch young children who haven’t already got the clicking habit, there’s nothing they like better than digging and playing around with all sorts of messy materials.
If we gardeners don’t harness this natural curiosity and enjoyment of the outdoors, who will be the farmers and gardeners in the future if today’s children don’t want to be outside or get dirt under their fingernails?
So we’re working in partnership with the Unity Hubb, the community centre based at St.Margarets Road Ward End, to encourage youngsters to take an interest in gardens. This week we put together and delivered Miniature Garden kits to lots of families in the area.
Three months into the lockdown, lots of children must be getting bored and frustrated as well as missing their mates and the wide range of activities they get at school. So interesting things to do in the garden are the perfect solution. Cue to allotment fans to get them into gardening.
Miniature gardens are just that – miniature versions of a garden in a box or a seed tray. You can design and plan them, plant seeds or transplant flowers and other plants, and include hard landscaping and features just like the real thing.
So we put together a kit to start the ball rolling. Rashta Butt, Centre Manager at the Unity Hubb secured funding and organised the delivery. Faith Pearson, of Eco Gardening Services, made wooden boxes and contributed plants. Local gardening enthusiast, Aisha Mahmood organised the registration and my role was to prepare the guide on how to create a Miniature Garden, sort out seeds and collect materials such as gravel, shells and seeds to put into the kits.
The Kits are for under 16s and they’re being asked to bring their creation to an event being organised for August 18th – the Unity Garden Show – at St.Margarets Road Allotment Site, if the social distancing restrictions are relaxed in time.
We’re also promoting Mobile Gardens – gardens in recycled containers such as wheelbarrows, supermarket trolleys or bread baskets. Plants and seeds provided to families and other households so they can try their hand at growing vegetables, herbs and flowers over the next couple of months. We’re hoping to see their creations too on the 18th August.