Children: getting them interested in gardening
Inspiring children to enjoy plants and gardening can give them a healthy hobby for their whole lives. Capture their interest with brightly-coloured flowers, scented plants, tactile leaves and tasty, quick-growing, edible plants.
Why the RHS inspires children to garden
Gardening is a healthy and inexpensive way for children to learn and have fun at home, school or the allotment. Research suggests children perform better at school if they’re involved with gardening and many will develop a greater interest in healthy eating if they get to grow their own veg.
Plants to inspire children
Experiencing success in growing plants as a child is often a person's first memory of gardening. Give children their own positive experience by introducing them to some inspiring plants;
- Easy flowers to grow from seed include as sunflower, marigolds and poppies and big seeds from trees such as oak or sycamore
- Sensory plants to play with include rattling poppy seedheads, furry Stachys byzantina, smelly curry plant (Helichrysum italicum), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) and chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
- Quick and tasty edible plants include swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’, radish, lettuce, courgettes and runner beans
- Edible flowers to try include sweet-tasting day lily (Hemerocallis) and peppery nasturtium
On the web:
- BBC website dedicated to gardening with children (in collaboration with the RHS)
- 'Seeds for Little Gardeners' from Johnsons Seeds
- Interesting articles on projects for children of different ages at Kids Gardening
- 'Budding gardeners' gardening projects for the school from Harrod Horticultural
- British Tomato Grower’s interactive website for children
- Colourful ‘Little Growers’ range from Unwins
Books for gardening with children
- Great Gardens for Kids by Clare Matthews (Hamlyn 2002, ISBN 9780600605164)
- Kids in the Garden: Growing Plants for Food and Fun by Elizabeth McCorquodale (Black Dog Publishing 2010, ISBN 9781906155926)
- Lets Go Gardening! A Young Person’s Guide to the Garden by Ursula Krüger (Lutterworth Press 1993, ISBN 9780718828790)
- The Family Garden by Lia Leendertz (Dorking Kindersley 2009, ISBN 9781405335485)
These books are available through the Lindley Library.
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.