A closer look at nature

The 'Brash' is a favourite area of RHS Garden Rosemoor for our younger visitors, many of whom have been visiting since it opened seven years ago

The Brash caters particularly for children up to the age of five or six, and the equipment landscape encourages adventurous, discovery play of a gentle nature. Older children find the more challenging equipment of the Copse in Lady Anne’s Garden more to their liking.

I was fortunate to be given responsibility for day-to-day upkeep and development of this area last year and have enjoyed, with the help of the rest of the gardeners, replacing some of the original equipment and making a few new additions.
Building the willow teepeeBridget, James and Pete constructed a new stepping log walkway, only 30cm (12in) from the ground, but still a challenge for little legs. Also there's a beautiful willow teepee to fuel the imagination.

The seating and picnic tables did very well to last seven Devon winters, made using untreated timber from a beech felled close to RHS Garden Rosemoor's main entrance. They are currently being replaced using oak, again from Rosemoor's grounds, this time from Lady Anne’s Garden. The planks were milled on site and, under the skilled hands of Mr Ron Knight, the father of one of our gardeners, they have become spectacular seating areas that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

Our new magnification posts (magposts)Rosemoor's apprentice Miriam helped me with the installation of some magnification posts (magposts) which give the children a chance to see items of interest in greater detail. The area was stripped of vegetation and a stone base was used to ensure that little feet would not get too muddy.

Finally, a layer of bark mulch gives an attractive finish that is pleasant to walk on. The posts are constructed using Robinia which stands up well to the elements and requires minimal upkeep. We have provided a box of interesting items, including some from the beach at my home in Dawlish which will get the children started. I hope this will encourage them to go on and find items themselves which interest and intrigue them, and stimulate a fasination for nature which I have as yet not grown out of.

A cone, as seen through a magpostFor the future, I am in the process of planning an Adventure Trail which will comprise five or six items of play equipment linked together by pathways which optimise the exciting topography of the 'Brash' and are enhanced by plantings of bamboo to add mystery and excitement.

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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.