I really enjoy encouraging my boys to get out into the garden and involve themselves in the work: planting, weeding, sowing seeds, and harvesting as well as eating the fruits of our labour (I’m sure that’s the part my husband likes best!). Today on the spur of the moment we took that one step further: arming them with a paintbrush and some cuprinol, we let them weatherproof their little picnic bench whilst supervising from a safe distance i.e. up the stairs leading to our house. They loved getting to paint and have learnt a valuable lesson in the process about preserving outdoor wooden furniture against the elements.
I’ve been secretly hoping that they’re learning as they go along and was happy to hear them reel off the names of some of our plants today when we played my version of ‘eye-spy’ which sends them searching for plants of certain colours, leaf texture, scent and appearance etc. (basically whatever pops into my head at the time). They found and named a sedum, anemone, hosta, lavender, onions, our butterfly bush which we’re attempting to train as a standard inside a tyre, rosemary, poppies, buttercups and bleeding heart (dicentra). It’s so rewarding having them interested in gardening and wanting to do more; I’ve been asked to get them manure because it’s good for strawberries but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be letting them loose with that anytime soon!
I think the next step will involve my boys and me teaching my husband about garden pests. Having entrusted him to keep an eye on the plants while I was a little under the weather, I was confronted with a gooseberry bush with no foliage! Ironically he noticed the fiends that were munching on it and thought it would be okay because it was just caterpillars. Unfortunately it wasn’t just caterpillars, it was sawfly larvae, and they’ve spread to our other bush.. No gooseberries for us this year I guess, but: Look out sawflies, my boys and I will be ready for you next year!