Gardening Classes Near Me. ‘School’s out for the summer’ as the song says, and the long, hot holidays lie ahead. For many gardeners, the weeding, picking, and deadheading will have to wait for free moments snatched from the everyday busyness of trips to the beach and family holidays. But in between the sandy sandwiches, the sunburnt noses, and the mosquito bites, there’s plenty of time to nurture the young gardener in your offspring. And grand-offspring.
They Could Make Their own Garden
(Experience advises one each.) A sunny corner that can easily be cleared and where the soil has been well cultivated is ideal. And pulling out old plants and weeds is all part of the muddy fun.
Then it’s off to the garden center or your local nursery to choose plants. Children love the whacky and the colorful, and you may well have to be ready to explain why a large apple-tree, the cacti that look so fetching, or the ‘Mile-a-Minute’ vines are probably not the most suitable.
And that they will have more success with quick-fix plants that are fast-growing and produce lots of flowers. Plants such as Penstemons, hardy Geraniums, and Day Lilies (Hemerocallis) are instant and easy.
Although it’s a little late in the season to sow and plant most vegetables, if the children enjoy lettuces or radishes, sowing made in early July would produce a quick crop that could be ready to eat before they go back to school. If you already have a vegetable garden then they will love the fun of digging up gleaming white potatoes; picking sweet ripe pears, and finding the runner beans that you missed the last time you picked them.
Occasionally some of their plants, and inevitably many of yours will get attacked by pests while your back is turned.
A hand lens will reveal the horrific intimacies of aphids, whitefly, and caterpillars that are sure to appeal to anyone of a nervous disposition. The ‘goodies’ of the insect world look pretty scary too in close-up: the hoverflies, ladybirds, spiders and fast, black, shiny beetles that do so much to keep the pestilential numbers down.
With a pair of binoculars they could watch the Finches and Tits grazing on the greenfly in the roses without disturbing them. And if you have water in the garden there are often frogs and toads lurking under the leaves.
After rain, perhaps the children could stay up until it gets dark and go slug and snail hunting with a torch and a big bucket. You’ll need to think what to do with the slimy molluscs after capture, though. Prisoner release should be a very long way away from the garden if you want to avoid gruesome alternatives.
It’s becoming increasingly popular to use wormeries in the vegetable garden. Unlike a conventional compost heap, all the kitchen waste, including cooked and uncooked food can be used. The whole process of ingesting and defecating soil and debris is so important that Darwin called worms ‘the most important animals on the planet’. Once the contents have passed through your wriggly army the resulting ‘compost’ is manna to the soil and everything growing in it.
The children could spread it around their plants to encourage flowering, and their favorite vegetables to increase their production. Water in the garden, even a small pond, immediately invites all sorts of wildlife into your environment.
In mid- to late summer dragonfly larvae emerge from the water to turn into fluorescent blue helicopters buzzing around looking for a mate.
They patrol their territory just for a few days while they lay their eggs back in the water and expire. And it’s fascinating to watch Water Boatmen skating about on the pond, never breaking the surface tension. Quietly dipping a fishing net under the water will deliver sticklebacks and minnows from the shallows.
They can be kept in a jam jar of pond water for a few minutes while you spot the difference between spiny sticklebacks and smooth minnows. This year the National Gardens Scheme is encouraging children to visit the gardens open in their ‘Yellow Book’. If you keep a copy in the car you can look up what’s open where and on what date. Gardens open in one particular street or village are ideal for children. Once they and you, have exhausted the potential of the first garden, there’s always another one next door or around the corner.
Each Garden Owner Creates Their Own Unique Style
using different plants in more or less the same soil and microclimate. You will come away with a notebook full of names, and a digital camera loaded with ideas. And everyone is sure to enjoy the squash, teas and home-made cakes that are all part of garden visiting. Often there will be plants for sale too, and plenty of information on hand from the garden owners. It makes a grand day out for all the family as the old adverts used to say.
Topical Tips : Gardening Classes Near Me
Buy a current copy of the RHS PlantFinder to help you find those plants you spotted in the gardens you visited. Check their availability by ringing the nurseries first.
While you are buying plants for the children, you could pick up some fillers-in for the late summer too: Dahlias, Salvias and Cannas will flower until the frosts.
Give them a good watering and plant them as soon as you can – everything is still growing for England in July and August.
Use a liquid feed on your pots and containers regularly to keep them in top condition until the autumn. Their compost will have run out of nutrients after about six weeks from opening the bag.