mini gardeners

inspiring gardening projects for children

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Wasps’ nest

wasps' nest in progress

wasps’ nest in progress

We discovered the start of a wasps’ nest in our allotment shed earlier this week.

Apologies for the poor quality of the photograph which was taken hastily under threat of stinging.

What the photograph doesn’t convey is the beautiful, papery nature of the nest, with embryonic chambers on the inside.  All the more amazing that it’s made from wood pulp collected by the wasps and mixed with their saliva.

Despite it’s beauty, we weren’t keen to share our shed with wasps.  But fortunately on a return visit later this week, there were no further signs of building work progressing and the nest had started to disintegrate.  Phew.

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Bottle top cress seedlings

cress seedlings in bottle tops

cress seedlings in bottle tops

Spotted this little gem at the Chelsea Flower Show; cress seedlings growing in plastic bottle tops.  (Click on the image to enlarge.)

The perfect recycled container for tiny hands or for putting into miniature gardens?  We think so.

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No Tesco in Ancient Greece

I’ve been gardening with a group of year 3 schoolchildren who have Ancient Greece as their topic this term.

The Ancient Greeks were early adopters of the “grow your own” movement, mainly out of necessity as there wasn’t a Tesco metro on every street corner.

So today we planted a mini Ancient Greek garden to showcase some of the plants that would have been grown for food in Ancient Greece.

Ancient Greek garden

Ancient Greek garden

Our planting list:

  • an olive tree (not sure how many olives we’ll get in London, especially with no BBQ summer in sight)
  • a grape vine (used to provide grapes to eat and also for making wine – they drank a lot of wine in Ancient Greece, must have been very jolly)
  • legumes (i.e. peas and beans.  My research (a bit of googling) didn’t reveal exactly which legumes might have been grown in Ancient Greece so we used the peas that we’d sown last term.)
  • herbs for flavouring food

– parsley

– thyme

– mint

– and coriander to follow soon

As I happened to have a bag full of shells I needed to dispose of, we edged our farm with shells to symbolise the fact that the Ancient Greeks ate a lot of fish.  They were not huge meat eaters, often only eating meat if they had sacrificed an animal to the Gods.  In fact, placing the shells round the edge was the most popular part of the whole session.  Next time we might forget the plants and just make patterns in the soil with shells.