As well as being a terribly British affair, the Chelsea Flower is no place for children. Children under 5 are banned and it’s usually so crowded that you wouldn’t wish to risk having your over 5s squashed. But there’s still plenty of inspiration at Chelsea for child-friendly family gardens.
This enormous insect house was constructed on the end of a shed – a great project for an ambitious school gardening club?
Or, on a smaller scale, these insect houses make attractive features for a garden fence or wall.
The NSPCC ‘Garden of Magical Childhood’ was truly magical with a tree house to die for. Never mind the children, I want one of those.
The garden also featured pebbles with wishes painted onto them – an idea that could easily be copied for the smallest of gardens (pool and rubber duck optional).
These oversized polished concrete pebbles were striking and older children could let their imagination run wild finding different uses for them (seats, tables for a tea party, stepping stones, lego base etc etc)
The Homebase garden was designed with families in mind and particularly aimed at parents keen to get their older children connected with nature rather than connected to their phone/ipod/nintendo/xbox etc. I loved the way that vegetables were incorporated effortlessly into flower beds (spot the kale and dwarf beans in the photo above).
Still on the Homebase garden, I liked the way it was divided into distinct spaces with different functions, the photo above showing a cooking/seating area. (Note to my husband who thinks that good garden design for families is maximising lawn space at the expense of everything else – although I have to concede you’d struggle to play ball games in the Homebase garden.)
On a lighter note, some funky garden sculpture may, or may not, be your cup of tea. Not sure it’s mine but they did make me smile.
More elaborate sculpture; recognise this little chap?
If money is no object, how about a child-sized greenhouse? The flower pots inside give you a sense of scale.
And finally, for one year only, gnomes are allowed at the Chelsea Flower Show this year. It’s a good rule of thumb that anything slightly tacky is virtually guaranteed to delight a small child.