mini gardeners

inspiring gardening projects for children

Time for a haircut

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topiary rabbittopiary rabbit

You know how it is……. things get busy , you don’t have your hair cut for a while. Then you can’t do a thing with it and every day becomes a Bad Hair Day.

After a quick trim this afternoon our topiary rabbit can now hold his head up high and Bad Hair Days are a thing of the past.

We also gave him a long overdue feed. He’s about 3 years old and the plant inside the frame – box (Buxus sempervirens) – is filling out nicely.

A lot less trouble than a real rabbit 🙂

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Strawberry Hearts

grow yur own strawberries

The strawberry season is in full swing now and nothing beats the taste of a freshly harvested home-grown strawberry.

Strawberries are so easy to grow that they’re on our list of top ten plants for children. They’re tolerant of a wide range of soils and can be grown in patio pots, hanging baskets, window boxes or directly in the ground. Provided you pick a sunny spot and water regularly after planting until plants are established, you’re onto a winner.

Our top tips for strawberry growing:

1.Avoid those strawberry towers at all costs. They’re difficult to water (the water tends to flow straight out of the plating holes) and a regular pot or planter is much better.

2.Don’t get bogged down with choosing the “best” variety. The majority of our strawberries are grown from plants rescued from a jungle of overgrown grass and weeds on our allotment. We have no idea what type they are, but they’re delicious eaten straight from the plant with zero food miles and no cold storage anywhere in sight.

3. Plant at the correct depth – see here for details.

4. Strawberry plants usually need replacing every 3 to 5 years as yields will drop and plants become susceptible to disease. But the good news is that your strawberry plant will provide new plants for free. When your plant puts out runners (new plants on long stems) pot them up and sever from the parent plant when the roots are growing strongly.

5. If you’re growing a large number of strawberry plants, we can recommend planting through permeable weed control fabric. This significantly reduces weeding and watering and makes for a low maintenance strawberry patch.

And finally, if you end up with a few mushy strawberries that are slightly past their best, they’re perfect for making strawberry hearts:

frozen strawberry puree hearts

Simply puree the strawberries then pour into ice cube trays and freeze.  Great for serving alongside ice cream or for eating by themselves on a hot day.


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Lonely

grass head

Yesterday this little grass head had 64 friends. But following a successful re-homing program at a summer fete, she’s now all alone.

(Personally, I’ll be very happy if I don’t see another grass head for a while; they’ve been loitering in my kitchen all week and making me feel ever so slightly crazed.)


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Pest Explosion

We don’t usually have much of a problem with plant pests and diseases in our garden. There’s the odd bit of damage from a slug or snail from time to time but nothing else of note.

Until about a month ago that is, when all manner of pests decided to take up residence in our garden.

We now have lots of greenfly, several plant stems completely smothered with blackfly and then ….. we spotted these horrors on the hydrangea in the front garden.
scale insects in hydrangea leaf
I think they’re eggs of scale insects, although I’m happy to be corrected if someone knows otherwise.  Like aphids, scale insects are sap-sucking pests and will weaken any plant they adopt as their home, as well as looking unsightly.

The hydrangea is completely covered in them so we may need to suspend our organic gardening principles just this once and resort to chemical warfare.