Let’s get muddy! Kid-friendly gardening schemes

Some of my earliest memories are of playing in our garden, which was quite large and backed onto a field as we lived in the last bungalow at the edge of a remote Shropshire village. My parents were keen advocates of grow your own, following in the footsteps of Tom and Barbara Good (this was…

Nymans: a theatrical garden for all seasons

Overlooking the beautiful South Downs in the West Sussex village of Handcross, Nymans, now a National Trust garden, was once home to the Messel family, whose descendants included the famous theatre designer Oliver Messel and photographer Lord Snowdon. The garden is perhaps best known for its herbaceous border, which blazes with colour in the height…

In A Vase on Monday: The Last Poppy

The day after Remembrance Day and my Littlest Weed found a poppy by the roadside on our way home from school. He picked it – despite my entreaties to leave it for others to enjoy – then when we got home without prompting put it in this little jug with a leaf he had picked….

Lakeland, wolves and Peter Rabbit

The first time I visited the Chelsea Flower Show was in 2005, when my favourite garden was designed by the former pop singer Kim Wilde on a Lakeland theme. I thought about this when we visited the Lake District in May and I was blown away by the lushness of the vegetation. I grew up…

Pumpkin patch kids

There is something quite magical about pumpkins. Whether it is Halloween Jack O’Lanterns or Cinderella’s carriage, they hold a special place in our imagination, which is why they are perfect to grow with kids. My children hate any enforced activity in the garden, but their interest in the pumpkins I grew this year was entirely…

A gardenin’ book for Little Weeds

“Can this be my gardenin’ book?” asks Littlest Weed. I was sent a review copy  of A Big Garden by Gilles Clément and Vincent Gravé by Prestel a few months ago and it has taken me a while to get round to reviewing it. But for the last few weeks, Littlest Weed and I have…

Half-term crowds at RHS Wisley

As we turned into RHS Wisley on a sunny Friday towards the end of half-term, I thought we had made a terrible mistake. While we queued to get into the overflow car park and watched legions of welly-booted sprogs marching towards the entrance, Mr Carrot suggested turning back and trying somewhere else. I pointed out that…

Wild Fridays: hazel catkins

I have been thinking a lot lately about Robert Mcfarlane’s assertion that more children can identify a Bulbasoar from Pokémon than a badger. I find it hard to believe, even though it was based on a paper in Science, as my own children (admittedly not a scientific sample) could spot a badger from an early…

In A Vase on a Monday: a cup of magic

Not in a vase but in a tiny cup on Monday this week. At the weekend we took the Little Weeds to The Making of Harry Potter studio tour – a very belated birthday treat for Middle Weed. Seeing all the beautifully intricate set designs and props for the films has reignited my mild Harry…

Wild Fridays: Beechnuts and Old Man’s Beard

We are lucky to have a beautiful green space a short walk from our house called ‘Baxter’s Field’, which is owned and maintained by a private committee but open to the public on most days of the year. It is just the right distance for Littlest Weed and me if we are feeling a bit…