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The next generation

Dogwooddays started a thread "How did your love of gardening begin?" which I have greatly enjoyed following.  A persistent theme is the inspiration, teaching and encouragement of a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle.  And for many people, a wider love for the natural world.

So let's share our endeavours to pass it on.

Here goes:. Every year there's a summer fete in my local park, and I organise a wild flower hunt which is free to enter.  I print a sheet with photos and names of about 15 of the plants that grow wild in the park and give the children a plastic bag to collect specimens.  There's a prize for each age group, books about wildlife and gardening which are donated by our local branch of Waterstone's.

One little girl's bag contained a couple of snails which, by the time she got back to me, had found each other and were busy making more snails.  "Oh look!" She exclaimed, "They're kissing!"


  • Haha.  I LOVE that you organise a wild flower hunt, that's such a great idea (though I'm not so sure about collecting them, if I'm honest).

    My story is pretty stock, I think.  My Dad was a pretty keen gardener and conservationist, he used to take us out in the woods just for walks and was always growing stuff at home.  He keeps quite a wild garden now- which I do like even if my wife doesn't- but that passion inevitably rubs off on you.  I must confess to not knowing even a fraction of what he does but I enjoy it and I enjoy learning it and I love that my own children do too.  We're off on a 'Worm Hunt' next weekend!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 25,361

    It can backfire.  I included Possum in my gardening from when she could totter and before then sat in her pushchair or on the grass - sowing, planting, watering (best bit for her) and harvesting.  She'd happily wander out by herself and eat every strawberry and blueberry and raspberry in sight.

    Then she discovered insects and spiders and dirt and now has absolutely no interest except as a place to go and sunbathe, well away from the new found problem of local western whip snakes and their compost heaps.

    I did ask her to dead head all the hostas for me and the pelargoniums a couple of years ago.  She managed to toss my secateurs on the compost heap and we didn't find them for another 6 months.  You should have heard what the Felco people at Chelsea had to say about them.  Worst case they'd ever seen.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,124

    I try to show my neieces the joys of gardening, nature and wildlife. My littlest neice is the youngest volunteer at the local nature reserve - she has made nest boxes, sowed wildflowers and counted birds. She loves coming to my garden to water the pots and check the progress of her seeds and plants. Seeing her face when the tomato seedlings popped up was the best. I find that the gardening and nature activities lead to other learning, such as counting, drawing and reading plus other skills such as following instructions, being tidy and working as a team (well sometimes!). 

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532

    I remember an old lady of my youthful acquaintance telling me about her granddaughter's boyfriend.  "I don't think there can be much wrong about a young man who likes gardening."

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 25,361

    Aunty Rachel, it's a double whammy isn't it which is why the RHS has developed a programme for horticulture in schools.  It helps get kids interested in plants and wildlife and where food comes from but also gets them learning in different ways and outdoors which has to be good for all kids with different learning skills.

    I reckon the way to Possum's gardening heart will be thru her stomach - as long as she doesn't always find extra protein in her broccoli!

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • MrsFoxgloveMrsFoxglove SurreyPosts: 180

    What a lovely thread image

    Funnily enough I'm taking my 3 & a half year old little girl on her first "gardening" course at RHS Wisley tomorrow morning. 

    We were out sowing seeds this afternoon and she's helped me pot up all our spring bulbs. 

    She loves nature and with it being something my great granny passed down to my nanna, mum and myself I feel duty bound to encourage my little one in the garden. It's a wonderful (sometimes messy) thing to experience together. 

    She loves getting dirty and gas no fear of bugs and is always proclaiming "awwww what a cutie" when she finds a toadimage

    I must admit I didn't enjoy it when she picked a beautiful rose I'd been waiting to see in full bloom though image ha ha 

  • SussexsunSussexsun Posts: 1,444

    I inherited my love of gardening from watching both my mum and dad in their own gardens. My boys would watch me potter about when they were young and we did all the usual things of growing sunflowers, planting bulbs etc.

    they are now 21 and 19 and have little interest but i was the same as it wasn't until I had a garden of my own that I became what I would call a home gardener. When they buy their own homes then I hope to they will come back to it and find enjoyment in creating their own gardens.

    To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,569

    My daughter is a child minder, she takes her children to the Eden Project every week, they know how veg grows, the names of basic flowers, the smells of different herbs, lots of different insects, she teaches then to not panic around bees, wasps, spiders beetles etc her hobby is gardening so it’s a good combination.

    They go in the garden with her, know not to pick anything or eat anything,  they love to visit the GC and choose plants. 

    When they go to Heligan they walk around the woods, they can tell you what animal lives in what hole, names of trees and fruits.  There’s plenty of time for book learning, she likes to get the basics instilled before they go to school. 

    Of course, being  a pre school teacher, they do start school with the basic knowledge that is required.  ?

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,414

    Sussexsun, There's plenty of time My own children had basic gardening they were keen, then Music and dancing from Mum and i and then came rock music sitting on the floor dancing and instant makeovers for gardens on TV they all lost interest. Came marriage children and gardens of their own and the old interest was back. They now are into gardening except one who because of her love of dogs has artificial lawn (excuse me whilst I spew in this bucket). Two of my grandchildren are learning Ballroom dancing at 12 and 16 and doing very well. keyboards have come back into their homes with requests for Dad to demonstrate and give them lessons My second eldest Daughter is back into Ballroom dancing with her Husband, it comes round in circles as do most things in life, my wedding suit should be back in fashion for the umpteenth time any time soon, do not lose heart, the basic instinct will be there waiting to grow and flower once more.


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