Forum home Problem solving

Toddler friendly


This is my first post, I hope I’m in the right place! I’m a new gardener; very enthusiastic but completely new to the game. 
Although I have managed to get a well established lavender hedge going. 

We are turning out lower lawn into a play area for my daughter. I want it to be more explorative than just a slide etc. The plan is to rip up the turf, put in a shed (this will store the toys for now and be a Wendy house later) then I am planning to throw down bark chippings and install a mud kitchen for her. 
She will be 18 months at the start of summer when I plan to have this complete enough for her to enjoy. 

I would love to encourage bugs and insects too. We will have an area between the shed and the fence that is about 1m x 3m which is where I’d like to plant some flowering perennials. But it very much shaded. 

Are there any beautiful shade loving, non toxic (my daughter loves to forage and nibble), insect encouraging, flowering plants?! 

I’d love a tree too at the back of this area if any trees love such conditions? 

I’m time poor so while I can spend a weekend installing my aftercare is limited so it also all needs to be quite low maintenance! 

Maybe I should just throw down bark chippings and plan the flowers in a few years time..? 

Any help and advice is appreciated. 


  • PurplerainPurplerain Posts: 1,053
    I agree with your last comment. They grow up so fast, and you can teach her what she can eat, and what she can't eat. A Rowan tree is good for a small garden and observing the seasons with birds and berries.
    SW Scotland
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,839
    I gave my toddler a sprig of lemon balm yesterday which he was very taken with. He carried it around giving it the occasional sniff for most of the afternoon. All the fun plants seem to be sun lovers sadly. Herbs and fluffy things like lambs ears. Can you reorganise things to put non-growing features in the shade and plants in the sun?
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    edited January 2020
    I wouldn't worry too much. Daffodils and potatoes are fun too.
  • Unfortunately no rejigging will give us much sun in that area. We have some great sunny spots in the rest of the garden but I wanted her to have some little plants to explore while she’s making a mess. 

    Potatoes are a great idea! 

    I’m going to plant snowdrop bulbs and daffodils for next spring. I’m a bit late to the party this year for them (I think...?) 
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,369
    Violas can manage some shade and they are edible. But they don't like hot summer sun, best through winter up to June.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,135
    I thought potato green was poisonous, it grows things that look like tomatoes but are deadly if eaten, or perhaps I’m wrong. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,839
    I used to have a lot of fun growing spuds with my nephew. He'd spend more time making friends with the worms than helping but I'd make sure he was extra muddy when I handed him back.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,992
    You can buy pots of bulbs (snowdrops, daffodils etc) at the garden centre now for planting out. A relatively expensive way of doing it, but it does give instant results.  The daffodil pots come in bright yellow colours so you can reuse them. Snowdrops in particular don't mind shade.
    This may give you some ideas
Sign In or Register to comment.