What makes a garden ‘good for kids’? This is something I’ve been pondering since becoming a parent almost two years ago. Disclaimer: this isn’t going to be a post on ten steps to making your garden child friendly. It’s more of a personal musing on what value our tiny urban garden could have to our little boy. The received wisdom on designing a garden with kids in mind is focussed on removing hazards, ensuring your child is contained, and finding sympathetic ways of incorporating play equipment into the space. This all assumes that you have a large enough area to be concerned about these things. With a garden which is less than 30m² there isn’t enough space for running around and playing games, let alone accommodating swings and trampolines!
London is a city in which I have spent plenty of time over the course of my life, but it’s been a couple of years since my last visit. This recent sojourn was prompted by the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends, providing a rare opportunity for a day out unencumbered by parenting responsibilities. There are few things I love more than walking around a city – navigating your way through its streets you really get to experience the details and fabric of its life. So, before I joined up for an afternoon of craft beers, I took the chance to have a meander. The area around Kings Cross, which I remember being fairly grotty in the past, has been undergoing major redevelopment. It is now awash with smart new office and apartment buildings, surrounding public squares with trickling fountains, interspersed with designer shops and high-end restaurants. However, the place that I wanted to seek out was the antithesis of these symbols of modern living.
18 months ago, shortly after the birth of my son, I wrote a blog about my intention to redesign the planting in our tiny back garden. The best laid plans of mice and men! Of course in the general melee of life, parenting and the dreaded return to work, little of consequence occurred during 2018 to progress these grand plans. I did give some thought to the plants I might potentially like to use and did a spot of research into their characteristics and preferred conditions which at least helped to narrow things down. Quaint notions of fully developed planting plans however never materialised.
Oh Portmeirion, how I love you! I think this week’s visit was maybe my 6th or 7th. The previous three times had been for Festival No.6. Fun though those weekends were, it has to be said that Portmeirion is a far lovelier proposition when it is not swarming with 10,000 bearded hipsters. On that most perfect of things, a British summer’s day – warm but not hot, hazy sunshine, a light breeze – we this time pottered around with toddler in tow.
Although I have always enjoyed watching the wildlife that visits our small urban garden, my efforts in terms of deliberately choosing to include particular features for its benefit has, to date, been fairly erratic. Having followed Kate Bradbury on social media for a while, I was keen to get hold of her new book, Wildlife Gardening for everyone and everything. This a short review for the interest of those who would like to find out more about gardening for wildlife. Continue reading →