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!
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
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling utterly demoralised by the frequent news stories on the continued degradation of the natural world. From the shocking levels of plastic pollution in our seas to the now obvious signs of climate change, and industrial scale destruction of habitats, it’s hard to avoid feeling hopeless about the planet’s current and future state. While it is clear that addressing these issues will require major policy changes on the part of governments and a shift in culture from big business I do believe that individuals can also make a difference by becoming more engaged and changing their own habits.
A huge amount of emphasis in gardening is focussed on how plants and hard landscaping can be combined to make a space look good, using colour, form and texture. However, incorporating features which engage other senses can be equally important in creating a garden which can be enjoyed year round. Continue reading
The recently released The Lost Words is a beautiful book which was developed following the decision to remove a number of words describing the natural world from the Oxford Junior Dictionary in favour of those deemed more contemporary. The book has rightly met with great acclaim as it seeks to re-engage children with descriptions of the flora and fauna many of us once took for granted. But it also prompts reflection on the loss not only of vocabulary, but also of access to the world which it describes for the increasing population of town and city dwellers. Continue reading