Keen gardeners who start a family quickly discover that neat gardens and active children do not often mix. Since there is no Point trying to stop the children using the garden, or constantly telling them to get off this area and not touch that Plant, a compromise is needed whereby everyone can live happily. Remember that a garden should be fun Place for everyone.
Children in the garden
Wherever you do, children will always be children, and quite rightly so. They will want to play ball and racket games in the garden, and will want to career around on bikes and in go-karts. These things present problem for the gardener ? balls will crash through the borders, bringing down plants; cyclists or go?karters will veer oil the lawn or path and end up lying in a nest of tangled plants.
To some extent, trouble can be voided by creating a family garden where there is room for all activities. Plenty of lawn 0r hard surfaces should be provided 0n which children can play. There could also be special areas for them perhaps with swings. sandpits. ?camp? or ?houses?. the very best gardens are those: with a variety of nooks and crannies in which children can hide. So, if possible, you could try creating some of these.
Your garden may be large enough for you to divide it up into a number of areas, each for a particular activity. This may, for example, include an area for playthings as well as a place for growing precious plants.
Many young children are very keen on gardening ? they love to see things growing. Although eager to help you with your gardening, most children are happiest of all with a small plot of their own. Encourage them to grow annuals, which are quick to germinate and produce colorful results or which they can be justifiably proud. A small selection of- quick-growing vegetable will also delight. Children?s interests can wane as rapidly as they began, so be prepared to absorb the plot back into the garden. Alternatively, provide them with long?flowering plants, such as Tagetes, which will fill the space over a long period.
Cats, dogs and other pets are also part or the family, and friction can often erupt when they flatten plants or dig up borders. Low fences can deter them from running into
Borders, but with some dogs it will be necessary to fence off your flower garden completely. V1ld birds that you feed in winter also need to be taken into account, as they will often strip plants of flowers or berries that you want to keep. There is little you can do about this except grow plants that they do not touch (skimmed berries, for example, are rarely eaten) or cover plants with a network of dark cotton.
It is not only children who indulge in non-gardening pursuits. Most of the family wants to do other things at some time or other, and space for relaxing is very important. This may just involve a spot for sitting or for lounging in the sun, or more likely will also include some provision for eating, possibly with a barbecue area. It is a good idea to surround places where you relax with fragrant plants. These will be most welcome if you sit outside in the evening once the sun has gone down. Remember that certain blues and whites show up especially well in the fading light, so try to use plants with flowers of these colors. In a barbecue area, grow a few herbs so that they can be easily picked and used.
Special ways with annuals and perennials
If you have a big garden, and plenty of free time at your disposal, then you can indulge in just about every aspect of gardening. However, if you do not have these luxuries, you may well find that you have the space to do only one thing properly, and so you specialize. Alternatively, you may want to garden for just one particular purpose, such as providing cut flowers for your home or local community centre.
There are many ways in which you can specialize, and a few are suggested here. It is possible, for example, to have a border or even a whole small garden devoted to plants that include your name. There are over IOO plants that contain the name Helen, for example, including Aster novi ? belgii ?Helen? and Dirmtfms ?Helen?. You could create a garden filled with plants mentioned in the works of Shakespeare, or in books by your favorite novelist. Research is involved here, of course, but this kind is usually very enjoyable. in any case, rather than devote a whole garden to any of these themes, you could restrict yourself to just a single border or an area within the main garden. The possibilities are endless and the result is likely to be a unique garden that no one else will have.
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