Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD WEEKEND -

Na­tional Chil­dren’s Day is cel­e­brated in Novem­ber. En­cour­age your chil­dren to spend more time out­doors by help­ing them cre­ate a Peter Rab­bit gar­den. A cou­ple of trays of let­tuce seedlings will pro­vide in­stant colour and in­ter­est while wait­ing for other plants to grow. Straw­ber­ries, a favourite of Peter Rab­bit’s, can be planted in pots. Straw­berry “Pink Panda” has pretty pink flow­ers as well as tasty straw­ber­ries.

Chil­dren will have great fun grow­ing a sun­flower “house”. Buy gi­ant sun­flower seeds, as th­ese are large enough for a child to han­dle. Sow seed in a square di­rectly where they are to flower. Ger­mi­na­tion is quick and plants grow rapidly, im­por­tant if they are to re­tain the in­ter­est of a child.

Herbs add tex­ture and fra­grance to a gar­den and flavour and in­ter­est to food. A prac­ti­cal way of grow­ing herbs is in a for­mal herb gar­den with beds dis­sected by paths, but herbs are also at­trac­tive in flower bor­ders where they add tex­tu­ral in­ter­est and fra­grance. Low grow­ing herbs are suit­able as edg­ings, with taller grow­ing herbs at the back. Herbs are use­ful in the veg­etable gar­den where they help dis­cour­age pests.

Both the com­mon and the lemon-scented thyme are ideal for fill­ing gaps be­tween step­ping­stones. Leaves are used for flavour­ing poul­try, veg­eta­bles, cheese and egg dishes. Chives make a dainty edg­ing, es­pe­cially when the pa­pery mauve flower heads ap­pear.

Bal­conies and win­dow boxes pro­vide easy ac­cess to culi­nary herbs, as do con­tain­ers and hang­ing bas­kets sit­u­ated near the kitchen door. No sprays or pes­ti­cides should be used on herbs used in cook­ing.

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