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.