How To Get Your Kids Out Of The House And Into The Garden
By News Canada
Look up the positive effects of gardening and you’ll find a wealth of studies from educational and government institutions that support its impact on your physical and mental well being. But it’s not just adults who benefit from time in the garden. It’s a great way to spend time with your kids while teaching them about biology, food and geology.
Here, garden guru Frank Ferragine, aka Frankie Flowers, shares his tested and true techniques to get your kids in the garden.
Give them a plot of edibles: Your backyard garden can be a fantastic source of delicious fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and berries. “Letting the kids pick out and maintain edible plants or grow them from seed in their own plot will help foster ownership in the garden,” said Ferragine. “If you’re looking for something that will really get the kids and their tastebuds excited, the geniuses at President’s Choice have put together a strawberry trio that contains framberries, pineberries and seaburst strawberries.”
Give them their own tools: “A watering can, trowel, gloves and kneeling pad may be all it takes to get your son or daughter in the garden with you,” said Ferragine. “Their own set of tools will make them feel more grown up and more responsible.”
Create a miniature garden: Condo or apartment living shouldn’t keep your kids from learning about gardening. “PC Garden Centres have tons of fun planters and colourful pots for the balcony. Planting some microgreens or seasonal flowers in them is a wonderful way to teach your young ones about planting and watering,” said Ferragine. “Hanging baskets are another great choice for these smaller spaces, and the bright colours that are trendy this year will captivate your kids.”
Get connected: For younger generations who engage each other on social media, showing them gardening has its place online can go a long way. “Kids love taking photos, so why not give your little ones an assignment to take some gardening photos to share with you or their friends? It’s likely to spark more interest in the work you’re doing out there and you’ll make some memories to last a lifetime.”
TOP GARDENING TRENDS FOR 2017
With warm weather on its way, there’s never been a better time to start planning your garden. To help you get started this season, Ferragine has some thoughts on top gardening trends this year.
Big pops of colour: Last year we saw some contrast with loud hues married to more muted, pastel tones, but this year is all about bright colours. Calibrachoas will be this year’s showstoppers with brilliant purples and beaming yellows. Not only do they require little maintenance, but they’ll last from spring until first frost with masses of cascading branches full of petunia-like flowers. Expect to see a rainbow of vibrant impatiens with brighter reds, pinks and oranges in hanging baskets across the country.
Urban planting: This year, condo and apartment dwellers aren’t likely to miss out on the gardening fun. “Urban gardening is going to be bigger than ever,” said Ferragine. “Hanging baskets will be popular spring purchases and many gardeners are already excited about the wide selection of colourful pots from brands like President’s Choice to make a statement in their yards or on their balconies.”
Tough meets tender: A great way to keep your garden looking lush throughout the year is by mixing tough plants with tender ones. While softer, less hardy varieties like peonies, salvia and verbena look lovely, it’s a good idea to intermingle them with lower- maintenance resilient varieties like echinacea, roses and succulents that will keep your garden full in spite of harsher, dryer conditions.
Climate consciousness: Canada is huge and our climate is varied, therefore it stands to reason that a plant that grows well in Victoria may not fare so well in Winnipeg. Plant tags contain key information on plant hardiness zones and what type of plant will do best in specific zones or regions. Still, Ferragine says that “Canadians are more informed than ever about the role our climate can play in growing a successful garden.”
Patriotic plants: Red and white plants are already gaining a lot of attention in the gardening world. “Without a doubt, this year’s hottest flower is the Canadian Shield Rose,” says Ferragine. Made in Canada, this choice is a perfect way to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday. Named as 2017’s Flower of the Year by Canada Blooms, the Canadian Shield Rose (pictures) is is able to survive our rigorous winters from coast to coast. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Canada in your garden this summer.
THREE TIPS FOR A BEE-FRIENDLY GARDEN
We don’t all have a green thumb, but a beautiful flower garden doesn’t have to be difficult. Planting a little patch of colour can be easy and rewarding, not just for us, but also for pollinators like honeybees. By following these tips, anyone can turn their outdoor space into an area that looks beautiful and helps feed hungry honey bees all summer long.
Your garden is like a buffet for honeybees. Plants reproduce through pollination. This occurs when pollen is transferred from one flowering plant to another. Moving the pollen is where honeybees come in. They use nectar and pollen as food for their hives, but in their travels they can also spread the pollen. Make sure you plant bee-attractive flowering plants that will bloom in your garden at different times throughout the summer.
Plant wherever you can. It doesn’t matter if you live in a house or an apartment — whether it’s on your balcony, on a rooftop or in your backyard — a small patch of flowers can help feed honeybees in your community. Consider plants native to Canada like lance-leaved coreopsis, sneezeweed, New England asters, dense blazing stars and golden tickseed.
Choose the right seeds. Researching the best plants for your area doesn’t have to be a long and cumbersome process. Bees Matter offers free pollinator-friendly seeds with an online sign-up at http://www.beesmatter.ca. Using pre-packaged Buzzing Gardens seed kits can help make planting your garden quick and easy.