We all love books for Christmas, so I have some tips on great gardening books for the kids and something for you too! I have met so many Moms and Dads who have said that their kids really want to grow stuff but they don’t know where to start. Start small I say, and there is no better way to learn but by actually doing it. So if you are one of those parents who would like some ideas about what to grow with your kids and how to do it, here are a few great books that the kids will love too. RHS Ready, Steady, Grow!
This is a wonderful book for both you and the kids. It gives you all the basics, with tips for green gardening, recycling, garden crafts, cool and unusual plants, quick to grow flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruit with recipes too! This is a very visual book, a book that would engage and excite children from five to twelve years. Highly recommended. As a companion to that, there is the RHS Wildlife Garden.
This book would be suited to kids a little older, say seven to twelve years. It has lots of great ideas for bringing wildlife into the garden including plants to attract birds, bees and butterflies, it explains the garden as a habitat and projects include butterfly house, bug hotels, frog and toad homes bird feeders and lots more. This book is great for getting kids out into the garden to explore and learn more about the nature all around us. Visually beautiful too. A third book by the RHS and one I haven’t actually got my hands on yet is the RHS Grow Your Own for Kids: How to be a Great Gardener.
This book has a publishing date of the 2nd January 2012, but seems to be available from Amazon already. I don’t know what is in it, but I have great faith in the RHS and expect that it will be great. If you have other things on your Christmas list and just can’t find space for any of the books above, can I direct you to the RHS website, which has a section dedicated to children, with links to other useful websites. There are lots of other kids gardening books around, but many of them have wonderful photography but lack useful information, so I suggest you have a browse at your local library before buying too many. Another lovely little book on designing a family garden is Family Gardens: How to Create Magical Spaces for All Ages by Bunny Guinness.
This book will give you loads of ideas on creating a great space for you and your kids, as well as lots of useful information on wildlife gardens, establishing a woodland, water gardening, garden games, playhouses and tree houses. It also includes simple plants t grow with children and what not to grow, poisonous plants. For yourself, if you are interested in growing your own or indeed designing and planting an ornamental garden, I came across a lovely book recently Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening by Pauline Pears.
As you can imagine I have a huge amount of books lying around and I get truckloads from the library too, so I was delighted when I found this at the local library. Generally we associate ‘organic’ growing with food, but we should also try to grow organic in all the other parts of our garden, encourage friendly creatures and welcome biodiversity. This book covers everything from the basics, compost, weeds and plant health, to looking good, ornamentals, containers and lawns, to growing your own. I found it especially good for crop planning and rotation. Finally, for anyone interested in growing vegetables in the Irish climate, you must read Vegetables: For the Irish Garden by Klaus Laitenberger.
A brilliant, simple, interesting and essential guide to vegetable gardening. Definitely one for the avid grower. Klaus Laitenberger also put together the GIY 2012 seed catalog which is online now, orders to be in before the 30th January 2012.