Archive for November, 2009

From time to time, we like to tell you about schemes and good causes that might be of interest and benefit to anyone gardening with children.   This week its the turn of the Royal Horticultural Society and their Campaign for School Gardening.   This initiative aims to encourage and support schools to develop and actively use a school garden, which we think is a fabulous idea! 


As part of the campaign, RHS provides teachers with resources, including lesson plans, gardening advice, seasonal activities and lots more.  All this is available through their website, along with an extensive programme of training days.  You can also organise a free school visit to one of the four RHS gardens? 


Once you’ve registered with the scheme you will receive a free start-up kit, regular news and items of interest, rewards and certificates as you progress, free seeds, and access to expert advice.

For our advice on setting up a school garden you can also read more here

For all your gardening needs visit Recycleworks.co.uk

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With December just around the corner,  the need to do some Christmas shopping becomes ever more pressing.  For those who love gardening why not avoid the crush of the shops and go for one of our favourite gift ideas.

These beautifully designed top quality Seed Boxes are the perfect place to keep seeds and bulbs in good condition and away from mice and insects.  They come in four gorgeous designs and will delight anyone who receives them.


For lovers of wildlife, we have a fabulous Bundle of Wildlife Goodies on offer for Christmas.  Included in the pack is a Wildlife Surveillance Camera, a Window Bird Feeder, a Birdie Bistro Bird Feeder and 3 Field Guides – Garden Birds, Wetland Birds and British Land Mammals.  For a limited time only you can save over £30, so now is a great time to buy.





And if you want your gardening projects to get off to a flying start in the new year take a look at the Octogrow.  Just keep your 25 litre reservoir topped-up and the clever feeding mechanism will automatically provide your vegetable plants with the water and nutrients they need so that they grow strong and healthy, quickly.  The system is perfect for tomatoes, chillies, beans and peppers.

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Lots of you got in touch to say how much you enjoyed our ideas for Brownies.  So this week we have some more ideas for you.

Brownies Collector Badge

If you would like to win your Collectors Badge why not go on a nature walk and collect something that interests you from the world around.  It could be shells, fossils, leaves, interesting rocks and stones, different seeds from plants…..the list is endless. 

Put all of your finds in a trug and take them home.  Arrange your items and label them.  Then talk about your collection with the tester, how long you have had it, what you like about it, your favourite things in it etc.  And why not find out about other people who made collections like yours and perhaps visit them in a museum.

Brownies Wildlife Explorer Badge

Spend around 15 minutes each day for a week watching birds, animals and insects near where you live. 

Attract birds to your garden by putting out food like these yummy Bird Bistro Feeders, or hang a Nest Pocket in a tree or hedge to provide a place for birds to nest or hide away in the cold weather.  Learn to identify the birds that visit your garden – this Laminated Guide to Garden Birds will help with that. ..And to watch birds really close up, this Bird Window Feeder will bring garden birds right up to you.

Go with an adult to a local park or watch what is happening in your garden or school grounds.  Record what you seen in a nature notebook.  Go on a nature walk and learn how to identify wild mammals with this Guide to British Land Mammals.  And why not study the insects in your garden with this Solar Insect Theatre?  Make drawings, take photographs and make leaf and bark rubbings.  With an adult why not visit a local pond and record all the wildlife that you see there.  Most of all have fun and enjoy the environment around you!

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Every other week, here at Gardening With Children we write and email out our LetterBox Newsletter.  It is packed full of Seasonal Gardening Tips, Activity Ideas, Competitions and News.  If you would like to receive your own copy just email charlotte@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk.

For this week’s competition, the last Sunday before the start of Advent is called “Stir-up Sunday, but do you know why?  Please send your answers to charlotte@gardeningwithchildren.co.uk by 4th Dec, and the first correct entry out of the hat will win this beautifully made wooden Paper Potter

Children and adults alike love to use the Paper Potter to make plant pots from old newspapers. When seedlings are ready to plant out they can be transplanted in their biodegradable paper pot!

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There are some lovely Christmas present ideas now available at Recycleworks , and our choices this week are all priced at £25 or less.  So avoid the time and expense of driving into town and buy your gifts from home!

These lovely Ladies Gardening Gloves are practical and very comfortable – available in size medium, I have average sized hands and they are a perfect fit for me.  Made from cotton and latex they are supple enough to allow the gardener to do the most tricky of jobs whilst wearing them.  At only £5.99 my mum will be getting a pair of these in her christmas stocking.


And for children there are these lovely embroidered gloves.  Priced at just £7.80 they are both colourful and practical for the budding young gardener.


The Willow Trug & Accessories  is a charming gift set and contains scissors, gloves, twines, raffia, dibber and labels.!  Priced at £21 it’s a great gift for any child who loves gardening.



These Willow Herb and Salad Planters look very attractive anywhere and will provide a constant supply of herb and salad crops.  The Herb planter is £15.95 and the larger salad planter is £22.95.  Also suitable for bulbs they will be useful and lovely to look at throughout the seasons.


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There’s now around 6 weeks left before the close of our latest Family Zone Competition & School Zone Competition, which both end on 18th December.

If you haven’t thought about entering yet, there’s still time and as always there are some great prizes up for grabs.

For Schools ….

The School Zone winner will receive over £150 worth of gardening equipment for spring, including a wooden cold frame, a salad / herb bed, a raised bed and a potato growing kit, all from The Recycleworks Ltd.

Plus all entrants will receive 10% off their next order from them.


Top Quality Cold Frames from http://www.recycleworks.co.uk

For school entrants we are looking for the best Indoor Grow Your Own project carried out in the Autumn term. If crops aren’t ready to harvest when the competition comes to a close, don’t worry just send your entry with news of where the project is up to so far. Include a written description in no more than 500 words, plus photographs of your project.

Full details on how to enter can be found here.

For Families …

The Family Zone winner will receive over £100 of gardening equipment ready for spring, including a wooden cold frame, a salad / herb bed and a potato growing kit, all from The Recycleworks Ltd. Plus all entrants will receive 10% off their next order from them.


This Salubrious Salad bed is perfect for growing winter greens and herbs by the back door.

So tell us about a growing project that you have carried out this Autumn. It could involve planting a tree or several, setting bulbs ready for spring, or growing some winter vegetables. The project can be carried out indoors or outside, which ever you prefer.

In no more than 500 words tell us all about what you did. Take pictures, make drawings and make your entry as colourful as you like.

Full details on how to enter can be found here.

Good luck with your entry!

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Bonfire Night is a traditional celebration in memory of Guy Fawkes, who on this day in 1605, was discovered attempting to blow up the houses of parliament. 

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason & plot
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot

The traditional burning of a great bonfire at this time, probably goes back much further than that to the Celtic Samhain or summers end, when there were harvesting celebrations, animals were brought in from the summer pastures and food was stored in preparation for the heralding of winter.

Don’t forget Garden Wildlife on Bonfire Night

With all the excitement of bonfire night don’t forget about the wildlife in your garden.  Make sure the bonfire isn’t set up too far in advance, as hedgehogs and other small mammals will be looking for somewhere to hibernate at this time, and may find a pile of leaves and wood enticing.  Why not provide hedgehogs with an alternative home like one of these Hogitats

Place fireworks away from trees and hedges where birds may be roosting…. And when bonfire night is over, remember that now is an excellent time start feeding garden birds.  We love this range of Bird Feeding Goodies so why not take a look.


Birds and bats will also be looking for warm places to roost as the weather gets colder.  The Wooden Bat Box is perfectly designed for this and the Bird Nesting Pouch is always popular in our garden as an overnight roosting place at this time of year.


If you decide to tidy up the garden before your bonfire night party, leaves and other garden waste can be collected up in super quick time with the Green Hands Leaf CollectorsAnd if you don’t know what to do with all those leaves once you have them in a pile why not put them in a Leaf Composting Sack or Leaf Mould Compost Bin.  With the helping hand of some Compost Magic they will break down nicely into a lovely rich leaf compost.


Activities for Bonfire Night

Make A Story Stick
People have been telling stories around the campfire since ancient times, and story sticks have perhaps been around for that long.

To make a story stick, find a sturdy stick and decorate it with coloured thread, ribbons or streamers.   Pass the story stick around the campfire.  Whoever holds the stick has a turn to speak and so adds a few sentences to the campfire story…In this way an interesting and original tale unfolds.

Make a Guy

A very traditional and endlessly appealing activity for children, make a guy by stuffing old clothes with straw and tying the ensemble together with string.  Make a head from an old pillowcase and paint on a makeshift face.

Make a Bonfire Picture

Tear up thin strips of orange, red and yellow tissue paper and stick onto black card to make a bonfire.  Use brown paper or pipe cleaners for the wood, and put star shaped stickers or sequins in the sky.  

Make Edible Sparklers

Dip chocolate fingers into warm water and then into hundreds and thousands to make your very own edible sparklers

Ask an Adult to Roast some Food

An activity for adults only, take a selection of food, wrap in foil and roast on the burning embers of the bonfire.  Ideas of suitable food include:

  • Pre steamed corn on the cob with butter
  • Mushrooms brushed with olive oil
  • Garlic bread
  • Chunks of pepper and aubergine
  • Pre-cooked potatoes in garlic butter

Make some Children’s Punch

Take some warm apple juice and sprinkle in cinnamon for a warming drink

Make some Bonfire Toffee

You will need:

1 lb demerara sugar
1/3 pint water
1 ¼  oz butter
2 level tablespoons of golden syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar


Put all the ingredients in a saucepan
Dissolve over a steady heat
Slowly bring to the boil and cook slowly
Drop ½ teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of cold water
If it sets hard it is done, if not cook for a little longer
Pour into an oiled or buttered tin
Break up when set

Make some Toffee Apples

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 2 large tablespoons of golden syrup
Add 1 large tablespoon of sugar and the juice of half a lemon
Allow the ingredients to boil to a deep toffee brown
Insert lollipop sticks into the apples
Dip each apple into the toffee mix
Dip into cold water
Place onto greaseproof paper to set

Make some Traditional Lancashire Parkin

You will need:

6 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon each of salt, ground ginger and ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
10 oz oatmeal
6 oz black treacle
5 oz butter
4 oz dark brown sugar
¾ pint milk
1 egg

Sift together flour, salt, spices and soda
Add oatmeal and mix
Heat the treacle, butter, sugar and milk together until the butter has melted
Cool slight, add the egg and beat well
Poor mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well until smooth
Turn into a greased baking tin
Bake at 175 C for around an hour

London’s Burning, London’s Burning
Fetch the engine, fetch the engine
Fire, Fire!  Fire, Fire!
Pour on water, pour on water

Remember to always stay safe on Bonfire Night.  Check advice from the fire service here

Happy Bonfire Night

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We have a number of Brownie Groups regularly visiting Gardening With Children and one recently contacted us for information.  So over the next few weeks we will be giving lots of great ideas for ways to help the environment and you might be able to win one or two of your Brownie Badges along the way.   


Do Your Bit for the Environment – Start RecyclingIn the UK over 25 million tonnes of waste goes to landfill each year, and we have enough landfill sites to fill an area the size of Warwickshire.  That’s a scary thought.  So recycling is so important, and where better to start than in your own home!

environment badgeIt’s great to see that the Brownies take recycling seriously to.  If you’re in a Brownie group why not start recycling cans, glass, plastics, paper and card at home and you could win your Environment Badge.

Wash out used cans and bottles.  To save space crush your cans in one of these handy Can Crushers, separate the recyclable material into a Set of Recycling Bins , and when you have enough leave out for collection or take to your local Waste Collection Centre.  And for a fabulous guide to recycling, take a look at the  Refuse Collectors & Recyclers DVD .  Suitable for children aged between 3 and 8 years, it includes practical advice on recycling along with a fun education section, with imaginative ideas for role-playing, singing and games.


Carry out an Autumn StudyseasonsWhy not have a go at getting your Seasons badge by doing an autumn study.Know which fruits and vegetables are available in the autumn. Make something to eat using one of them, like blackberry pie or toffee apples, to share with your Six.Make a scrapbook or poster about animals that hibernate in this country and around the world. You can use photos and drawings as well as information.With an adult you know, spend time looking at the stars and point out at least two constellations.

Use fallen natural objects, like conkers, acorns or leaves, to make a collage or decoration.

Grow Your Own & Win Your Gardening Badgegardener

To win your gardening badge you will need to grow four kinds of fruits, vegetables, herbs or annual flowers from seed or bulb. Transplant the seedlings then tend and train them as necessary.  Then use what you have grown in a recipe at home. 

Why not use these great Willow Herb Planters to grow your seeds?  For growing bigger quantities of herbs, salad crops and bulbs there is the larger Willow Salad Planter or these Wooden Salubrious Salad Beds are brilliant for putting just outside the kitchen door.  Made from FSC wood they are easy to assemble and are treated with non-toxic preservative… And for growing on a larger scale there is a fantastic selection of Raised Beds to choose from.


And for a fabulous selection of children’s gardening tools for the job take a look at the Apprentice Range from the Recycleworks Ltd.



The Recycleworks Ltd - For all your gardening needs

For more information about Brownies check out the Girl Guiding Website here.


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