At 11 months old and just about taking her first unaided steps, Libby would currently class herself as a keen gardener. She is excellent at digging (grabbing handfuls of soil); pruning (pulling leaves off plants) and watering (spilling her drink on the lawn).
As she gets older and more capable, I hope to harness her enthusiasm for the garden and turn it into something more productive. There is nothing she likes better than being outside. If I take my eyes off her for a moment, she immediately heads for the nearest exit. Whilst it may be a bit early, I would love to start getting her interested in the garden now. I hope that it will fuel a lifelong passion for the great outdoors.
At the moment, if we’re playing in the garden, we’re confined to either sitting on the beanbag or holding hands to walk around. Now it’s time for a change. The three things key things I’m going to focus on to get Libby interested in the garden are food, birds and toys.
Libby takes after both of her parents in that she truly loves her food. That’s why I’m convinced that growing it will get her really interested in the garden. There is a fantastic website with information about how to grow seeds with kids. They suggest growing sunflowers which are always popular with children and are quite easy to grow. They also suggest courgettes. I know from past experience that with a very small amount of care and work, courgette plants produce a real bumper crop. My personal favourite of their suggestions though, is to grow your own popcorn. Never mind getting Libby interested in the garden, that had me routing through the shed for my gardening gloves.
We live in a semi-rural area, backing onto a tiny nature reserve. Libby has already started to pay a lot of attention to the birds. We are so lucky with where we live, we see all sorts of birds in the nature reserve, even woodpeckers and owls. They do tend to stay away from our garden though, partly owing to the presence of two large dogs. I would love to fence off a little area that the dogs would stay out of so that we the birds could come into the garden. I know that a bird bath is essential and but here are some other great tips on how to encourage birds into your garden.
The final things that will help us to make sure that Libby continues to appreciate the garden are outdoor toys. I was delighted to find out that my dad has kept a little bouncy castle and ball pool that I bought years ago for my younger brother. The ball pool will even double as a little paddling pool. I am also going to invest in a garden version of Libby’s favourite thing in the world- a swing. Indoors, I can’t get Libby to show any interest in toys of any description. Outdoors though, it’s a different matter. Outdoor toys are just the most exciting things in the world.
I really hope that our little adventurer will always love the great (and small) outdoors.
Disclaimer- this post is sponsored but views, opinions, gardening babies, owls, woodpeckers and giant beanbags are all mine.