Look what landed on my doormat recently. Now – there is no shortage of gardening books for children in my house. We have the lot – presents from maiden aunts; picked up at jumble sales or in charity shops. We may even have bought the odd one. But I must admit to being quite excited about Dawn Isaac’s book.
Dawn is one of my *Twitter mates*and I dip into her blog on a fairly regular basis. Over the months I’ve shared in the re-roofing of the playshed, the construction of the cold frame and the open-air cinema project. So the announcement that she’d been commissioned to write a book of garden projects for children was greeted with high expectations. The day when she drilled her thigh inadvertantly whilst working on one of the projects merely created an added buzz.
Dawn is a garden designer with three young children of her own. She has a rather lovely family garden – so lovely that my own children would be more than happy to live there. In fact, if it weren’t that I’d promised myself to a shepherd’s hut in Monty Don’s garden, I’d move in myself. This is good. What shouts out from the pages is that here is a mother who knows about designing family gardens and how to get little people growing things.
Dawn clearly subscribes to the William Morris approach – “have nothing that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. I fear like me she has experienced the problems of housing huge (often ugly) craft and soggy toilet roll growing projects. Every project here is beautiful to look at and helps to instil a love of gardening. I am prepared to forgive the inclusion of the eggbox cress caterpillar – every child should make one, even if they do have a nasty habit of dissolving into a soggy mess on your windowsill due to overkeen watering.
This book would work particularly well for parents , teachers or nursery staff who are fairly new to gardening. The projects themselves are perfect as workshops for nurseries or at primary school.There’s a useful introduction covering the basics of how to start and the projects themselves are helpfully organised into sections – ranging from manageable windowsill projects to larger scale and more permanent constructions. The ‘Scented Hopscotch’ idea was a particular favourite with one of my children. Even if you are an old hand there are one or two items to get your mojo going again if you’ve run out of ideas..
Thanks Dawn. I love it. But I was bound to love a book written by a woman who scours charity shops for containers, gives gardening kit in party bags and encourages her children to spend their pocket money on seeds in Wilkinsons – wasn’t I?