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5 best plants for growing with children as Peppa Pig and JLS singer JB Gill team up for National Children’s Gardening Week



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The nation's favourite pig and a popstar - turned farmer - are teaming up to encourage families to get into the garden over half term.

JLS singer JB Gill and children's character Peppa Pig have joined a new campaign to get youngsters outside for National Children's Gardening Week, which started yesterday (Saturday).

After one of the wettest May's on record but with more settled weather forecast for the week ahead, those behind the week-long event say there hasn't been a better time to discover the new skills and information children can absorb taking up gardening.

JB Gill, with son Ace, is encouraging more families to take up gardening with their children in half term
JB Gill, with son Ace, is encouraging more families to take up gardening with their children in half term

Presenter JB Gill, who now lives with his young family on a farm, is also a regular Countryfile and Springwatch contributor. He said: "We love farming and gardening, so we can’t wait to get outside with Peppa to have some muddy fun.

"Playing outside and discovering wildlife is so important in helping children develop and grow."

JB Gill with his youngest child, daughter Chiara
JB Gill with his youngest child, daughter Chiara

The father-of-two has helped put together Peppa Pig themed packs available at garden centres from today, for a suggested donation of £1, which are full of ideas to help families find their green fingers this summer.

Any outdoor activities, says Shannen Godwin from online plant and bulb company J Parker's, helps children develop new skills while learning about science and nature.

Gardening and interacting with nature teaches responsibility for living things, self-confidence on seeing things grow and a love of nature which allows them to be environmentally responsible. Physical activity in the garden also improves coordination, alertness, overall physical health and challenges their adventurous side.

She explained: "Our knowledge of nature is not inborn but rather passed down from generations. We have so much to gain by challenging us to involve our kids in this day-to-day activity because the cognitive gains are significant."

As the weather improves families are being encouraged to spend some time out in the garden with offspring this coming week
As the weather improves families are being encouraged to spend some time out in the garden with offspring this coming week

How to get kids interested in gardening

Shannen suggests instead of exhausting budding young helpers with intense activity on day one, find a small space in the garden they can call their own and select a few pots or a large container they can take charge of, rather than a portion of the garden itself.

Grab their attention with fun, vibrant plants that are easy to take care of and give good results as this could also be key in holding their attention. Here are five suggestions:

1. Ferns

Most ferns are child-proof, making them safe for a kids’ garden, but also beautiful plants that filter the air as well.

National Kids Gardening Week begins on Saturday, May 29
National Kids Gardening Week begins on Saturday, May 29

2. Sweet Peas

The sweet pea is easy to grow and blooms into a colourful plant. This annual flower is usually at home in either a border garden, cutting garden, an arch, or woodland.

3. Primroses

The primrose is yet another easy-to-grow plant that children can have fun with over the summer half-term. It is a spring wildflower that blooms into a variety of colours. The evening primrose, for instance, blooms into saucer-shaped, golden-yellow flowers that are highly fragrant. This perennial plant is also ideal for containers and pots.

Bright colourful plants children see grow quickly and can dead-head and tidy are a winner
Bright colourful plants children see grow quickly and can dead-head and tidy are a winner

4. Pansies

The pansy is a popular choice for kids thanks to its abundance of both summer and winter colours. Pansies grow well in patio containers, borders, and pots.

Plus, they require very regular deadheading, which offers the kids an opportunity to learn a great and very popular gardening technique!

Have you ever tried growing strawberries with the kids?
Have you ever tried growing strawberries with the kids?

5. Strawberries

Described as one of the 'most rewarding child-proof plants' you can try this half-term, the strawberry is easy to plant and requires little maintenance. The Strawberry Florence, for example, is known for being hardy and resilient to diseases.

Plants thrive in sunny locations either at the garden border or in patio pots. Once it produces fruit, the children will have fun harvesting and eating!

To learn more about Children's Gardening Week and picking up a Peppa Pig kit please click here.



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