Trees for a Children’s Garden

Although growing a tree is regarded by most adult gardeners as a long-term project, a child can derive much amusement and interest from planting one or two trees that grow fairly quickly.

PLANT A SAPLING

It is most exciting to plant a sapling and keep a record of its development. Make a note of the date on which the sapling was planted, and take a photograph of a child standing next to it; by taking further photographs each year on the tree’s ‘birthday’, it is possible to keep an interesting record of the comparative rates of growth. Or the sapling could be planted to commemorate a birthday or some other special event which occurs during planting time. Provided the ground is not frosted or very wet, the young tree can safely be put in at any time from October to March.

Put the name of the tree and any other interesting details on a label, and nail it to a post stuck in the ground near the foot of the tree, as is done in public parks. One of the best trees to plant is Cheal’s weeping cherry (Prunus serrulata rosea), for it grows quite quickly, and being a weeping variety docs not occupy much space.

A PEACH TREE FROM A STONE

Plant a peach stone about 2 in. deep in a corner of the garden where the soil is well cultivated, and a small tree will soon start to grow. In order to produce fruit, however, the stone must have come from an English peach such as Peregrine; even so, the tree may grow for ten years before producing peaches.

OTHER TREES FROM SEED

A horse chestnut tree can be grown from a conker buried 2 in. deep in the garden. To restrict the size of the tree, plant the conker in a large flower pot or an old bucket with holes in the bottom, and bury the pot or bucket in the ground.

An oak tree can be grown from an acorn in the same way. And if one ‘wing’ is detached from a sycamore seed and the remainder is planted in the garden, with the seed-vessel downward, a young sycamore tree will soon appear.

MINIATURE GARDENS

If space is limited, it is still possible for a child to cultivate a miniature garden, in the form of a sink garden or a window-box placed on a ground floor window-ledge. Even an old biscuit tin can become the basis for a garden if a few holes are punched in the bottom for drainage, and it is painted a gay colour—though it should not be so bright as to detract from the beauty of the flowers.

Very easy plants for a window-box include snapdragons, and dwarf wallflowers (Cheiranthus cheiri Tom Thumb), which should be planted in the autumn to flower the following spring. Pansies take rather longer to grow, being biennials, but they are well worth waiting for. Sow the seed in June or July, and when the seedlings are about l in. high, thin them out to 6 in. apart. The pansies will then produce a mass of flowers in a variety of colours right through the following summer. French marigolds (Tagetes patula), alyssums, stocks (Matthiola) and petunias will provide a bright display of colour all summer. All are annuals, to be planted in the spring. Perennials for a window-box could include violas and salvias, both of which should be planted in the early autumn.

16. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, Garden Management, Gardening Calendar | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Trees for a Children’s Garden

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