Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Happy First Birthday. Garden Stars of the Year

We have had a great first year on the blog. When I asked my son what he had enjoyed most about our garden, without any hesitation he listed the following:-
  • Digging.
  • Looking at the vegetables and feeling how heavy they were.
  • Eating the vegetables.
  • Finding ‘bones’ in the soil.
Gardens are great spaces to reflect in and also reflect about and its good to see that his memories can be so easily recalled. Our little plot this year has been tranquil, productive and beautiful. The veg area was a great success (why oh why didn’t I start it before?).

My garden stars of the year have been:-
  1. Very unexpectedly the french beans which were so very tasty to eat and easy to grow. So there will be more grown up the fence this year and over my son’s den.
  2. Nasturtiums which are such good flowers for children to grow. Dare I say even better to grow than sunflowers. Ours reseeded from last year. Because of last years cold winter they took a while to get going, but then flowered until November. It was lovely having some extra peppery flavour to our salads.
  3. There are no hostas grown in the ground in the garden as they are munched to death. But hostas in pots do survive and my Sum and Substance hosta looked wonderful this year.
  4. My son who has really enjoyed all garden activity.  When it was suggested he should draw a flower he didn't just draw the standard sunflower-type flower.  He produced a whole page of Venus Flytraps, including their food.  I think perhaps we have visited Kew Gardens a bit too often.
Looking forward to our 2011 garden.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Spiders' Webs, Hoar Frost and a Festive Walk

Spiders’ webs are great structures for children to look at, copy the patterns and to view spiders.  Back in September the spiders were hard at work in the garden weaving away.  It was impossible for me to pass through my archway without getting threads tangled in my hair.  However by the time I got my act together to photograph some of the webs the spiders seemed to have all miraculously disappeared. 

So at Christmas I was delighted to find some webs sparkling with hoar frost.  The frost shows off the patterns perfectly.  Apparently an orb web is the one we most commonly see and link with spiders in the UK.  The spider anchors silk lines that radiate from a centre, to grass, stems and other structures. It then weaves a sticky spiral of silk around the centre.  Threads are then woven round to strengthen the outside of the web.  It is the stickiness of those threads that attracts water from the air so making water droplets.  There is more information on spiders and some activities for kids by The British Council.

That same day the hoar frost was so amazing that the camera was a must for a walk around the garden and then further afield.  This was certainly a snowy glittery Christmas for us.

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