We are all finding ourselves in uncertain times, and if you’re at home with the children right now, you may be looking for ideas to keep them entertained. I am going to write a series of articles covering different gardening and nature related activities you can do with your children, whether in the garden or on on your allowed walk for exercise as well as some from the comfort of your home. Going outside in nature lowers stress levels and is wonderful for mental health, which is perhaps even more important now than ever before.
This first piece takes a look at some different spring flowers to spot when you’re out. You can adapt it depending on the ages of your children, for example, for younger ones you could talk about the different colours and shapes of the flowers as well as opening up the idea of seasons as these are all spring flowers. Older children could perhaps press one or two, or draw them for an art project, even labelling the parts of each different flower.
As part of her home education my eldest Lily has put together a handy spotter sheet with some of these flowers (and more) which you can print off and take with you on your walks You can find this at the bottom of the page. If you use it we’d love to see your photos – tag us on Instagram or Facebook at @larissasgarden, or @LarissaCoop on Twitter.
Thanks for reading!
#1 – Forget me not
These delicate blue flowers are found all over right now, from gardens to meadows.
#2 Cuckoo flower (or Lady’s smock)
This flower can be found in damper areas and is the larval food plant for the orange tip butterfly (which also likes garlic mustard Allaria petiolata).
There are a few different species of violets in the UK including dog violets Viola canina and sweet violets Viola oderata. Look closely at woodland floors and hedge banks to find this purple beauties.
Coltsfoot flowers appear before the large leaves do. Similar in appearance to dandelions, these flowers have a distinct scaly stem. In traditional medicines, coltsfoot is used to treat chronic coughing.
# 5 Cowslip
Cowslips like to grow in sunny spots and are often found in meadows. These bright yellow flowers are loved by springtime pollinators.
# 6 Gorse
These bright yellow flowers are found on the prickly gorse bushes which are abundant on healthlands and areas with acidic soils. If you smell the flowers they have a slight coconut scent to them. Bees love them too!
# 7 Bluebells
A common plant in ancient woodlands at springtime, often carpeting the forest floor. Due to hybridisation with garden varieties our native bluebells are in decline. Are the bluebells you’ve seen native ones? Use this handy guide to find out.
# 8 Primrose
These flowers can be found in woodlands and hedge banks or where these habitats once existed. They are loved by early springtime pollinators such as this male hairy-footed-flower bee.
# 10 Silene diocia
Red campions are able to thrive in shady areas such as woodlands, but can be found almost anywhere. They are prolific seeders and are sometimes overlooked because they are common, but I think they are one of our best wildflowers, and pollinators agree too!
# 10 Wild garlic
These members of the onion family are seen on woodland floors. They spread well so often carpet the patch they grow in. Loved by pollinators, wild garlic is also favoured by foragers. All parts of the plant are edible, however if you are foraging, it is illegal to uproot a wildflower, so take only the leaves. It’s a good rule of thumb to only take what you will use and to ensure you leave much more behind that you take.Wild garlic can be used in cooking for flavour, or makes a delicious pesto!
PDF version below
Please ensure that you adhere to the guidelines on social distancing if you are venturing out for daily exercise. If this information changes, please follow the updated guidelines.