Thursday, May 17, 2012

Topiary for five year olds

A few weeks ago I held a really fun garden workshop for Reception Class at my son's school. The ages of the children are four to five. I made the first initial of every child using some poplar branches I harvested locally. They were from trees that are pollarded so the new shoots were growing very low down the tree and were easy to reach. I lined all the letters up in the field and the children came out to find their initial. They really loved doing this.
We went over to the edge of the field where some ivy was growing under a tree. We talked about the places that ivy likes to grow then each child used the fork to dig some up. We looked at the roots and put the lengths of ivy into a bucket of water. We went back to the little garden outside the classroom leaving the bucket in a shady spot.
 The next day the children arrived in fancy dress costume as it was the last day of term. So we had Robin Hood, Superman, Minnie Mouse and a princess, to name a few, doing garden activities. The children filled pots up with compost then planted their letters. They made a hole in the compost for the ivy to go in. We spoke about which end of the ivy should be planted and I told them about the roots having an important job of taking in nutrients and water. The pots were filled up with some more compost then watered.
As the ivy grows it will wrap itself around the letters and can be trimmed to control the shape. The poplar branches will sprout leaves as well which will be a fun surprise. This was a really great activity to introduce children to propagation, plant biology, planting, plant care and topiary. Children as young as five make great horticulturists.


  1. What a great way to introduce children to propagation, etc. Truly inspirational!

  2. I love this idea! Hope I`ll make this next year with kids at school. Thanks for sharing :o) Nice pics too.
    Have a very sweet weekend

  3. Brilliant Lorna. Can you do this at Orlas new school please x

  4. The topiary sounds as if it's just about my level, Lorna. Good to see the children getting an early introduction to gardening.

  5. Great fun. The perfect age to get all mucky with mud 'n' flowers.

  6. Thanks June - they so loved doing this activity and were very conscientious and attentive - so sweet.

    Please do Natalia. I plan to put up more fun activities to do with kids.

    Martin - I would love to. I'm going to send out some promotional material to all the local primary schools.

    They take to is so easily Janet.

    Absolutely Paul. Surprisingly they were quite concerned about getting their hands all dirty with soil.


  7. Gosh it must have taken you ages to make all those initials Lorna! Lovely activity to do with the kids. The school gardening club I help with runs one short session a week and we barely have time to sow seeds; how satisfying to have the time to finish a proper craft activity!

  8. What a fun and clever idea! I'd love to see how they grow on in a few month's time :)


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