I love the way my boys enjoy being outside so much! Even though they are both under three I can tell they will follow in their parents footsteps and be outdoor types.
My toddler loves to help mummy picking and looking after flowers. He has his own little garden where he grew some flowers, sunflowers from seed and a carrot this year. (Yes that's one carrot but we all have to start somewhere!)
Next year I think it would be great if the boys could have their own little cutting garden where they can pick flowers for grannies and other lucky recipients. Inspired by this and by a couple of suggestions of a Facebook follower regarding things to grow with children and flowers for cutting I have been thinking about easy flowers to grow with children that will produce well for cutting and keep nicely in a vase.
Children love to grow plants from seed. There is something magical about this even as an adult. The excitement of checking your seeds and seeing that first hint of green doesn't fade with the years so if you can really get the children involved from the start of the process it will give them a much greater sense of pride in the end.
I decided to choose a few plants which self seed because this way We can gather the seed now and scatter it on a prepared area. If you choose self seeders then you shouldn't be able to go far wrong with the sowing so it will be easy for the children to see results. The flowers I have chosen are already present in my garden but if you need to buy the seeds to start you off you should then find you get a fresh supply of seeds each year as long as you leave a few flowers to go over and collect the seeds in time. Or you could just let nature take its course and do the job for you!
My suggestions are snapdragons, verbena bonariensis, feverfew, marigolds and nigella. All of these will flower throughout the summer and stand well in a vase. They are easy to grow and once established they will return every year without you even having to do anything. The nigella have the added bonus of the seed pods which also look great in a jam jar posy as a foliage filler!
When you have small children and grow snapdragons you also have the opportunity to delight and confuse your little ones by instigating conversations between them and the 'talking flowers'. Our snapdragons come to life on a regular basis and each has its own accent and personality! My grandfather used to do this with me as a small child and I still recall these happy memories vividly. I love the fact that from time to time I have caught my two year old stood in the garden chatting away to the snapdragons...very cute!