I love RHS Garden Wisley with its beautiful plants, trees, wide open spaces and gigantic glasshouses, but persuading children to go there has always been something of an effort. Yesterday, with the help of some wonderful ladies from the gardens’ Education Centre and a bunch of friends from our local home education group, we all had a wonderful time there.
After the children had had plenty of time running around playing on the grass together, we went off to the Learning Centre for an engaging talk on plant adaptations – no, really, it was great! The first session began with a brief discussion on plant habitats and then had the children deciding in groups whether words like “light”, “water”, “drought”, and “competition” belonged in “desert” and or in “rainforest” (or both). I liked the emphasis on creativity rather than there being right or wrong answers. The next activity was similarly open-ended: various objects, like a ladder, an umbrella and a candle, were brought out while the children, in small groups, looked at laminated photos of plants and considered which plant each object reminded them of. This primed them perfectly for venturing, clipboards in hand, into the Glasshouse, to spot the plants for real.
Later, during a talk from a real life “plant explorer” the children were taught how to take cuttings and even given the chance to take and bring cuttings home for themselves. Which is why we now have two tiny peperomia plants nestling on the window sill among the vegetable seedlings 🙂