Green Fingers: Plants for children and family pets

James Vaughan


James Vaughan

Green Fingers: Plants for children and family pets

Lamb's ear is an ideal starter plant to get children interested in gardening

AS is the case in our own household, children are finished either school or creche for the remainder of the summer. With this in mind, there are a few plants that can be added to the garden that may interest kids. They will remain in the garden for years with the right care.

Previously we planted sunflower seeds. These seedlings are now over a metre tall. It is expected that they will double in height over the next few weeks. We regularly feed these plants with a liquid feed.

Eventually it is hoped these plants will reach eight plus feet before they flower at the end of the summer.

Lamb’s Ears

This plant is known as Stachys byzantina. It gets its common name because the leaves are so soft and furry they resemble lambs ears.

This is an ideal starter plant to get children interested in gardening. The plant will also grow well in sunny and dry spots.


Lavender is another plant that is good for children. Not only does it have flowers which appeal to bees but the leaves have a nice scent. This is a good plant to get children interest in plants and in insects. It is easy to show the activity of bees on these long flower stalks to children.

There are, on the other hand, plants which are unsuitable for children.

This may be important if you have children or, indeed, are planning to have children in the future. Plants with thorns can injure and cause infection. For this reason, they should carefully be considered before planting in a household which has children.

More serious than the risk of injury is the risk of poisoning. It is for this reason that you should research as to whether or not plants and trees in your garden have berries.

Berries are an important food source for birds, especially in winter. I have many berry-bearing trees planted in our garden. I have, however, researched and am assured that the berries on these trees are safe if children eat them. However, I would say that it is apt to suspect that every berry has the potential to be poisonous.

Plants for dogs

With dogs, it is not plants which they like but plants which discourage them. This is particularly the case if you have a pup. Pups like to gnaw on twigs and branches as they get their adult teeth. This can be discouraged by planting shrubs with thorns. Any plants from the Berberis family will have thorns.

Berberis are also good to plant in an area where a dog may be over-walking an area.

Plants for cats

It has been long known that cats love catmint. They love nothing more than the roll around in it, especially in summer. There is one variety of catmint that is also excellent as an ornamental plant. The variety ‘Six Hill Giant’ provides masses of blue flowers all summer long. It is also loved by bees and butterflies. Cats also like other plants with scented leaves. Just research for all the plant combinations.

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