Hail Weston author publishes garden book for children

FEW people are lucky enough to combine their passion with work but Dawn Isaac is one of them.

Garden designer and mum of three Dawn, from Hail Weston, is passionate about passing on a love of horticulture to children and has written her first book to help others do just that.

Garden Crafts for Children, published by CICO on February 9, is packed with projects and activities for youngsters that will nurture their love of nature. From quick and easy projects like making jam jar garden lights to more involved projects such as growing a scented hopscotch.

She told The Hunts Post: “I have been designing gardens for 10 years and I have been doing more on the writing side for the last three years. This book has taken a while; it’s been a real labour of love for 18 months.”

She added: “When I had my three children, I didn’t want to spend lots of time travelling from meeting to meeting. I wanted to spend more time at home with them. I can do something in the garden and then write about it later. It fits in a lot better with the children. All my children like gardening. Part of it is being outside, they really enjoy it. My six-year-old son can reel off a list of Latin names! They all have their own little gardens that they have designed and planted.”

She explained that children are naturally interested in gardening and it can be a great aid for teachers.

She said: “Children are naturally up for gardening – getting messy and playing with water. I do a gardening club with the local pre-school where the children are ages two, three and four. They have a very little garden there but we have grown 30 different fruit and veg and they know about roots and shoots, harvesting, water…

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“I think if you give children a little project and at the end they have made something or have something to take away from it, they get into it more.”

She continued: “Gardening can be a great tool for learning and it has really taken off in schools. You might have a child who struggles with maths but if you put them in the garden and say you need this much space between rows and you have this much garden, how many seeds can you plant, it might make more sense to them.”

Dawn is a Chelsea award-winning garden designer, writes for the Royal Horticultural Society and The Guardian, and has recently filed her first report for BBC Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time.

Another successful project she has been involved in is CBeebies television series Mr Bloom’s Nursery, a show that encourages pre-schoolers to get involved in gardening.

She said: “The producer found my blog and knew I was into gardening and children.

I started work on the show in 2010 and it’s now showing its second series. We start with a brainstorm. The writers want the characters to have adventures so I give them lots of gardening ideas and then check their accuracy once they have written the story.”

Mr Bloom is a firm favourite with mums and Dawn said: “Whenever I Tweet about working with Mr Bloom I get a lot of responses!”

Dawn is mindful that not everybody has access to a large garden and includes ideas in her book for windowsill growing, a micro leaf garden and a wheelbarrow vegetable garden.

She will demonstrate projects from the book at Waterstones in St Neots on Saturday February 11, from 11am until 2pm.

Garden Crafts for Children is designed to inspire children in a love of all things gardening with exciting but achievable growing projects as well as craft ideas that use items harvested from the garden and outdoors.

INFORMATION: Garden Crafts for Children, published by CICO, is available for �14.99 at Waterstones.