Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yates Media Presentation

As part of being in the horticultural media I occasionally get invited to media events. It's always great to catch up with colleagues as we all tend to live fairly solitary existences sitting in front of computers at home. Every year at about this time Yates have their media presentation and the inimitable Judy fills us all in on what Yates are doing for the next 12 months. I was very interested to see that Yates have a kids section on their website called Garden Greenies. There are games, easy projects, colouring sheets, how to grow factsheets etc.. I have to brag that I scored 9 out of 10 on the quiz and I only got one wrong because I wanted to see what happened when I picked the wrong answer!

Yates are also bringing out a book this spring especially for kids called 'Young Gardener' which will be available wherever Yates products are sold. Also in spring they will be advertising their Great Pumpkin Challenge. Last year they had the Great Watermelon Challenge which proved so popular that they ran out of watermelon seed! This year they have arranged to get a large enough quantity of 'Atlantic Giant' seeds (thats the cultivar that grows reeeeaaaallllly big pumpkins) and these will be available to children everywhere to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin. Yates are also giving grants to schools that garden in their schoolgrounds as well as Junior Landcare grants (see their website). As a parent keen to encourage the next generation of gardeners I think these are all fabulous ideas. The future of our planet rests on these very young shoulders and its never too early for kids to get down and get dirty!

I have found that encouraging kids to get into the garden is a bit of a hit and miss affair. Often when I organised myself to do something with my daughters and set aside the time they would not be interested. The best times were when on impulse they would join me in the garden and help sow seeds or plant bulbs or seedlings (never to pull out weeds!). Or they have been at a nursery with me and expressed a desire to buy a punnet of seedlings because the flowers appealed to them. My hope is that they will absorb some gardening lore through osmosis because I talk about it and they see me in the garden so much and they visit gardens and nurseries with me. So even if they're not that keen now (and they're not) I hope one day maybe they will. The lightbulb will go on and they'll think "so thats what mum was on about!" One day.

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