Grow flowers with your children to decorate your home, create artwork with and give as thoughtful presents to friends and loved ones.
How incredible are the flower displays in and around town? From roadside patches of sunflowers to the parks full of bedding plants, it’s really inspiring.
No matter what size space you have at home, it’s easy to grow flowers that can be given as gifts or to display around the home. Who doesn’t love receiving flowers, made even more special when they’re grown by the hand of a child?
This is such a rewarding family activity. Not only does it help teach children about nurture and care, but there’s a huge biological factor to it too; learning about what makes plants grow, what care you need to give and when, not to mention the huge array of wildlife that will be attracted to your outside space.
One thing I’ve failed to mention so far is how fun it can be. It can be messy, it can be artistic, it can be creative and the end result will always be a positive, whether it’s the learning aspect of the activity or the appreciation of the flowers you’ve grown.
Tropical flowers are often grown to display as plants as opposed to cut stems. The longevity of their life once cut can be short due to the lack of additional cultivation that plants in other parts of the world might have; however, that’s not to say you can’t produce an amazing array of lovely flowers straight from the pot on the balcony to the vase indoors.
Here’s some ideas of what you can grow, either in the ground or in a pot.
Sunflowers and Marigolds
Both are best grown from seed. You can get packets of seed from most supermarkets or garden centres. The beautiful yellows are very much tied to local culture in memory of the late King Bhumibol, particularly the marigolds which have been grown nationwide for use in the funeral ceremony in October 2017.
The variety of lilies available here in Thailand is breathtaking. From white spider lilies to the vibrant red, yellows and oranges of the canna lilies. These are easy to grow, either from a bulb or from a shop bought plant. Those feeling adventurous could propagate established plants by removing them from the ground of their pot and splitting the roots, thus making more plants.
An all-time favourite plant in Thailand includes the beautifully fragranced jasmine. There are lots of varieties available, not just the bush version. Again, these are best grown from established plants available at good quality garden centres. Look for varieties with long branches to use in decorative displays or bunches.
There are over 2,000 varieties of orchids available in Thailand, and each is as wonderful as the next. They tend to flower in the rainy season, and if possible should be bought indoors during the dry season. Seemingly they thrive on utter neglect and negligence, at least that’s our experience. Create a fern and moss garden area with rotten wood and rocks. Plant the orchids on wood, or in small pots and watch them flourish. Cut the stems with buds still visible and use in a variety of displays.
From lilly leaves to bamboo, there is no shortage of glorious foliage that can be used from the garden. We often take new shoots from bougainvillea, or branches from our lime trees to fill up the vases. This is something you can really be imaginative with.
There is so much more you can do, and remember not to take from public places or other people’s gardens, but enjoy the wonder of flower growing with your children.
DIY Floral Workshops in Bangkok
For a more extensive learning experience, join an on-demand flower artistry workshop with the kids such as the one offered by The Market Experience. Taking place right at the historic Bangkok Flower Market (“Pak Kong Talad”), you’ll learn how to make garlands and other flower-based arts as well as see one of the world’s largest flower markets.
Also, the Museum of Floral Culture periodically offers workshops for adults and children; call to enquire. It’s also worth touring their historic teak house and gardens as well as trying floral-inspired food, drinks and desserts at the on-site cafe.