Gardening with Young Children by Beatrys Lockie.

To be published in Autumn 2006 by Hawthorn Press at (probably) £12.99

This is a first principle book for those teaching tomorrow’s gardeners.

Starting appropriately with the Autumn, Beatrys Lockie follows a live, imaginative and yet practical path through a child’s experience of a growing year in a country garden, emphasising the whole round of nature and its relationship with both the immediate and the larger environment.

The journey embraces the organic garden archetype right through to the city garden and gardening in containers for those who have no natural soil resource, and finally even suggests making chutney from vegetables and fruit for friendly allotment holders in the town.

Music, song and story enliven the gardening activity and its festivals. A whole range of insect, bird and mammal vistas are included to broaden the view, emphasising key relationships between animal, plant and soil. Many practical exercises are woven in to fire the teacher’s or parent’s ideas and enthusiasm.

All this is in harmony with the seasons and central are the elements of earth, air, fire and water and the warm compost heap. Plant awareness, fertility management and seed saving encourage care and sustainability. Beatrys Lockie’s magic touch with the feeling and doing world of young children in Nature is clearly evident throughout.

This book comes at a time when we adults increasingly struggle sensitively to manage and become responsible for our fragile environment. And so, perhaps, this is a new beginning and we can say again: “Except we become as little children…”

Jimmy Anderson M.B.E.

Jimmy Anderson is a former Soil Association assessor and an organic gardener.

Summer 2006