Grow Outdoors

Posted 11 July 2023

Footprints Foster Care - Grow Outdoors

Did you ever think you’d see the day when ‘Alan Titchmarsh’ and ‘controversial’ were used in the same sentence? Us neither.

Like an old, comfortable pair of slippers, Alan has been gracing our screens with his gardening know-how for decades, but last week he finally turned to the dark side. Kind of. In an episode of Love Your Garden, he and his team transformed the outdoor space of foster heroes Rob and Margaret. The incredible couple have cared for 150 children across 45 years and in our humble opinion, most definitely deserved the best.

But as Rob and Margaret broke down in tears (we assume, of joy?!), some fans of the show were outraged and took to social media to vent. Shock, awe and topsoil!

We hope Alan’s career recovers and that Rob and Margaret enjoy their new space, but most of all, we hope all the excitement makes everyone realise how important gardens can be. From big plots to pot plants, let us explain why you should get gardening this summer and grow outdoors .

Ok, firstly there are plenty of physical benefits. Not only is there all the fresh air and vitamin D on offer outside in the garden, it can be brilliant for exercise and development. Digging, weeding, planting and picking are all perfect for working on gross and fine motor skills. Plus they grow muscles at the same time. If you have a child with ADHD or DCD, getting out and moving about can also help with concentration and co-ordination confidence. Win-win.

Then, there are all the brain benefits. Gardens can be a huge, happy outdoor classroom where learning continues during the summer holidays. From colours to counting, species recognition to STEM skills, there is so much to discover while gardening, without even realising it! Foster children may well have missed some schooling, or never experienced parental support to learn. Gardens, allotments and community orchards offer the chance to help them catch up or gain confidence in a relaxed environment.

Sticking with the brain, gardens are also the perfect place to be mindful. Outside, children can use all their senses to help themselves be present, aware of the task they are doing and to feel less overwhelmed. Even simply running our hands through soil can be calming, with some scientists claiming there are facts behind these feelings.

Finally, gardening can give children confidence through creativity and ownership too. From fairy gardens to Lego flowerpots, it doesn’t just have to be where they plant daffodils that fuels a child’s imagination outdoors. Storytelling, role-play and making their own special creations will all help them to grow in confidence, so grab those minifigures and get them out in the garden-jungle.

There’s bags of ownership on offer too for a child who has nurtured a pot plant, or picked home-grown tomatoes for everyone to enjoy at dinner. The BBC has some great suggestions on perfect plants for children to grow that don’t require a lot of patience!

In short, contrary to Alan’s critics, it’s not what your garden looks like, but what you do in it that counts. And there is SO much we can do this summer that will have incredible benefits.

If you want to chat through this article further, or talk anything fostering, please contact us. We’ll be in the garden, growing outdoors.

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Footprints Foster Care Ltd
Registered Company No 07879639

Longham Business Park
168 Ringwood Road
Dorset BH22 9BU

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