Plants are the most important element in any nature play space. Why? Because if you don’t have plants in your nature play space you are missing the main feature of any nature play space. People are drawn to environments with planting. The intricacies of plants and their features have an extremely high play value for children. They help make a space a place.
In saying this, not every plant is suited to be in a play space. As I always say right plant right place. There are some rules to follow when thinking about what plants to use.
Rule 1 Don’t use any poisonous plants.
This may seem obvious. However, some plants which you might not think are poisonous are. Most are not deadly, and you most you will probably find sitting in your garden going about their business not harming anyone. Just because a plant is poisonous doesn’t mean it should be purged from the earth. What it does mean, is that you should not be planting it, somewhere children are going to be constantly playing.
There are several government web sites on what plants not to use they are great resources.
And if you are worried a child has had something you think might be poisons contact the poisons hotline in your state immediately.
Rule 2 Right Plant Right Place
This is not the first time I have talked about making sure you use the right plants in the right location on this blog. I have done a great post on How to Choose the Right Plant for your Garden. This blog might be helpful in helping choose the right species for your situation. You need to think about the plant location. How big it is going to get? What type of play are the kids going to be doing around that place? Head over to the other blog post for more information.
Rule 3 Minimising the accidents
Plants are amazing and come in all shapes forms and sizes. They also come with sharp edges, thorns, spikes which when you’re wanting children to get in among them and play are not always helpful. For example, some grasses have sharp edges and when you run your hand along the leaves will cut your skin. These are plants that you will want to avoid planting in your play space.
Rule 4 Fast growing plants are great.
Why do you want a fast growing plant, well because those children are going to be climbing on, picking, pulling leaves off and generally getting all up in that plants business. You want something that takes well to a bit of pruning, doesn’t mind being trampled and grows back quickly.
Rule 5 What is the plant’s play value?
Does it produce seeds? Does it have great shaped leaves, flowers? Interesting bark, twigs? Does its shape mean that it is a great shrub for a small person to hide under? A child’s imagination is an amazing thing to watch in action. The possibilities of what a leaf can be used for are endless from money, food, products, pens and paper. Let your imagination run wild and plant plants which will help spark their imagination.
Would you like some more help choosing the right plant for your play space? Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.