Easy Leaf Art
I wanted to share with you a really easy, but effective leaf art activity you can make with children. Every autumn we collect loads of natural materials with the aim of making all sorts of beautiful crafts. Sadly it is rare that we ever make the time to complete the task.
So being quick and easy are the key to this leafcraft. Most families will be not be short of leaves this time of year. They are in the garden and usually brought back in pocketfuls on the way to and from school and those lovely autumn walks.
All you need to do for this activity is to make sure the leaves are dry and flat and then add shop brought eyes. Ours came from our local art shop.
We have made a leaf family with ours and a pair of twins.
If you can't access any ready made eyes then you could have a go at drawing some faces. If you press your leaves for at least a day before you stick eyes onto the leaves you will find that the leaves will not curl up. However you may find the curly leaves quite appealing - matching the wrinkles of the mummy leaves!
As well as tidying up the garden ready for winter you can still sow and plant in the autumn. A spot of gardening with the kids is an ideal activity for a warm autumn afternoon. Late autumn is, in fact, the best time to plant shrubs and trees, including fruit trees.
Some of the vegetables you can plant are slightly more unusual, so it is an opportunity for your children to be adventurous with their growing and eating. You can continue with outdoor sowings of lettuce, spinach and rocket.
You can sow the seeds from now until mid-October and it takes about 8-10 weeks to grow. The plants prefer bright spots in winter and shady spots in summer, not too hot and not too dry.
The coloured stalks can be stir-fried or sautéed but remember, they can turn accompanying foods a lovely shade of pink! Try topping your chard with a splash of balsamic vinegar, a squirt of lemon juice or a dollop of crème fraiche. The young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or added to warm dishes just before serving.
Great for stir fries this vegetable may seem exotic, but is a member of the cabbage family.
Sow seed thinly, 13mm (0.5in) deep, in rows 30-38cm (12-15in) apart. You will see growth in a couple of weeks and you can harvest after about 60 days
You can plant onion sets and garlic in October. However you will not be in a position to harvest them until the following summer. So you will need to have a patient child.
An activity that will see some immediate results is to sow all those bare patches in lawns with grass seed. The kids can easily help with this task and they should be rewarded with sprouting seeds within a couple of weeks.
Plant bulbs as soon as available – don’t leave in plastic. Wait until late Oct/Nov before planting tulips. You can also plant alliums and grape hyacinths.
You can buy bare root wallflowers now. Market stalls are often a good place to source them. Plant as soon as you buy them. They will flower in March/April.
There is still time to create an herb garden, though there will not be much growth over winter. Many herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano are hardy.