Young would-be gardeners distracted by resident wildlife

Large (or Cabbage) White Butterfly caterpillars chomping on nasturtium leaves.

Large (or cabbage) White Butterfly caterpillars chomping on nasturtium leaves. - Credit: Groundwork South 

The snails are on the move; climbing over each other to make it up the side of the plant pot and to freedom, only to be thwarted by being plucked up and placed back in the pot, accompanied by a reprimand that informs them they are ‘very naughty’.

The scolding, and the hand placing them back in the pot, belongs to a seven year old; the same boy who has spent the last half-hour combing the area to find the gastropods.

His fellow would-be gardeners are similarly distracted by resident wildlife, but they are focussed on counting how many large white butterfly caterpillars are feasting on the nasturtiums.

Undated Handout Photo of a snail on a hosta leaf. See PA Feature GARDENING Advice Titchmarsh. Pictur

Let’s hope a certain young lad left the pot and its contents outside. - Credit: Press Association Images

With this many ‘pests’ present, it’s probably just as well the group of children are not here today to help with the business of growing.

However, the adult volunteer gardeners are not disheartened.

While the crops may be somewhat diminished by the slugs and caterpillars, the enthusiasm for helping in the garden is not.

In fact, it may have grown thanks to this collection of young people and their clamour to be involved.

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The children tell us that they love gardening, that they often help a grandparent with their garden, that they know how to use a spade, and of course, importantly, that they now how to pick strawberries! 

With such enthusiasm it is not easy to turn them away, but we are not set up to have under-18s working in the garden just now.

Alongside the planning we would need to do, we’d also need the correct-sized tools, access to welfare facilities, permissions from guardians and plenty of squash and biscuits.

Fortunately, we know the team that run the youth club here, so the children leave with the promise that we’ll try and set up a gardening club and they head off home for tea.

Let’s hope a certain young lad listened to advice and left the plant pot and its contents outside...

To help with caring for Torbay’s Green Spaces and supporting more children and young people to get involved, please contact Hannah Worthington on 07940510616 or email hannah.worthington@groundwork.org.uk