This week it is so wonderful to chat with Jacqueline Mercer, the inspiration behind Tiny and the House
. Jacqueline is a London based shoe designer and has expanded on this love of design to interiors and gardens. Her London garden looks to me like the ultimate sanctuary.
We caught up to discuss how she immerses her children in nature despite living in the city.
I picture your daughter as your happy little helper in the garden! What do you find is the most engaging activity for children to do to get them interested in gardening?
My daughter loves to help me in the garden and also her grandparents garden! Watering plants, digging, sweeping are all things she loves to do, perhaps not very well haha but it gets her involved and outside in the fresh air.
What do you find is the most calming nature activity for your daughter?
I love to take her for walks around parks and forests talking about the leaves, the trees the flowers in bloom, we look for squirrels - getting her observing as well as exercising and having fun. We live in a city so we even love to walk around the area we live in looking at peoples front gardens, she loves to point out colourful flowers and tell me what she likes - we try to find nature as much as we can even where its really built up in London.
Your hydrangeas are something else! How do you achieve balance in your city garden?
I love to grow hard working plants such as Hydrangeas, Dahlias, Begonias, Heucherra that really give back a lot to both me and the garden. Plants like these are both beautiful and last a long time. For example some of my Hydrangeas bloom in June and the heads will dry and stay in over winter so this really stops the garden looking really bare, thats a lot of the year! I will work in other plants / flowers such as poppies around these to add more seasonal interest, colour and textures. Which works well for the size of a city garden I have and also the time I have to spend on the garden.
How you integrate nature into your city lives?
I have designed my garden ( and I’m very much still working on it) to be as full and green as possible from all windows in the house. It's very private and I call it my 'secret garden'. I’m trying to encourage the birds and nature back in by feeding them, adding in houses for them. I work in plants to encourage the bees and butterflies, which looks so beautiful in summer when you see the butterflies in particular. Im really keen to help in the fight to save the bees and the butterflies.
We are so lucky to live in such a green city, there are so many amazing parks, woodlands within the city, we spend so much time in them which is brilliant.
There are so many you can do a different park every day if you want.
Favourite nature school hack?
On our walks collect things - stones, sticks, leaves and try to make things from them like stickmen. It can lead to fun chats as we walk around and really gets Martha looking at what she’s picking up and notice the colours the textures. We might not make works of art but as long as she’s looking at things I’m happy.