Frugi x National Trust: In the Garden with Becky Cole

We’re getting ready to help gardens grow with our new organic cotton Garden Growers collection! 

 

Inspired by the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ activities and the remarkable collection of gardens in their care, we’ve created an exclusive range for little ones to explore the great outdoors and get closer to nature!

 

The National Trust shares Frugi’s belief that encouraging children to spend time outside in nature has so many benefits for their health and wellbeing. 

 

 

WHEN CHILDREN SPEND TIME PLAYING OUTDOORS IT INCREASES THEIR WELLBEING AS WELL AS THAT OF THEIR FAMILIES. 

 

Packed with sustainable styles and wellies with added puddle jumping power, little ones will love getting ready for taking on adventures in the garden. Join us as we get our wellies ready for some garden exploring – new collection OUT NOW! 

 

 

We caught up with Becky Cole to learn about slow living on Broughgammon Farm and how she’s encouraging her children to connect with nature each day. 

“Hi, I’m Becky Cole, a family herbalist, gardener and mum of two little boys, Rupert (5) and Toby (2). I live on a sustainable farm close to the sea on the North coast of Ireland. I’ve been on a quest to transform my life, health and mindset from burnt out city girl to a nourished, slow living advocate. Nowadays I’m a regular BBC Radio 2 Gardening contributor on the Vanessa Feltz Show and I host the Nature & Nourish podcast. I also run an array of classes from natural skincare to seasonal herbalism as well as regular foraging walks here on the farm and online too.” 

 

How is life on Broughgammon Farm?  

Life on Broughgammon Farm is busy and hands on! Our lives are very determined by the seasons, so in winter, things start to slow down and the focus is on writing, planning the garden and enjoying some quiet time indoors. In the spring through to autumn seasons it’s full of sowing, planting, foraging and working with the land.  I divide my time between all that and being a mum, cooking nourishing recipes and working with herbs in my cottage kitchen. 

 

What does the art of slow living mean to you? 

Slow living is such a broad term and it can encompass so many different elements, but for me a slow life is all about enjoying the simple things and finding pleasure and contentment in everyday moments. This isn’t always easy but it’s a principle I do try and implement as much as I can. For example when it comes to making a cup of tea, I try to enjoy the whole process – from boiling the water, to finding my favourite mug and taking a couple of seconds to enjoy the feel of a hot cup of tea in my hands before getting on with the task ahead. This slow living practice can be applied to everything in the day and if I’m feeling a bit frazzled it’s a good way to ground myself.  

 

Do you have any tips on slow living that families can use in their everyday lives?  

One of my favourite tips for slow living is to celebrate the seasons through gentle everyday rituals. This can be as simple as lighting a beeswax candle at breakfast time during the autumn and winter months when the light is low, or bringing in some fresh flowers in spring and summer. I have lots of tips for this kind of thing in my Homemaking with the Seasons series on my podcast. 
 

 

Our new Frugi x National Trust collection is all about garden adventures, focusing on getting little ones out in nature, learning about plants and how to care for them. Do you have any tips on how parents can do this with their children from a young age? 

A great way of getting the family out into nature is by starting a nature journal and visiting a favourite nature walk, wild spot or a local park regularly. Every time you visit you can take notes, pictures and drawings of what wild things you can see. You can use this time to re-tune your senses and re-wild them. Notice the noises, smells and see small shifts in nature, from the new buds on a tree to the first snowdrops of the season. It’s a beautiful way of enjoying nature, learning about plants and building nature connection.  

 

Do you have any favourites from the collection? 

Yes I love the Puddle Buster Suits! Living on the farm, a puddle suit is an essential bit of kit and means we can get out into nature no matter what the weather! I love the fun, colourful pattern on the puddle buster suit and the design details that ensures my little ones stay dry and cosy. 

 

 

How do you get your little ones involved on the farm? 

There are so many jobs here on the farm that are perfect for my children to join in on. My youngest will always come down to the polytunnels with me in the morning to help sow seeds and do garden jobs. I like to keep an area of the garden just for them, so a spot where they can dig with their child sized gardening tools and get messy without me having to fuss over them. I also keep some larger seeds, like sunflower seeds and broad beans, back for them to sow as they are easier to handle with little hands. Both my boys love to help out with the animals too, my older son especially loves to feed the donkeys and pigs hay. 

 

You run a kid’s club at Broughgammon Farm, what inspired you to start it up and what does it involve? 

I began the Nature Kids club as there wasn’t anything like that around me and I wanted a forest school inspired club for my own children so I decided to start my own! Each month we gather together in our waterproofs and learn about different animals or plants that we might see, we then go on a sensory nature walk and finish up in the farm classroom doing some wild nature crafts. It’s a brilliant way to get together and enjoy nature as a community.  

 

 

Are there any exciting updates or innovations happening at the farm this year? 

Well, we’re just finishing up renovating our classroom which has enabled us to host more classes already this year and is great for the kids club, too. We’ll be working on our permaculture forest garden this year as well, which will be a combination of edible trees, fruit bushes and herbs alongside chickens and ducks. I’m really excited to see that evolve and become a fun area to explore as a family.   

 

Do you have any advice for budding eco-heroes who aspire to get involved with horticulture? 

Get growing! No matter what your space, you can grow things, especially food! It’s so exciting to be able to grow your own, so try your hand at planting some salad, or a container of potatoes. And learn how to cook them too! Also look out for community gardens, there are plenty of these about and a fun way to get together and all share your love of plants.  

 

We recently celebrated World Book Day on 3rd March 2022 – what would be your top 3 “eco-reads” for little ones and parents? 

 

📚 For parents I highly recommend Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, it’s such a beautiful, poetic ode to nature.  

 

📚 For kids I love Alys Fowler’s Grow Forage and Make. It’s packed full with green fingered ideas for kids. 

 

📚 And finally I’d recommend my book The Garden Apothecary, it covers 20 commonly found edible plants and shares lots of recipes and remedies that you can make from them, many of which you could do with your children.  

 

Lastly, where is your favourite National Trust location to visit and why? 

Well, I am very lucky to live on the North coast of Ireland where there are some incredible National Trust locations. I think my favourite would have to be White Park Bay, which is a stunning sandy beach with a windy walk down to it, that is filled with wild orchids and interesting plants. The beach itself is picture perfect and we like to walk along it throughout the year.  

 

Thank you for joining us on the Frugi Blog, Becky, we’ve loved hearing about your life on the farm!

 

 

If you’re looking for some inspiration for how to get your little ones out in nature, why not check out our Frugi Time downloadable activity sheets?