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Display autumn colours | competition giveaway!

Friday, 26 August 2016
Matthew Appleby

Display autumn colours

A garden can be a lucky dip of autumn treasures such as berries. If a quick scout around shows you are in luck then capture the moment with a temporary collage showcasing the autumn's colours and textures.

You don’t need to buy anything, just raid the kitchen cupboards for a tin lid, granulated sugar and any whole spices, such as cloves, to supplement the material on offer. Dried beans come in many different colours and patterns and are pleasant to handle.

Getting started

Teach children when foraging in the garden to watch for thorns and prickles. Check any unfamiliar berries to make sure they are not poisonous if there are young children around. Crab apples, elderberries, Chinese gooseberries and small citrus fruits are all colourful and interesting, but the idea is to look and see what you have available. It’s never easy to predict what fruit and seeds you might find around the garden in autumn, and so much depends on the weather at the time and what sort of growing season it has been.

Why not try circles of conkers, Spanish chestnuts, rose hips, blackberries, and then beech nuts. Or for fruits of the garden, circles of tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants. Spread sugar on a tin lid or tray to hold your pattern in place. This activity can take place outside on a dry day or inside if it is raining – in wet weather the sugar will soon become sticky. When the child has finished their design, take a picture, then put the plant debris in the compost bin.


1. Gather colourful fruits but watch out for thorns and prickles.

2. A tin lid filled with sugar will hold your collage in place.

3. Supplement your fruit finds with items from the kitchen, such as dried bean seeds and whole cloves. Make a pattern or a face shape – the sugar will hold the items in place.

Extracted from The Children’s Garden by Matthew Appleby, photographs by Paul Debois. Published by Frances Lincoln (£14.99)


To be in with a chance of winning a FREE copy of The Children's Garden, simply send a one-sentence review of Countryside Classroom to [email protected].

Please include your name and delivery address in the email. The competition will close on Friday 30th September 2016 and a winner will be chosen at random.

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