Pinterest wins #2 How I made a Dinosaur garden

I saw this on the wonderful Imagination Tree. Yes, I thought to myself. We had a small raised bed on the patio that required some attention. Sorting this out could lead to some serious garden fun for the kids, aka mummy sits down unaccosted for a bit. And all it would take was a bit of gardening. Win!

It appealed to me, gathering dinosaury bits and bobs. A recent bit of cutting back had produced a decent looking pile of sticks and we had a bag of shells brought back from Cornwall by my parents that would be fun to play with. I had a rummage in the cupboard and liberated his big dinosaurs that I picked up for a quid at a nearly new sale and set Jet to task collecting pebbles from the garden. I squashed any qualms about workers’ rights and tax obligations and popped onto Amazon for a browse where I found some plastic bones, bright blue aquarium gravel, log slices, glass nuggets, bark chips, and a pack of small dinosaur figures. Imagine the possibilities! I did.

Whilst we waited for the orders to arrive, Chris removed the old tree stump that had finally had the decency to go rotten enough to be pulled up, and sorted out the bed with a new egding. I filled it up with compost, then Jet and I went to a local garden centre where we bought some what we considered Jurassic looking plants –

Arabis Variegata

Armeria Maritima Alba

Cordyline

Sempervivum

Festuca Glauca

and a couple of other bits that didn’t have a label. We arranged them in the bed, then planted them and watered them in with the hose – Jet’s current favourite garden toy. I wanted to let the plants bed in a bit before setting up the rest of the garden, so it was the next day before we added the rest of the landscape.

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We had a lot of fun creating the landscape, making a river with the blue gravel, marking out areas with the pebbles, building a shelter with the sticks and putting in the bark chippings. Jet populated the garden with a few of his figures, and decided the glass pebbles were eggs and laid them in a couple of nests, which he decided belonged to Brian the dinosaur and Stelladactyl. If you need to ask what type of dinosaur she was, you haven’t spent nearly enough time in the company of a four year old recently!

There were some of his chums he didn’t know the name of, though.

Jet: “What’s this one, darling?”

Me (hoping he wasn’t about to get on Google and check up on me): “Erm… I think it’s Iguanadon.”

Jet: “Koaladong?”

Me (stifling a giggle): “No, Iguanadon.”

Jet: “Oh, Iglearnadom.”

Me (less concerned now about the whole Google thing): “Yeah.”

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Isn’t it beautiful?! It looked like this for about four minutes. When I discovered the cat had dug up the blue gravel I nearly divorced her, but luckily she stopped short of actually shitting in it. Thankfully, Chris’ mum gave us some rigid plastic netting to pop over it to protect it from her curious ways.  

It made me chuckle to listen in to the narrative he created, and I managed to scribble down some highlights:

It becomes clear why extinction was an inevitability

Brandishing two dinos, he waggles them about as they chat. “He’s coming!”

“Hide behind that tree – quick!”

“OK, I’ll try, but I’m not very good at hiding.”

“Uh oh! My tail’s stuck!”

Later, another dinosaur, aided by Jet, attempts to clamber up the fence and gets stuck. Appealing to the others, he asks “Hey guys, could someone help me with my foot?”

Justice is served

To me, “Brian’s naughty. He just tries to get people. But now he’s dead.”

Maths is demonstrated

One of the dinosaurs collected a big pile of glass eggs, with the help of Jet’s opposable thumbs, and was in the mood for showing off his estimation skills. “Look! I’ve got millions! I’ve got about three!”

Stella was also enjoying the dinosaurs, running about saying “Diesaws! Rah!” in her best George Pig impression. She was a bit confused about the soil-covered pebbles though. At one point I found her with her face covered in mud trying to eat one, saying “Chocklit! Eggs!”

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A new idea popped into Jet’s mind and he busied himself for five minutes or so, instructing Stella according to his agenda. “Stella! Prepare the sticks! Get the eggs! Put this…somewhere!” Obediently, she met his demands, trotting off to gather things and bring them to him. Together, they created their own subsidiary dinosaur garden on top of the nearby sand and water table by arranging all of the pebbles, bark, glass nuggets and everything else I had carefully laid out.

Finally, it was ready. “Come and play the dinosaur game!” Jet announces, in the manner of a ringmaster or market stall holder. “You have to jump over the octsticles to get the shiny things!” It was a pretty cool game, but I was struggling.

I have to admit what they were doing was troubling me. I wanted them to play with it, but I didn’t want them to touch it or move anything. I had to really fight the urge to say no! The pebbles go here and the bark goes here! Then I thought back to my original aim for this idea: kids have fun, mummy sits down. I decided that what needed to happen was for me to take myself off indoors, put the kettle on and just keep my fingers crossed that Stella didn’t get peckish again. So I did.

If you enjoyed this, you can read my other Pinterest win and various fails here and  here.

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48 thoughts on “Pinterest wins #2 How I made a Dinosaur garden

  1. I love your dinosaur garden – what a brilliant idea! So tempted to go out now and buy some big pots to recreate something similar for the girls (probably a fairy garden though as they’re not really into dinosaurs!) I love Jet’s narrative whilst he was playing with the dinosaurs and the “koaladong” and the game he created sounds like fun. I have to confess I would also struggle not to try and keep it looking perfect too – good move to go in and put the kettle on! Thanks for linking up to #ftmob 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow this looks amazing Alice!! I love it!! Lots of imagination going there!! I really love how your kids were engaged with it!! I think it is a brilliant idea!! Only if I have a garden to do this too!! Hopefully one day!! lol Thanks so much lovely for sharing this at #KCACOLS. As always I love having you here! I hope to see you again on Sunday, 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Franca – it was such a lot of fun to create it. I hope they will get a lot of play out of it, and we can change it for animals or farmers etc if and when they get fed up with dinosaurs! Thanks for hosting – see you soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow wow WOW!!! This is AMAZING! I’ve pinned it. It’s so cool and I totally get what you mean about not wanting to ‘mess it up’ when your vision has been created. I’d probably find myself obsessively putting it all back together after bedtime! Thanks for linking! #bigpinklink

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  4. oh wow that looks like so much fun! I remember when I was little making a garden like this and it was great. It looks fantastic and the dinosaurs look like they’re having a lot of fun too! #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will remember that! I’ve been to the garden centre today and looked at some of those trough things with this in mind. It looks like so much fun (although I would probably be a bit OCD about it too!). X

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is AWESOME! Ellis would love it, and I know a perfect place for it to go, I may have to try it! You did a fab job here lovely, well done you. (I would also be desperate to stop them moving anything too though) #KCACOLS xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so pretty! Very creative. I would have gone crazy too if my kids dared to PLAY with such a pretty dinosaur garden. I had to laugh at you divorcing the cat – loved that! They looked like they had a ball! Thanks for sharing with #PasstheSauce

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s brilliant! I would struggle with the actually letting them play with it aspect. Bless Stella with her chocolate eggs! It seems quite plausible to me that dinosaurs did die out due to inordinate struggles with getting their tails stuck. We have had some very similar conversations regarding dinosaur names. Amusingly, in our set, the T-Rex says what it is on its stomach. The others do not. The only plausible explanation is that the makers of the dinosaurs are also only able to confidently identify T-Rexs.#passthesauce

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your dinosaur garden, we like to make mini ones in Activity hour but this is a really lovely one on a big scale. the detail is great and I love how you allowed the children to just play at the end. If you get a chance please join me for Country Kids, it is all about fun outdoors which this really is.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is great. My 3yo loves the dinosaurs in a big way – exactly like every other pre-schooler. But I definitely suffer from the that’s-not-where-that-goes stress at times. Too many pieces of baby equipment to keep clean!

    Liked by 1 person

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