Below are some fascinating plants to keep the kids interested

Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae, pictured). This plant has colourful flowers that look like exotic birds on top of stiff stems.

Sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica). When touched, the leaves of this plant fold up and can take some time before they unfurl again. Sow seeds in a pot and treat it as an annual.

Tortured willow (Salix matsudana ‘Tortuosa’) and twisted hazelnut (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) have curiously curled and twisted stems that children love. They can be cut during their dormant winter season, dried and used as floral decorations or for displaying light ornaments, especially for Christmas.

Pussy willows are also loved for the fluffy catkins that decorate their stems in spring. All willows should be planted with care and never where there is any risk of these water-hungry plants invading drains.

Chain of hearts (Ceropegia woodii, pictured) is a delightful basket plant with leaves that do indeed resemble tiny hearts.