Ballarat's passionate green thumbs are helping create the next generation of environmentally conscious gardeners.
Volunteers for Friends of the Botanical Gardens program BotaniKIDS helped around 3000 children learn to pot their own plant at the Ballarat Begonia Festival throughout the weekend.
More than 1800 children took home their own plant on Saturday alone.
Each child was given a small tin bucket to pot their plant and decorate it with their name.
Backyards are small and they are getting smaller, so kids getting outside and getting dirty is not something that is part of their life now.Julie Bradby, BotaniKIDS convenor
BotaniKIDS convenor Julie Bradby said it was important the next generation understood the need for plants in our lives and our role in looking after them.
"We chat to the children about the roots and the soil. This year we have taught them to put a little peg doll - if the peg doll’s feet are wet you don’t water the plant, if his feet are dry it is time to water the plant. One of the things the kids often do is over water," she said.
"At the Begonia Festival we can touch a lot of young families.
"The botanical gardens are really important to the community now because most backyards are small and they are getting smaller, so kids getting outside and getting dirty is not something that is part of their life now.
"These are the reasons that give us the impetus to do what we do at BotaniKIDS."
BotaniKIDS is a regular program run with schools, kindergartens and young families.
Young children partner with elderly residents of aged care facilities as part of the Wise Gardener program to pot a plant.
"It is so lovely," she said.
"One incident last year we were packing up after everyone had left and one of the older ladies had left her walking frame. She had come in with one but felt so energised when she left she had forgotten her walking frame."
Donations collected at the Begonia Festival will be used to support the transformation of the old Gatekeepers Cottage to a sustainability hub for BotaniKIDS programs.