Thank you everyone, really interesting to hear your advice. I think I will find growing from seed much more rewarding so am going to get cracking with it and if and when I run out of time I'll pop off to the garden centre! Chestnut my older child will definitely enjoy 'helping' (we call it 'hilping' as there is often more hinderance than help!) - will try and find some of the larger seeds for that. We've been planting bulbs in the cut flower patch which has been a very popular activity. My propagator arrived today and the seed trays tomorrow so I'm sitting down with a glass of mulled wine and an index box to organise my seed sowing