Never skip the Children’s Garden!

The Children Inside Us

Recently I encouraged friends to visit the San Diego Botanical Gardens during their visit in the area.  Upon their return I eagerly quizzed them on what they saw. They had obviously enjoyed their visit, even the more reluctant visitor of the two.   I then asked, “Did you visit the Children’s Garden?”  “No,” was their reply, “we didn’t take the time,” I understood.  I have visited many public gardens and assumed I was too “big” to enjoy the children’s garden. I would hurry by on my way to enjoy the other garden displays for adults.   When I have wandered into the Children’s garden near the end of a long day of garden strolling I discovered one very definite tip for visiting gardens, “Don’t skip the children’s garden!”

The San Diego BG, near Encinitas, CA opened a new children’s garden in the summer of 2009. Visiting this beautiful botanical garden and missing a visit to the children’s garden is a loss to anyone of any age.  As busy adults we easily miss the whimsy and wonder of nature. A children’s garden touches the child that still resides in all of us. Happiness sprouts as we wander through such special places filled with topiary animals, rooftop gardens and pint size potting benches....   Continue Reading

Dwarf Conifers, Chicago Botanical Gardens

Writings

Conifers will be appearing all around the town in December, though most people will call them Christmas Trees.  If you go for putting a live tree on display in your home then you will likely choose between a fir, pine, cedar, spruce or cypress as these are 5 of the most popular varieties for a holiday tree.  This year for the first time Arizona is providing a blue spruce for the White House National Christmas Tree.  Generally for a tree to hold ornaments we want it to stand straight, be cone shaped and dark green. We are happy to tie on our own “pine cones” as part of our decorations....   Continue Reading

Container Gardens

Writings

As the weather began to change in my garden I eagerly set about planting my favorite colorful annuals in my containers.  I do pots, boxes, hanging baskets, tubs, it is my favorite garden activity trying for the perfect container of flowers.  A container seems so much in my control, the dirt, the size, the placement all arranged and hopefully will provide perfect results.  Yet each fall I think, “Oh if I just had one more container, perhaps a bit bigger, it would be just right.”  Traveling to public gardens made me realize my idea of a container is much, much too small....   Continue Reading

Peace Gardens

Writings

As I began my garden travels in August I fled the high temperatures of the Valley and I fled from the highly charged political debate engulfing our country.  I longed for peace in a garden as only nature could bring.   As our country and the world grapple with so many conflicts I try to remember conflict is part of life. Peace Gardens remind me citizens throughout the world see gardens as a path to peace....   Continue Reading

Fantasy Gardens

Writings

July 2009 was the all time hottest month on record in Phoenix!   Nearly everything in my garden was wilting. Any gardener venturing out was wilting as well.   So I needed a little fantasy gardening. I allow myself to fantasize about a perfect garden, where the plants stay in optimum health, where blooms unfold in predictable order of color, and quality is assured by a perfect feeding schedule and ideal watering.  A garden always orderly, where any storm damage is minimized and cleared promptly  (generally assisted by a legion of gardeners).  Yes, a fantasy I realize and yet since children may escape the day to day world by visiting a magic kingdom, why can’t a gardener escape to a magic garden?

George Washington Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is the ultimate fantasy garden complete with an enormous castle! Fredrick Law Olmsted, considered the father of American Landscape, designed the gardens and worked throughout the original 400,000 acres in 1895. The magnificent home today open to the public now occupies 8000 acres and the remaining grounds are a gardener’s delight....   Continue Reading

Night in a garden

Writings

As a kid I was afraid of the dark.  Many a summer night when I forgot to put away my bicycle or toy wagon I was told to “Go outside and put away my things!”  A dark night and only a small porch light to show me way, I stood trembling at the back door, holding my breath.  I would dash out, do the task and dash back in my heart racing.  Now night time outside in the garden is a favorite time for me....   Continue Reading

College Gardens

Writings

The spring semester has ended and the last notes of pomp and circumstance have faded away on college and university campuses.  Students have packed up and wandered off campus for their summer adventures and the education that may bring.  Right now until late August acres of college and university gardens cared for by fulltime groundskeepers are blooming and growing just hoping to be noticed!...   Continue Reading

Art in the Garden

I love a bit of art in my garden and public gardens like art too!  Now what do I mean by ‘art?’  Of course that would be a question for the sages to decide.  Though I’ll give it a try and say that I see it as an element made by human hands that mixes in with the natural elements of our gardens.  Certainly at the Desert Botanical Garden Dale Chihuly’s glass art has been mixed in with the natural world to great surprise and delight for thousands of visitors.  The excitement of such art draws local visitors in when they might overlook returning to a familiar garden.  Across the country public gardens work with this idea and as you travel this summer prepare to be surprised and delighted by art in the garden...   Continue Reading