Thursday, June 9, 2011

Children's Garden

Metal Fence with Cutouts from Children's Artwork

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Marcia Farris, Director of the Arboretum in Lexington, KY. If you live in the area then I am sure you have visited the Arboretum numerous times but I was interviewing Marcia for something very special. They have opened the new Kentucky Children's Garden. My family made a visit to the Arboretum the day of the grand opening and we were excited to see the diversity offered in the Children's Garden.
The Butterfly Garden

Marcia was kind enough to take some time out of her busy day to sit down and discuss exactly how this garden came about and what the plans are in the future.

In 2004, the Arboretum hired Herb Schaal of Fort Collins, Colorado to be the conceptual designer of the garden. Once they discussed all the options and were able to narrow down the choices, they began fundraising to make their dream a reality. As of 2011, they have raised $1.2 million of the needed funds and only have $80,000 more to go for completion.
Spider Labyrinth Garden

This dream came about as more and more families came to the Arboretum for walks, family time and classes. The Little Sprout classes offered at the Arboretum were filling up and the staff was being forced to turn away children that wanted to enroll in the classes. They knew that the interest in outdoor and environmental activities could be sustained and that the 25 square foot garden plot that was currently being used as a Children's Garden was inadequate for the volume of visitors.
Pond with Rock Path Bridge

The new Children's Garden is situated on 1.85 acre of the Arboretum and provides an environment for hands on usage, exploring and learning for kids aged 2 and up. There are areas to get in a creek, plant flowers, crawl through butterfly antennae, walk through a labyrinth and so much more.
Pathway with Fossil Imprints

They currently have installed a butterfly garden, a birthday garden, a creek and pond area, a spider web labyrinth, tall grass prairie, Native American area and a cave. Once more funds are raised they are also planning a few other things like a short grass prairie, Pioneer garden, transportation garden and fairy garden.
Native American Garden

As you go through the garden paths you will see animal tracks and leaves imprinted in the paths. These tracks are a history of our state and the animals that have been in our area. At every turn there is something to learn, whether parent or child. They have great raised beds that include a sensory area with soft plants and smelly plants; a barnyard garden with plants named after barnyard animals and an Alice in Wonderland Garden that contains the plants Alice encountered (minus the talking).
The Cave

If you have not visited the new Children's Garden I hope you will put it on the list of things to do this summer.

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