The Children’s Garden: a retrospective – By Mary Ellen Babich
September 14, 2011 by Linda Welch
1 Children’s Garden 1 – In the Fall of 2005 when Jennie asked me to help her with the “Children’s Orchard,” I said “Sure, where is it?” She led me to that awful place along the field edge behind the storage area and the disposal tanks. After completing some much-needed clean-up, Jennie asked me if I would consider renovating the garden. I worked on the design that Winter and with the help of a man and his truck (my husband Calvin) installed the 3 initial hardscape elements that would define the tiny space.
2 Children’s Garden 2 – Stella Kirby popped by the new “Children’s Garden” one evening in May of 2006 and helped me plant the 11 White Chiffon Rose of Sharon. As the small garden grew, Stella continued to help in the garden and she and I became good friends.
3 Children’s Garden 3 – At the end of the first year, the little garden was taking shape. The Rose of Sharon bloomed into September and the Hyacinth runner beans made a spectacular show covering the re-bar tunnel.
4 Children’s Garden 4 – In 2007 hundreds of marigolds and sunflowers filled the garden. Several Master Gardeners started 10 varieties of dwarf sunflowers for the garden – small enough for smallest of garden visitors to enjoy. Jennie suggested expanding the little garden along the field edge.
5 Children’s Garden 5 – By November 2007, with the help of many Master Gardeners’ hands, the expansion was completed. A new path and a stone bridge were installed.
6 Children’s Garden 6 – Year three was an explosion of annual color. The thymes were taking hold, softening the edges of the paths and giving off wonderful fragrances.
7 Children’s Garden 7 – Fall clean-up left the garden a blank canvas again for me to contemplate the next growing season during the winter months.
8 Children’s Garden 8 – Stella painted the rock turtles that dot the dry creek bed and hide in the thymes, adding more whimsy to the little garden.
9 Children’s Garden 9 – The garden continues to grow and mature. The Blue Muffin Viburnum flowered profusely, but failed to hold the much-anticipated blue berries that the birds would have enjoyed.
10 Children’s Garden 10 – The Rose of Sharon, blooming from June through September, are the stars of the garden every year. The garden hosts many visitors, including my Mom who instilled in me a love of gardening, and my youngest granddaughter, Zoe, who helped me plant annuals this year in the garden.
This little garden has been a joy to me and I hope to all who have visited there. It would not be as special a place had it not been for all of the wonderful Master Gardeners who have helped each year along the way. Thank you to all who have contributed to my learning process. The Children’s Garden has been a true “Work n’ Learn” project for me for the past six years.