Collecting garden ideas in the Capital

As has become my custom, I took pictures of some sweet ideas for children’s gardens at the United States Botanic Gardens.

Upfront, they give permission to use the senses:

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Kids cranked on this old-fashioned pump to fill the pool…

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….and then kids filled up watering cans….

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….and watered everything in sight.   ( I imagine they’ve got the most well-draining soil imaginable)….

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Brightly painted details always add a touch of whimsy.

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If you’re reading this and you’d like to help me install a mailbox in our school garden, I would take you up on it.  I love this idea as a way to store how-to handouts for visitors (i.e. One of our beneficials is working on a one-page sheet on how to construct your own gopher cages to plant in.)

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We saw an exhibit on plants that traveled because of the Perry Expedition.  I’m completely intrigued by the worldwide migration of plants, and I think it’s a good hook for pulling kids in to both botany and history.

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Rooftop gardens are big right now, but how fun that this one on top of a playhouse is accessible and eye-level (at least for adults?)

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A common element in children’s gardens: little, green spaces to crawl into.  Here: a bamboo grove of one’s own.

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Another personal interest:  how do plants, trees and flowers contribute to our sense of place?  I know I feel more “grounded” every year in Julian as I learn my plants, note subtle changes in the succession of blooms, recognize patterns in the seasons, expect certain smells, etc.

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Another angle to explore in the garden:  food across cultures.  This was built for smelling!

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A few experiential stations were set up.  At this one we made seed balls with soil, clay and wildflower seeds to toss in a garden, vacant lot, etc.  The woman encouraged me to take it home, even though I live in California. I was on vacation, so I didn’t strike up a conversation about my classified work with native plants, and just politely gave it to my D.C. friend. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Collecting garden ideas in the Capital

  1. T,
    I would like to find a local Julian artist and commission that person to paint a mailbox that would tell a story as well as look good in the garden. What you say ? dad

  2. As always, I am intrigued and inspired by your posts! Congratulations on your trip and absorbing all that good information while having a great time! The sense of place in gardens is definitely true for me as I wander through our garden “rooms” at our home.

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