Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, located in Brooklyn, New York, has been helping children learn all about growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs since 1914.  Kids ages 2-7 can plant their own crops in late spring and then come back to harvest them in the fall.

The Children's Garden. Photo by Rebecca Bullene.

 The Discovery Garden allows kids to touch and smell plants and experience different habitats;  woodland, meadow, farm, and wetland.  Kids can also dig up worms at the Nature Center. And what kids doesn't like digging up worms?

The gardens are open year round.  Admission for adults is $10.00.  Children under 12 are free.                                                           

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Canadian Butchart Gardens

The Butchart Gardens, located near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on Vancouver Island, contains 55 acres of simply gorgeous floral gardens.

In 1907, garden designer, Isaburo Kishida, came to Victoria to build a tea garden for Esquimalt Gorge Park.  A prominent citizen of the area, Jennie Butchart, saw the garden and commissioned Kishida to create Japanese gardens for her estate.  In 1909, the sunken garden was created, followed by a rose garden and Italian garden. 

Ownership of the gardens remains within the Butchart family, but they are open to the public. The gardens are open every day from 9AM to 4 PM, except for Christmas, where the gardens open at 1:00 PM.  Admission prices range from $3.00 for children, to $29.00 for adults, depending on the season you visit.

Monday, March 14, 2016

How to Naturalize Bulbs in a Lawn

Isn't it pretty to see spring flowers come up after months of snow and cold weather?  You can add to the spring color by naturalizing bulbs into your lawn.  Here's how you do it: 

1. Figure out where you would like to see your flowers come up.  Usually they look best under deciduous trees or at the edge of lawns.

2. Decide what flowers you want to use.  Small bulbs, like crocuses, naturalize best in lawns.  Grape hyacinths also work well.  Everyone likes daffodils, but unless you  don't want to cut your grass for a long time and look at yellowing leaves, they're probably not the best option.  Save them for wooded areas, or places where grass doesn't grow.

 3.  Once you've figured out where, and what kind of bulbs you're going to use, grab a handful of bulbs and toss them onto your lawn.  This should be done in early fall.  Plant them where they land for a natural look.  Be sure to leave a few inches between them to allow for naturalizing.

4.  Cut out a flap of grass and peel back.  Plant the bulb about four times as deep as the bulb is wide.  Plant the pointed side up.  Then refill with the soil.

5.  Place the grass back and water well.  The grass will be fine in the spring, and the plants will come right through it.

 6. Don't mow the lawn until the plants finish flowering and their leaves shrivel up and turn yellow.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Highfield Discovery Garden at Glenwood Gardens Park

The Highfield Discovery Garden at Glenwood Gardens Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, was one of my kids' favorite places to visit in the summer. It features a 25-foot tall Discovery tree, which kids can climb and discover all kinds of hidden animals and treasures.  My personal favorite is Grandma's Scent garden which contains many fragrant plants and herbs.  There's also a Wizard's Garden, a Vegetable Garden, a Trolly Garden (sure to be a hit for train lovers), a frog pond (my son's favorite), and a Fairy Garden (my daughter's favorite).   The garden is open from May 1 to August 31.  Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for children. 

glenwood gardens big bugs
glenwood gardens big bugs
The Discovery Tree is the centerpiece of the gardens.

This inviting playhouse is located in Grandma's Scent Garden.  There's a nice wooden swing where you can relax and take in the beauty of the gardens next to the playhouse.