The Children’s Garden has always been a particular favorite of many visitors to the Arboretum, and I don’t necessarily mean just the kids. It appeals to the inner child in many of us.
If you are familiar with this space, you know that it is located just outside the Education Center, and the main features are:
- the fish pond
- the two silos (one with the general store and one with the music station)
- the dino bones sand box;
- the weeping mulberry hide out
- the green roof playhouse;
- the strawberry patch
- the teepee
- the sensory garden
- the pin wheel circle
- the peek-a-boo forest (the residence of the fearsome dragon)
Another feature, until the last couple of years, was the train garden. The train tracks were located on a small hill, and it circled around a tiny pond and through a miniature forest of fir trees. While it was very popular when the trains were running, it wasn’t really a place the children could actually play in. It was also difficult to maintain. The challenge that we faced was what to do here without losing the charm of the tiny trees and still make it an accessible play space. Enter the present Children’s Garden committee, yet another example of the outstanding group of volunteers at the Arboretum. Plans were made, and the key component-a replica hobbit house-was obtained, and now the magic is underway.
The train garden space will become a fantasy land dedicated to one of the most famous groups of people in all of fantasy literature: hobbits.
Thanks to a recent series of movies, hobbits, wizards, orcs, and goblins have become familiar to many.
The hero of the Hobbit movie is Bilbo Baggins, and his house is called Bag End. Our plan is to replicate his house in our little hill giving the kids access to another play area.
The house will sit in one corner of the hillside. We will keep the tiny tree forest at the other end to give visitors another area to explore.
What better place for hobbits to live than in their very own house in our Children’s garden?
The hillside with the “under construction” sign will soon be transformed and ready for our visiting hobbits! Who knows? Maybe some gnomes will move in as well.