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Friday, September 26, 2014

Children's Gardens

I must have fallen in love with gardens when I was a child in the 1950's because of Papaw & Mamaw's farm in Mississippi. Papaw, a widower, built the house for my grandmother soon after they were married in 1917.  This blurry photo was taken of the flowers that lined the walk up to Mamaw's front porch in 1974.  Mamaw was 77 by then and would live another 20 years in that house and another 6 in a nursing home.  We moved so often that my parents had no interest in gardening.  Mamaw's flowers and her farm were very special to me. . . .
We kids loved playing "house"around these big oak trees. You can just make out the huge roots that grew out of the ground of the one next to this one.  These made little compartments that we designated as the "rooms" of our house. . . .and the bushes in the back ground, cut into the shape of a chair and couch, further captured our imaginations. . . .
So it's no wonder I love visiting Children's Gardens whenever I can. . . .
WINTERTHUR -  ENCHANTED WOODS
Winterthur's website has a wonderful interactive site about the Enchanted Woods.  The Tale of  Enchanted Woods sets the stage for the enchantment.  Be sure to read the Letter From the Enchanted Woods Faeries and click on the link below this map.  Be prepared for surprises. . . .
Now you are ready to enter the Enchanted Woods.  It was an overcast day.  Leaves were being stirred about by the wind.  There were only a few other children there (besides me!). . . .
Welcome to the Enchanted Woods. . . .
Harvey welcomes you, too. . . .
Be careful as you cross for Scott the Troll lives under the bridge, or do like me and follow the path around the bridge. . . .
Cobweb, the storyteller fairy, hangs out here. . . .
I think this is where the trolls must warm themselves at night.  I did not linger to look for evidence. . . .
What's this peaking through the leafy bushes and trees. . . .
A huge bird's nest!  And the Faerie Cottage.  I am told when "fairy" is spelled the old French way, "faerie," it includes all woodland spirits--fairies, pixies, elves, brownies, sprites, sylphs, & gnomes. . . .
Puddle, the Water Fairy, made the Frog Hollow bridge. . . .
Moss, the gardener fairy, planted the Gathering Green where you can dance around the May Pole to welcome Spring. . . .
Ah, you must pass through the chiming gate to reach the Tuilip Tree House. . . .

                     

Blossom, the Flower Fairy, has made a special labyrinth. . . .
Inscribed with a walking song from the Navajo tribe. . . .

In beauty may I walk
With beauty before me
With beauty behind me
With beauty above me
With beauty around me
May I walk




. . . .and special stones carved with magic flowers. . . .
It is said one must absolutely, definitely not enter a fairy ring. . . .
. . . .for if you do this is what happens. . . . !
As we made our way out of the Enchanted Woods we passed some petrified stumps. . . .or were they. . . .?

LONGWOOD GARDENS - CHILDREN'S GARDEN
Pierre du Pont loved having children play in his gardens at Longwood.  It was only fitting that an Indoor Children's Garden was added to the Conservatory in 1987.   This is how it looked in the summer of 1991 when I took my children to see it.  The theme that year was Peter Rabbit and Friends.  That's my little Benjamin bunny when he was 3. . . .
 In 2007 they tripled the size and added a second story and fountains. . . .
Now, other people's children are playing in the garden. . . .
The ironwork was beautiful. . . .

Longwood Gardens has several outdoor areas for children such as the Children's CornerBird House & Railway Garden, and Lookout Loft.

MY ENCHANTED WOODS
As you will remember the Gnomes in my Woods keep guard over the Enchanted Woods.  They stay hidden in the tree trunks most of the time, but this one came out to give me a wave. . . .

To enter through the South Entrance you must now place an acorn from the bowl into the Faerie's apron. . . .
Gabriel has just placed his acorn in the apron. . . .
He then heads for the path that leads to the Faerie House. . . .
 He seems to know exactly where to find it for he's leading the way. . . .
 We pass by the back door hidden in the bushes. . . .
Even though the leaves have fallen all around from the trees, the Faerie Flowers are all still in bloom.  Magical. . . . !
We quietly leave the Faerie House and head toward the North Entrance, passing by the mushroom seat. . . .
All those who enter through this way must strike the Faerie bell with that bone. . . . !


This was one of my favorite songs when I was a little girl. . . .If you go down into the woods today be sure of a big surprise, . . you better go in disquise. . . .

                    

16 comments:

  1. What an utterly charming post! My, how I enjoyed visiting such magical places ~ and finished off just perfectly with a teddy bear's picnic too. I have a small collection of mythical creatures, and some not mythical, gathering in a corner waiting the arrival of my own Faerie corner ~~~ thank you for this lovely break from an otherwise routine Saturday afternoon ~~~waving~~~

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    1. Deborah, I look forward to seeing your "Faerie Corner" when it is finished!

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    2. Me too! First I have to plan it ~ so many ideas! Next, find a corner! I already have some dragons, owls, ducks, rabbits and more. Maybe next year now?

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  2. Love LoVe LOVE this! My kind of gardens, for sure. I want to play and stay in the Enchanted Woods myself, and I haven't even checked out the links to see what else there is! Your own Woods is most alluring as well. Olivia June has such treats in store. The Teddy Bears Picnic brings back happy memories; thanks for sharing. <3

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed "playing" in the children's gardens! One of my favorite stories is the Secret Garden. I don't think we're ever too old to enjoy a garden meant for children.

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  3. What a treat this was! I'd never really even heard of gardens designed specifically for children before. I know there have been features in many gardens FOR children, but not whole gardens designed specifically for little ones. This was a lovely tour and fun to see kids [past and present] playing in some of them. Your own little Benjamin Bunny was adorable and still is, I'm sure. And oh boy, is Olivia going to have fun in Grandma's Fairy Garden. I bet she and Gabriel will hide lots of things there. PS - Cathy, if you haven't already seen it, "Yankee" magazine has a big article on Tasha Tudor in the Sept/Oct issue. Very interesting and I learned some surprising facts as well.

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    1. Hi Janet! I subscribed to Yankee when Susan Branch's article was to be in it and then continued it. So, yes, I've seen the article about Tasha Tudor.

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  4. Cathy, I had to come back to visit after reading your post last evening. I loved how you talked about making garden rooms at you grandmother's home. Those times spent at her place remind me of my own childhood. We used to have a vacant lot behind my childhood home. There were old stumps and trees that we made into magical places. I think those childhood memories have made us want to make magical places in our own gardens. The Secret Garden is also one of my favorite books as well as my daughters. Our love of gardening begins young. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful magical children's gardens of the duPonts! ♥

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    1. I love the imaginations of children. It's so fun to revisit those memories of our own childhood--to get in touch with that child that we still are--just buried under responsibilities and other people's expectations.

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  5. The twins would love these gardens & I think the older children too. I do love the little thatched cottage & tree cottage, they look lots of fun & I really enjoyed reading about the tree root home & your Grandparents house.
    Fondly Michelle

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    1. It would have been even more fun if the Enchanted Woods was filled with children when we were there. I suspect in the summer months it is!

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  6. Sweet Cathy, you and I both....the love of nature and the stillness found in the garden are important elements to staying young at heart and being open to the Lord's loving mercies. OH how I thank you for coming to visit me last night! Enjoy your week, Anita

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    1. Dear Anita! I'm so glad you dropped in to share in my enthusiasm of children's gardens! I shall, indeed, Take Joy in my week. Lots happening here---helping to paint our son's & daughter-in-law's new house, then helping them move in on the weekend.....seeing our little granddaughter all the while.

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  7. Enchanting post! I loved it all and how I wish I could take my grands there for a visit. And to think how your grands will grow up with regular visits to your fairy garden. Wonderful. I loved seeing the little room inside the tree. It brings back so many memories of my childhood and our play out doors, especially at my grandma's and all the little places we found to create houses or caves and make fairy gardens on pie plates. :-)

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    1. At home I would make "houses" under tables since we didn't have a garden. It was great having a grandmother's house to go to. Did yours live nearby during your childhood? We moved north when I was 11. I got to visit my other grandmother during those years. She lived on a farm, too, but it wasn't out in the country and didn't have any interesting hiding places--but she did have an attic we used to play in all the time.

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  8. No both my grandmas in their big houses (to me as a child they were big) lived a day's drive away. But we would go every summer for a week and sometimes at Christmas. And when you spend a whole week as a child you build up many memories! Yes, playing in the attic too.

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