Last month I traveled down to Raleigh for a monster Tweetup at the Garden Writers Association’s annual symposium. It was wonderful to meet all of the people I regularly tweet with about gardening on Twitter. The event was hosted at the garden of Jim and Sharon Bright. I had a chance to talk to the Brights over a glass of wine, and we became fast friends. Not only are they passionate gardeners, but they’re also heavily involved with Raleigh’s Marbles Kids Museum. Their description of the children’s garden there intrigued me, so on my last morning in Raleigh, I met them at the gates at a staggering 6:45 a.m. to get a private tour. It was worth every spare minute I could have stayed in bed!
The Castaway Cove Kids’ Garden is brand new, started in April of 2009. Its goal is to inspire creativity in Raleigh’s youth, and it can’t help but succeed. The garden itself is fun and inspiring, but the museum kicks it up a notch with garden workshops on cooking, bird feeders, drawing, insects, paper making, and more, all centered on the garden. A jaw-dropping one to two thousand children visit the garden each day. While this evokes images of trampled paths and frazzled plants, the reality is much different. Veggies and flowers flourish in the beds. A rustic, colorful pergola drips with gourds. An abundant herb garden tempts with scent, and hand-painted signs both teach and inspire. I left wishing I’d had a chance to see it through my 3-year-old’s eyes. I know she would have loved it even more than I did.