Garden Lifestyle

My Big Backyard, The Children’s Garden at Memphis Botanic Garden

I have visited a number of children's gardens in my travels and this is one of the best.

  • My Big Backyard, the Children's Garden at Memphis Botanic Gardens appeals to kids of all ages. The life-size Candyland game/garden is in the foreground and the treehouse is off in the distance. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • At the entrance to the My Big Backyard, there are a series of garden rooms, which make up the house. Here is the breakfast nook.
  • Here is the stove in the kitchen overflowing with pots and pans of botanicals.
  • Don't you just love the sofa pillows on this green sofa? And the green shag carpet looks so soft. It looks like a nature show is on the television. 
  • Here is a green bathroom!
  • Recycle, reuse and save energy is emphasized here.
  • There are lovely mosaics in the butterfly garden and lots of places to sit throughout.
  • Here is a nice stand of native Monarda fistulosa growing alongside the water features. It has been chosen as Notable Native Herb for 2013 by the Herb Society of America.
  • Isn't this decorated bench in the kids' garden a great idea? And easy to do at home in your own garden.
  • Enchanted mushroom with secret doors.
  • Fairy house, which is built life size for wee folk to get in and out of.
  • Last, though not least... here you can see the water feature--with the rain barrels which overflow into the tributaries, which carries the water to the stream and onto the river. It is a great educational tool for showing kids our earth's water system and it is fun to play in!

I couldn’t fit all of the photos that I took at the Memphis Botanic Garden in one blog, so this is a photographic continuation of my herb-symposium post. My Big Backyard or the the kids’ garden is large and really fun–full of things for children and adults–with gorgeous plant specimens. There is no way you can see it all in an hour, especially if you play along the way (highly encouraged) so plan on spending a morning or afternoon.

If you have little ones who enjoy splashing in water, then bring along some water shoes, a change of clothes and a towel. Actually, there are some good spots to sit, so bring a picnic lunch while you are at it. There are a lot of great photo ops. There is a big yellow treehouse with a slide and a hanging bridge. Although I loved the tree house, the fairy house delighted my wee folk sensibilities. The gigantic worms were majorly cool and make great garden seats and their tunnels provide endless climbing through for small children. There is a life-size game of Candyland with tall peppermint sticks stuck inbetween many varieties of yummy mints and red-and white-striped zinnias. The colorful house and garden rooms are really clever, fun, and teach environmental lessons throughout.

My favorite feature was the water system. There is a large sitting area under a metal roof and when you hear thunder, it indicates that you should get under it. Rain comes down on the roof, making a delightful racket. The rain runs down the roof into rain gutters and the rain gutters empty into water barrels. The water barrels spill over onto the ground and trickle down into manmade tributaries. the tributaries run into a meandering stream, which widens into a stream or river and empties into a small lake, complete with a floating dock. There are great opportunities for following the water with lots of rocks to climb and tree trunks to climb over and there is a beached rowboat, which kids love to get in.

There are interactive musical instruments, which are quite fun to play, and a lovely windsong made from rebar! For climbing and jumping, there are balance beams, tree trunks and a rope spiderweb, with mulch underneath for a soft impact. I have visited a lot of children’s gardens throughout the country and this is one of my favorites.  

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