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.