April 22, 2011

The garden was much too wet to plant trees, thanks to one of the wettest Kentucky Aprils on record. But children and their parents were still very busy learning about trees at The Arboretum's recent program T is for Tree.

Originally the plans were for each family to plant a tree in the nearly finished Kentucky Children’s Garden and also take a sapling home to plant. The participants spent much of the morning indoors at the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center listening to stories about trees, identifying tree parts and learning how to calculate a tree’s age. Then they took a walk through The Arboretum gardens to see the different trees planted there.

Arboretum Director Marcia Farris said her staff has been gardening with children for years, and they’ve always seen the desire for more learning opportunities. She said the opening of the Kentucky Children’s Garden May 14 will help facilitate more activities like T is for Tree.

For years we have gardened with children at The Arboretum and the number of children and interest have increased,” Farris said. “We’ve also seen an increase in the desire by children and their parents to have interactions with nature and gardening, and now we feel like, with the opening of the Kentucky Children’s Garden, we are fulfilling people’s need to connect with nature and to learn where their food comes from.” 

Farris said The Arboretum, which is part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, will offer many hands-on activities and special events in the children’s garden. Beginning May 14, the children’s garden will be open Thursday through Sunday and then also on Wednesday starting in June. Admission will be $3 per person or $50 for an annual household pass.

The Arboretum began in 1991 as a joint effort between UK and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. In March 2000, The Arboretum was named the “Official State Botanical Garden for the Commonwealth of Kentucky”.