Posts Tagged ‘Story Time in the Gardens’February 3, 2011
by Elvin McDonald, Friends of the Des Moines Botanical Center Executive Director
My office at the Botanical Center is in the North Wing, so my usual path from the parking lot is through the potting shed, past the Show House, into the tropical splendor of the Dome and finally to my desk.
One morning last October, I couldn’t help noticing an air of happiness surrounding the gardeners and volunteers as they worked. As I entered the Dome, past the orchid wall and rounded the corner, there was Charlie Brown in his pumpkin patch, a part of our Story Time in the Gardens theme. I like to think he waved at me. At this point several little kids entered the scene and squeals of happiness ensued. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Over a hundred years ago, a British prison warden observed that the men assigned gardening tasks, primarily growing vegetables, were happier, better adjusted than the others and, moreover, much less subject to recidivism–in other words, falling back into criminal behavior.
As recently as last year, the New York Times reported that horticultural therapy is proving to be one of the most effectual treatments in rehabilitating soldiers suffering physical and emotional traumas.
Gardens and gardening are in fact life enhancers for all of us. On the 2nd anniversary of September 11th I was touched by a young widow who said she was once again able to garden, to allow herself the happiness she felt when gardening. On the 10th anniversary of the Greensburg, KS, tornado a much older widow who lost everything—husband and home—recalled finding in the storm’s aftermath a lone cockscomb that had survived. She said, “It made me think I could too—and I have.”
All of us who work at the Botanical Center strive to make it a place where happiness grows. Visit us often this New Year—and be happy.
Linus, Charlie Brown, Sally, Snoopy and Lucy make an appearance under the Botanical Center’s Dome for the sixth installment of Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center’s Story Time in the Gardens – seasonally changing gardens inspired by popular children’s books. The gardens inspired by “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” are now on display until November 22. The design showcases a pumpkin patch and many fall blooming mums decorating the front of Charlie’s house. The fall garden was designed by Botanical Center Lead Horticulturist, Todd Monson and detailed and artistic painting done by Botanical Center Events Coordinator, Pam Kline.
Along with the gardens, the Botanical Center will be displaying many scarecrows and pumpkins designed by metro area schools. Invitations to participate were sent to schools in August asking for scarecrows and pumpkins to be entered in a contest. Winners will be announced at the end of October, with the winning school receiving gift cards to the Learning Post.
Throughout 2010, visitors to the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center will be welcomed with a new horticultural and educational experience as the gardens transform throughout the year, all inspired by popular children’s stories, including Dr. Seuss, Charlie Brown and Eric Carle books.
“Story Time in the Gardens” includes seven plant bed changes in the Dome – many bringing the stories alive with life-size props – educational activities, theme-related gift shop items, Riverwalk Café menu choices and special events, all inspired by children’s books. The theme continues into the Show House, with four unique, seasonal designs, and outside to the Herb Garden which is open May through September. Please visit the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center throughout the year to see each new garden.
The Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center is a family-friendly environment with plenty of free parking and wheel chair accessible. Admission is $5.00 adults, $4.00 for seniors, $3.00 for students, members and children under three are free. The Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center is open daily, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m