What it is: When we arrived and pulled into the parking lot at the Duke Gardens, instead of heading in through the main entrance, we headed off on a pathway through the back of the parking lot. We headed straight on through the Japanese Gardens and before long we arrived at the new Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden. This garden, unlike the rest of the Duke Gardens is devoted to edible gardening. The garden is filled with organic vegetable beds, an orchard, fruit vines, a rain garden and more.
When the boys and I walked in, the first thing that caught their eyes were vegetable beds filled with squash, pumpkins, and other delicious looking gourds. They loved watching the insects flitting around the squash blossoms. Then, we moved on to investigating some beautiful peppers and lots of other beautiful vegetables. The kids loved walking from bed to bed and continually asking, "what's that?" (Fortunately, each plant was labeled so I could actually answer.)
One of their favorite parts of the garden was definitely the chicken coop . They sat and watched the chickens inside and outside of their coop pecking and clucking and just generally doing what chickens do. We could even peer inside to see where they lay their eggs.
The intent of the new gardens is to give kids and adults a safe place to "discover the joys of gardening". They will host programming both for adults and kids in the garden that we can't wait to check out. The first exciting programming opportunity is definitely their Grand Opening this weekend-September 8 from noon-3pm on both Saturday and Sunday. They will have lots of great activities including listening to gardening stories, sampling garden produce, creating vegetable prints or seed bombs, and much more! I'm hoping that my family will be able to head over and check it out!
What we liked: We loved the new focus on edible gardening at the Duke Gardens. I think it's a wonderful idea to teach children about where their food comes from and how it grows. In addition, the Discovery Garden is still in the middle of the fabulous Duke Gardens. So, when the kids are done with their stop there they can enjoy the rest of the gardens.
We found a fabulous loop of the garden on our last trip. We started off heading out of the back of the parking lot and headed straight to the Discovery Garden. From there we wandered through the bamboo forest of the Japanese Garden. Next, we wound our way up the sidewalk to the duck and heron pond. From there we headed by the fish pond at the bottom of the flower terraced area to the big field where the kids could run as far as their hearts desired and then hide under the huge magnolia trees. To finish, we wandered through the terraced garden and under the wisteria gazebo, down the path to the fountain, and out the main entrance. That was our loop, and we didn't even see nearly all that there is to see. What are your favorite spots in the garden?
What we would change: I'm really looking forward to some of the programming for the kids at the new discovery garden because once my kids saw all those edible vegetables the boys were ready to get in there, interact, and get to gardening! While we couldn't do it at that point, we will definitely be back to explore in more depth and get our hands dirty!
Website and other important information:
Address: The gardens are located at 420 Anderson St. The Discovery Garden is located straight down the path from the back of the main parking lot. (At the grand opening there will be greeters to guide you.)
Grand Opening Hours: September 8 and 9, noon-3pm
(A view of the entrance of the gardens)