Since its establishment in the 1990s the Carolina Children’s Garden at Sandhill has collaborated with community partners to bring imaginative educational endeavors to families. The spring of 2012 is no exception. During the month of March, the Carolina Children’s Garden branched out with several new ventures.
Working with Carolina Science Outreach, an organization of USC undergraduate students popularizing science for South Carolinians, Carolina Children’s Garden hosted a St. Patrick’s Day public program on Carnivorous Plants. Kali Esancy, USC junior, presented the weird and wonderful world of sundew, Venus flytrap, pitcher plants, butterworts, bladderworts, and more. Woodley’s Garden Center, a longtime partner of the children’s garden, provided the plants.
Children looked down the tubular throats of the pitcher plants to view a hairy horror chamber of insect soup. When an insect touches the “trigger hairs” inside the toothed leaves, the trap snaps shut tightly forming a stomach pouch around the prey and secreting digestive juices.
Close encounters with carnivorous plants, their habits and habitat, can foster a desire to preserve wild species amid the daily destruction of habitat. Starting a bog garden in your yard to replicate the plant’s natural habitat is a way to enjoy these bizarre botanicals. Woodley’s Garden Center has instructions and plants.
The triumvirate of the Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia Green, and Carolina Children’s Garden teamed up for Family Fun Day: Landscapes Great and Small on Saturday, March 24 at the museum. The Carolina Children’s Garden presented a slide show of its 12 theme gardens, while in an adjacent room, children created living moveable landscapes.
The idea for the portable landscape container gardens came from Amelia Cotty, master gardener, former kindergarten teacher, and president of Friends of the Children’s Garden. Since children and their parents would be viewing the museum’s magnificent landscape painting exhibit entitled Nature and the Grand American Vision: Masterpieces of the Hudson River School Painters, making a moveable landscape linked the exhibit to the child’s notion of a landscape and to live plants.
First children drew and colored a landscape scene onto paper. Then each child received a clear cup in which to layer pebbles and soil. The landscape drawing was then tucked around the inner wall of the cup before sedum was planted in the soil. Cuttings of easy to root herbs like mint and rosemary added scent to the landscape. After misting with a spray bottle, the landscapes were ready to roam on home.
Carolina Children’s Garden’s website is www.carolinachildrensgarden.org/.