The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has embarked on its most ambitious design project in recent years, with the creation of a giant new Children’s Garden due to open to the public on 18 May 2019. Covering 10,000m², it has been designed by Kew garden designers around the elements that plants need to grow: earth, air, sun and water. Children will be able to play and explore as they wind their way through a landscape filled with over 100 mature trees. They will discover hidden treasures and adventure, and develop their love of nature, plants and the outdoors along the way.
Children will enter the garden through a tunnel of scented Star jasmine plants. Then they will arrive first at a 200-year-old English Oak tree, surrounded by an aerial walkway 4m above the ground. The first element to explore is the Earth Garden. A giant sand pit with a quirky play hut village surrounded by bamboo plants, tunnel slides and a totem pole with unique carvings.
Next along the trail is the Air Garden. With winding paths, giant windmill flowers, colourful pollen spheres, hammocks, swings and trampolines. Also a mini amphitheatre nestled under shade of some of Kew’s largest Eucalyptus trees.
The Sun Garden is next. A large open space where children can let their imagination run wild beside a ring of sunflowers, cherry trees and pink candy floss grass. Intricate pergolas festooned with colourful climbing plants and apple trees trained along a tunnel of hoops will take children on a sensory adventure.
Lastly, the Water Garden, (sponsored by Thames Water). Filled with water pumps for kids to control the flow of the water into a splash pool. Waterlily shaped stepping stones will encourage children to hop along the different streams and engage them in the importance of the water cycle to plants.
For those slightly older and more adventurous kids, a giant log scramble sits among the pine trees, waiting to be climbed. The challenge is to get across to the leaning tower without touching the ground!
Work on the 10,000m² site, which is close to the existing White Peaks family café, began in October 2017. Inspired by the desire to encourage kids to develop a lasting relationship with and love for plants and nature. The site already had 62 mature trees in place, including Eucalyptus and Turkey Oaks, and a further 40 mature trees were added to this space, including Gingko and Pines.
To get the creative juices flowing Kew has teamed up with National Geographic Kids magazine for a poetry competition. The poems, must be inspired by a garden. They will be judged by Young People’s Laureate for London winner Momtaza Mehri.
Be sure to check out the National Geographic Kids website here for more information.
Funding for this project has come from private donations and corporate sponsor Thames Water. Fundraising is continuing to complete the project.