Connect with Nature and Gardening

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Connect with Nature and Gardening

Categories: Blog, Newsworthy

Powell Gardens’ Nature Connects Lego(R) exhibit has done just that.  These Lego(R) garden sculptures have brought many new visitors to experience Powell Gardens and delighted our regular visitors and Friends members.  To see all the sculptures one must walk through more than half of our gardens from the Island Garden to the Heartland Harvest Garden.  Our “living museum” of plants and its accompanying fauna have delighted many: from water gardens filled with gorgeous aquatic plants like waterlilies to our edible landscape filled with delicious blackberries and other tasty treats fresh from their source.

Here garden visitors gaze over our Island Garden’s main water pool where the Lego(R) Victoria waterlily sculptures  appear to float just like their real counterparts from the Amazon.  How does nature connect?  An article in the most recent National Wildlife(R) magazine says a lot: “Getting Dirty for Good Health” by Rob Dun.  “Biologists have found that children exposed to a larger number and diversity of microbes – by regularly playing outdoors or living on a farm, for example – tend to have fewer allergies than do indoor city kids.  Without routine exposure to living things in nature, children may also develop more behavioral, intellectual and other problems.” 

This season I have sure witnessed children coming into contact with living things (YES, PLANTS are LIVING THINGS!) in the garden whether at one of our events like “dragonfly day” (depicted above — where children share an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly) or on their own trek through the gardens finding the sculptures.

I love this picture of visitors watching chef Ian’s cooking demonstration in the Heartland Harvest Garden’s barn.  The Lego(R) bee hovers overhead!  A good reminder as best stated by Douglas Tallamy, author of the very popular book “Bringing Nature Home”: “If you think you can live without wild things you should know that you could not.”  Pollinators and other beneficial insects (which far out number pests and also help to control pests) are the reason we have many of our delicious fruits.  The plight of our pollinators is getting considerable press lately and most people are aware of how important these creatures are to us.

The fox and the rabbit on the Pear Promenade are one of the most popular of the Lego(R) sculptures with children.  A great reminder about the balance of nature and how wildlife play a role in our gardens.

The garden worker sculpture adds some color and drama to the Menu Garden part of the Heartland Harvest Garden.  It portrays the physical act of gardening as a great workout for our health and well-being.  We all know the health results of an active lifestyle and the benefits of growing our own plants both edible and ornamental to both our nutritional and mental well-being. John Muir’s classic words capture this mindset: “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

Just how does a rose make you feel?  Or any flower for that matter.  The rose is not only a symbol of love it is the official national flower of the United States!

From tiny acorns mighty oaks grow!  I’m so glad we could display that Lego(R) sculpture beneath a fine example of Swamp White Oak along our Dogwood Walk.  To learn the importance of oak trees in our lives read the book “Oak, the Frame of Civilization.”    Oak is the official tree of the United States of America.  If you were to plant any tree I would recommend a type of oak first as it not only was the dominant native tree to our region it also supports the greatest diversity of life providing more free ecosystem services than any other plant.  This includes cooling shade, fresh oxygen to breath, a wealth of beneficial insects, and more bird life than any other group of trees.  This fact inspired my  program on oak trees titled “Oaks, Our Frame of Biodiversity.”

The Nature Connects exhibit will be on display for one more month through the end of September.  Here the giant Hummingbird Lego(R) sculpture captures the essence of that marvelous creature which you can see for real in the adjacent hummingbird garden.  Hummingbirds are all fledged and starting their southward migration so are currently quite common in the garden and regularly visiting the hummingbird feeders outside Café Thyme.  So one more month to come see these amazing sculptures at Powell Gardens and connect yourself with nature.