Can you remember when you were a child how magical and entertaining a garden could be? I’m sure if you went back to visit the garden you’re thinking of then it would have shrunk in size since you were last there thirty odd years ago!
I remember a garden of a school friend who lived round the corner from me. My memories of it are as a vast garden with so many parts to it – lawns, overgrown areas, paths through the plants that grew so tall above our heads, places we could hide (and think we couldn’t be found!) but best of all it had a stream with stepping stones! To me this was and probably still is the pinnacle of any garden in which you would want an adventure.
I truly believe that children sometimes just want to be children! No computers, games consoles or television. Just to play. To transport themselves into whatever world takes their fancy – fairy lands, jungles, treehouses, dens or even as my girls have done this holiday they turned the garden into their office! Hours can be spent in their imaginary worlds all based in a garden.
I have been thinking about the places where my girls have had their best ‘garden games’ and I have come up with my list. Obviously there are an infinite number of places but these are my favourites!
1. Roundhay Park, Leeds.
In the Canal Gardens there some stepping stones over water right around the back of the ‘canal’. There is a summer house type shelter and a perfect tree to pretend you are riding a horse!
In the main park the three bandstands can provide cover for an imaginary game on a wet day or a walk up to the old folly.
2. York Gate Gardens, Adel, Leeds
This one acre garden looked after by Perennial, The Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society is truly magical. It has streams, numerous paths some half hidden in the dell, pergolas and benches dotted around. Each year they put on a lovely Easter egg hunt for the children which is just perfect as it feels unspoilt by the commercialism that you can find at such events.
I have lost track of the number of afternoons we have spent here just letting the children indulge themselves in imagination games (whilst we indulge in a take away coffee from ‘Betty’s Tearooms‘ which we can take into the gardens with us!)
4. Newby Hall and Gardens, near Ripon, North Yorkshire
There is so much to do at Newby Hall ranging from the huge adventure playground areas, my lifelong favourite miniature railway, water fountains to play in, a great picnic area to the fabulous gardens. There is a really magical part of the gardens where numerous paths crisscross and there are ponds and water features. As a child I truly believed that this was where fairies lived!
When you’re stuck for ideas of where to go remember that your children will be perfectly entertained exploring and playing in a garden.