As the Children’s Garden at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park continues to grow, there are lots of opportunities to learn about the wonders of nature.

Attractions include the observation tower, the Cayman Islands Orchid Society wild banana orchid sculpture by Joseph Betty, the Greenlight Re grow zone, KRyS Global discovery pond, Cayman National splashpad, and the giant bird’s nest sculptures created by Tansy Maki.

Part of the nesting zone. Photographs: Stephen Clarke Photography

There is still a lot to be done to complete the Children’s Garden, including the installation of pathways, shade trees and sails, among other finishing details.

Plans also include the development of a great lawn as well as butterfly and recycling gardens.

The Garden Club of Grand Cayman has already raised $30,000 for a maze and sensory garden and continues to boost funds for the Botanic Park through its annual family fun day at the North Side attraction.

“The Children’s Garden is well on its way to becoming a permanent fixture on our community’s landscape,” says Botanic Park General Manager John Lawrus. “We, along with our sponsors, are so pleased to bring such an amazing garden to life.”

The Cayman Islands Orchid Society banana sculpture bench by Joseph Betty.

Approximately $400,000 is needed for the final phase of the Children’s Garden and anyone wishing to donate, either private individuals or corporate sponsors, should contact Lawrus on 947-9462 or [email protected] .

Banana sculpture

The Cayman Islands Orchid Society banana sculpture bench created by artist Joseph Betty provides an opportunity for children to see the national flower of the Cayman Islands, the banana orchid, in giant form. It’s a place to sit and relax and, with true-to-life detail, aims to show how an epiphytic orchid grows.

The Cayman National splashpad

The Cayman National splashpad.

Strategically placed at the furthest part of the Children’s Garden, this simple water feature will cool children and parents alike as they enjoy one of the most popular parts of the attraction.

Greenlight Re grow zone

The Greenlight Re grow zone is a place for children to get their hands dirty while learning about all the different aspects of growing vegetables in raised containers. With an increase in backyard farming, it helps children to understand where many common food crops come from, discuss the botany of plants and the role of insects and pests, plus how to successfully harvest plants on a year-round basis.

The Greenlight Re grow zone.

The nesting zone

Giant bird’s nest by Tansy Maki.

These giant bird’s nest sculptures created by artist Tansy Maki provide a passive lesson in recycling, as birds are one of the world’s best recyclers. As the Children’s Garden develops, the aim is to create an intimate space for book readings, presentations or, for children who are introverted, just a simple place sit and read.

Observation tower

This allows for not only a place for children and the young-at-heart to play and exercise, but is also a viewing platform. Each level will provide different themes such as ‘play’, ‘relax’, ‘explore’ and ‘contemplate’. The two towers are joined by two swing bridges, which encourage the development of fine motor skills such as balance and coordination. Both towers will feature shaded play areas and the small tower will oversee a maze.

The KRyS Global discovery pond

As with all gardens, the introduction of different ecosystems like the pond will attract wildlife to enhance the entire area. As it matures, various water plants will be introduced to allow for the education of these ecosystems and as a place for children to contemplate and be soothed by the sound of the waterfall and the surrounding landscape.

The KRyS Global discovery pond.

 

Originally published in InsideOut magazine issue Spring/Summer 2021.

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