Today we went out to the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and everyone, even the adults, had a wonderful time. And the weather was really good too - you never know with Melbourne at the best of times, but in the middle of spring the weather’s even more unpredictable!
The boys and I met up with their Grandparents to have a picnic at the Children’s Garden. Grandma June had suggested we meet at the gardens and I suggested we meet at the Children’s Garden as it is enclosed, only one gate in and out, and is designed specifically for children to explore and enjoy.
I’d packed a variety of snacks and yummy treats (I was in a bit of a rush so I hadn’t worried about the sandwiches, besides Grandma June always gets fresh rolls and something - but today she didn’t!!) However, the Observatory Cafe is just a stones throw away from the Children’s Garden, so we picked up some lunch there. Very yummy, scrummy and interesting food to tantalise your tastebuds with nothing as plain or simple as a meat pie or buckets of chips! There were bagettes, fancy quiches, pasta etc, but I’d gone there looking for something simple that three young boys would enjoy (my boys love sandwiches filled with nuttella [nuttino in our case] or jam or honey) fortunately they had giant sausage rolls (the gourmet variety of course!) so I got a couple of those. The food was very yummy, but it kinda burnt a large hole in my wallet, so next time we’ll bring all our picnic supplies! If you don’t want to spend a fortune on delectable and yummy food, byo picnic.
Food aside, we picniced inside the Children’s Garden on one of the artistic wooden bench seats around the entrance. I don’t know about you, but I find after sitting on bench seats for a while I get that “numb bum” accompanied by “pins & needle” feeling. However, these bench seats are actually very comfortable and I was able to sit for a while without either of those feelings. There is only a small grassy area within the Children’s Garden and on the brochure it says, ‘picnic rugs take up valuable children’s space. We suggest that you enjoy your picnic in one of the many beautiful lawn areas elsewhere in the Royal Botanic Gardens. Ask a staff member or volunteer for suggestions.’ Or you can eat your lunch on one of the benches inside the Children’s Garden like we did.
It was a beautiful day and once we’d sat ourselves down to eat, Brydon (the oldest) grabbed a handful of chips and disappeared. He wanted to go back to the Rainforest Ruin Garden & the Ancient Tree and do some real exploring. We only saw him when he came back for more food! It was great - I am one of those mums who likes to know where her kids are - but being in these gardens designed for kids where there is only one way in or out (and I could see the gate, which is childproof) so I was happy for Brydon to wander around the gardens by himself and explore. Later he went off with his Grandparents and Kael as they too explored the gardens. Grandad was very impressed and was wondering how he could do something like this in his own backyard. I think the part of the garden he liked the most was the Bamboo Forest. He came back looking for Grandma June who’d managed to lose him and both her grandsons amongst the Flaxy Tunnel where they were playing hide and seek. Anyway Grandad said, “I want to show you the bamboo. It’s real great! It’s taller than me!”
Kael and Xavier loved the pebbles in the Labyrinth Gardens as well as meandering through the lavender labyrinth. And Kael also enjoyed donging the metal Magic Pudding statue with a small rock he had found - it made a very nice sound, however, I thought that was not really such a good idea, so he settled for just showering the statue with pebbles instead! (and he was not the only child who had oodles of fun doing just that!) And I have realised that I don’t remember actually ever reading ‘The Magic Pudding’ by Norman Lindsay, I remember some pictures out of it, but not the story. So when we next go to the library I’m going to borrow it out so we can have a read. Perhaps I’ll even do a review!
Just make sure if you decide to give the Children’s Garden a visit that you check the times on the website - we were almost caught out, if we’d wanted to go a week earlier the Children’s Garden would have still been closed to visitors!
For more information on the Children’s Garden and the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and what’s on in the gardens, check out www.rbg.vic.gov.au
Here is a poem I wrote inspired by our visit to the Children’s Garden.