If like me you follow the American Horticultural Society on Facebook, you’ve seen lots of posts this week about their National Children and Youth Garden Symposium that’s finishing up today in Richmond, Va. Those posts bring up memories of my trip to their 2018 conference at Cornell (reported on here) and my trip to Richmond last year (reported on here).

On the topic of youth or school gardens, which the AHS conference covers thoroughly, I’m sure, I know just about nothing. I just observe and approve from a distance. But I know just enough to be thrilled to visit the Washington Youth Garden last week and notice the progress it’s made over the years I’ve been visiting it there at the National Arboretum. 

I see by their website that the garden just turned 50, so congratulations are in order! Here’s the WYG story.

Doesn’t it look welcoming? That’s a theme here – the garden’s many kid- and adult-friendly features.Pollinator-attracting plants are here and there. Notice the beehives in the distance? I imagine story-telling and teaching going on here. More ways for humans to gather in this wonderful space. I’d never seen (or maybe noticed?) this building before – with a full kitchen, dining area and public restrooms, too. I love that this unused spot has become an inviting place to socialize or just sit in the shade while enjoying the view.

To see the garden full of kids and hear the adults describe what goes on there, I watched this video. I especially enjoyed seeing former director Kaifa Anderson-Hall and the expression on a boy’s face after he tried his first turnip.

I can’t resist also sharing this shot of the Arboretum’s Administration Building with its finally-restored pool and water lilies. The pool used to be a big hit with children visiting because they could feed the koi there. Unfortunately, uncontrolled feeding of koi by humans leads to overeating and overpooping by the koi, which impacts the water quality in ways we can only imagine.

I’m one of many visitors who love this example of Modernist architecture.  With or without koi food.