Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, in Boothbay, admirably is trying to attract kids, or at least provide some diversion when parents (or grandparents - there were an awfully lot of older folks when we visited last week) undertake a family outing. There are a couple of kids' gardens, an educational tent, and a designated place in the woods for building fairy houses. There were even a couple of children in that area bounded by quaint twig fences, moms watching from a bench, but they appeared to be more interested in dragging sticks around from place to place or throwing them at each other than actually building anything. Hence, perhaps, the rather flattened appearance of some of the establishments.
The more ambitious dwellings lived outside the fences and away from the path a bit. Clearly, big kids or kids-for-the-moment had laid hands here. There was a certain cabana-like aspect to many of the houses, as if they'd really rather be in Hawaii. Or maybe I under-estimate the sophistication of kids these days. Certainly, no kid over five believes in fairies anymore; so here's to other fantasies.
While the collections of indigenous Maine flowers at the Garden were beautiful and nicely laid out, with a meditation area and a gazebo for rest and contemplation, there was a minor lack of spontaneity, perhaps by design. A couple of hundred yards of the trail winding through the property was labelled the Maine Woods trail and at least there the underbrush hadn't been cleared away. But I doubt too many children take that trail, and the shore of the Back River of the Sheepscot is chicken-wired off to prevent mishap. Just plain playing in the woods doesn't really fit here, or most places actually.