While children under 12 are not admitted to the VNA’s Hartshorne Mansion, at the adorable Beatrix Potter house and gardens, visitors will admire the environmental message portrayed here. It’s a walk into Mr. McGregor’s garden says designer Leigh Sorensen. She created a child’s gardens with its pint-sized tools, four raised garden plots and, of course, Peter Rabbit. The gardens are growing different kinds of lettuce, eggplant, chard, cabbage, cherry tomatoes and every imaginable kind of herb~ all cleverly labeled with clothes pins. A border of marigolds protects the gardens from bugs. A nearly invisible high wire fence with espaliered apple trees and red drift roses wards off the deer. Images of the trees are beautifully painted on the exterior of the little garden house to continue the visual effect. The art work throughout is painted by local artist Sarah Hilton. The roof is adorned with vertical wall boxes of daisies, phlox and vines.
Inside the whimsical little potting shed, furnished by Pottery Barn Kids, a row of wellies from toddler’s to teen’s are lined up at the entrance, while a child’s lemonade stand invites the visitor in for a cool drink. Child-sized tools and painted garden scenes adorn the walls and a hand-painted floor cloth by Hilton portrays farm scenes.
In the slide show, take a visual tour of the Beatrix Potter house and gardens. Imagine watching your child or grandchild digging in the dirt of his or her little plot, planting the seeds, watching the plants emerge and grow and finally feasting on the rewards of their farming. This is the message that First Lady Michele Obama has been sending to all our children to help fight child obesity ~ to appreciate what we eat, how it grows and the environment in which we live ~ all to live more healthy and nourishing lives. Planting the White House garden is a project Mrs.Obama has championed as a model for children and their parents to emulate as a way to reduce childhood obesity and to encourage schools to make exceptional improvements to their school lunches through the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Any visitors to the Beatrix Potter house and gardens will be inspired to encourage their children to start planting an edible garden that they can proudly bring to the family table. It’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon this Memorial Day Weekend.
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