Gardens for children--ideas?
I have two main areas of gardens: grown-up spaces and children's spaces. While largely distinct, I want the children's spaces to have sophistication and the grown-up spaces to have a hint of, dare I say it, whimsy.
The overall garden space is about 125' long and 125' at the broad end narrowing to a petite 60'--a large wedge. The entire yard but the very front is high shade, and my garden "rooms" are defined by the trees. (Sorry--my pencil sketches aren's scannable.) Of this, a 100'x40' section is the children's garden, along with the 50'x20' stretch in front. The main section going to be divided by peninsulas of shrubs, which will mostly interrupt sight lines, into three distinct parts. The first will be a "fairy garden," the second a water play garden, and the third the train garden (with a playhouse tucked into the shrub boarder with a double entrance--one from our garden and another from the neighbor's side--YES, this isn't allowed by zoning, but no one else can see it, and the neighbors think it's great as a shared playhouse for the kids).
The extreme front stretch is a "secret garden," which will be accessible only through two carefully spaced arborvitae. It will be a grassy place to spread out a blanket for picnics, bordered on one side by evergreens and on the other (outside the dimensions listed) by a tall front screen of sun-loving, flowering shrubs. (Mainly flowering, and largely deciduous.) In the summer, it will be entirely hidden from the road.
I want to include the few shade plants that attract butterflies throughout the children's section.
Now, on to specifics....