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Children's Garden to Open at CTAHR's Urban Garden Center

Grand opening event features fun-filled activities for the entire family!

University of Hawaiʻi
Arlene Abiang, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs & University Relations
Miles Hakoda, (808) 956-3093
Posted: Aug 12, 2004

HONOLULU — After a five-year labor of love and dedication, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) joins a team of staff and volunteers at the college‘s Urban Garden Center (UGC) in Pearl City in presenting the grand opening of their Children‘s Garden on Saturday, August 28, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children and adults are invited to join in the fun-filled activities including garden tours, hands-on crafts, learning activities, entertainment, door prize giveaways, a mini sale of produce and plants, and more! Admission is free and parking will be available on site.

The 55,000-square-foot Children‘s Garden consists of eight theme gardens which were designed to showcase various plant displays that are educational for children and adults alike. These gardens include a Pizza Garden, Animal Garden, Hawaiian Alphabet Tree Garden, Sundial Garden, Sensory Garden, House Garden, Butterfly Garden and a Boardwalk Garden. Garden art can be found throughout the gardens, enhancing the feel of creativity and imagination.

Construction of the UGC Children‘s Garden originated in 1999 based on the ideas of Dale Sato, UGC manager. About 200 UGC and community volunteers and more than $16,500 in grants have contributed to making the Children‘s Garden project possible.

"More than 1,500 children tour the Urban Garden Center‘s vegetable garden, herb garden, ground cover collection and fruit orchard each year," said Steven Nagano, UGC project manager for the Children‘s Garden. "Now they have a set of gardens built especially for them."

The grand opening of the Children‘s Garden will feature:
· Eight theme gardens— An activity book will allow children to participate in activities at each garden and learn about the variety of plant displays
· Fish Pond — Children will be able to catch live aquarium fish and take them home
· Keiki Craft Tent — Children will be able to make fun garden crafts
· Hedge Maze — Serving as an entertaining and practical display, children and adults can test their skills or view the various samples of hedge plants
· Complimentary animal cookies and river juice (green punch)
· Tours of the Hawaiian Ecosystem by UGC Master Gardeners — View a collection of Hawaiian, Polynesian and non-native plants grouped in three plant communities
· Master Gardener Program — Master Gardeners will explain the program to those interested in learning the technical and practical side of urban gardening and provide answers and advice to home gardeners.
· Live music entertainment by local group "Us Guys"
· And more!

Banners and pennants will be at the entrance of the Urban Garden Center at 955 Kamehameha Highway to herald the site of the grand opening. This new entrance to the Center is approached from the Diamond Head side of the Home Depot/Public Storage parking lot in Pearl City. For more information, call 808-453-6050.

The Urban Garden Center officially opened to the public in June 1994. It serves as a major community outreach site for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Since its opening, the Center has offered hands-on educational programs to clientele ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens and from home gardeners to agribusiness professionals. The primary resource of the Center is a 30-acre display of a wide range of tropical and native Hawaiian plants, food crops, landscape and medicinal plants, and an educational resource library.

Theme Garden Descriptions:
· Pizza Garden — The Pizza Garden is the first of the gardens to be completed and features plants found on a pizza. The five-slice pizza (one piece was eaten) measures 15-feet across and includes green pepper, sweet pepper, pineapple, onion, tomato, parsley, basil and sweet marjoram. Swan daisies were planted for their brilliant yellow flowers to represent cheese. Recycled concrete stepping stones are painted red to represent pepperoni.

· Animal Garden — What do an octopus tree, leopard tree and cat‘s whisker plant have in common? They represent a collection of groundcover, plants and trees with animal names! The Animal Garden includes 45 plants with this distinctive trait and includes a wild animal section, bird section, ocean section, dragon section, insect section and farm section. Watching over the garden is Nellie, an iron frame and steel mesh 8-foot tall giraffe, covered by creeping fig plant. At its base is a kangaroo fern.

· Hawaiian Alphabet Tree Garden — Native Hawaiian trees accent the 13 consonants, vowels and okina found in the Hawaiian language. For every letter, a selection of native trees is represented, including alaheʻe, hame, kawila, koa lonomea, naio, ʻōhiʻa, papala, wiliwili and ʻaʻaliʻi.

· Sundial Garden — Showcasing a contrast of uniformity and perfection, the garden is a nearly perfect circle 20-feet in diameter with a border of gray arbor stones that surrounds the two sizes of hardscape material of gravel and pea gravel. The garden has an 8-foot long shiny black wood and fiberglass resin "gnomon" marking solar time. Skillfully handcrafted roman numerals are recessed into concrete blocks to record the sun‘s travel during the day along points around the sundial. The border is accented with four points (NSEW) as well as mauka, makai, Diamond Head and Ewa. In the future, instruments that use the Global Positioning System (GPS) will reference the Sundial Garden location in relation to schools and geographical sites on Oʻahu. Distinctive crowns of thorns adds shape and color to the garden.

· Sensory Garden — The Sensory Garden includes plants with smell, texture, unique shape and color features. It is the first garden to feature a concrete sidewalk and galvanized pipe railing to assist physically challenged persons. In the future, identification and braille signs will be mounted.

· House Garden — A bathroom featuring a toilet with a royal flush plant, a kitchen with a cup and saucer plant and a garage with sandpaper vine can all be found in the House Garden. The garden focuses on plants with household names. It is divided into five different rooms of plants including a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room and garage, with each having its own distinct menagerie of plants and garden artwork. The outside walls are red hibiscus and the interior walls are golden dew drop. Visitors enter through a gate and walk through a "hallway" where all rooms can be seen from the path. A fairy tale house was recently added to complete the look and feel of the garden.

· Butterfly Garden — The garden features a 50-foot long curving tunnel which kids can enter from one end and imagine themselves inside a caterpillar. A concrete sidewalk was constructed inside the tunnel to provide a low maintenance footpath. Creeping fig was used to cover the caterpillar. A convex mirror is placed at the end of the worm so as kids emerge, they see themselves with air holes on the sides, eyes and antennae. Plants, such as the butterfly bush and butterfly weed, were planted to draw butterflies to the garden.

· Boardwalk Garden — The garden features a 180-foot boardwalk constructed to give participants the feel of actually entering and experiencing a bog. Water plants are featured in 12 tubs that line the path. Intriguing trees, ground shrubs and groundcovers gives the viewers a feel for an interesting experience.

NOTES TO MEDIA:Please call 956-5637 to arrange a tour of the Children‘s Garden prior to the grand opening on August 28, 2004; Digital photos of select gardens are also available upon request.