Birthday cake for the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens.


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Birthday cake for the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens.

The Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens turned 30 this summer. In celebration, a 30th anniversary garden party was held on August 4 jointly with the MSU Horticulture Gardens. About 110 people attended.

“We were so grateful for the turnout we had as we celebrated our pearl year,” said Jessica Wright, education coordinator for the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens. “It was so wonderful to gather with the community to mark the anniversary of our beautiful gardens.”

At the event, a new scholarship opportunity, the Judith DeLapa and Jane Taylor Scholarship, was announced. Named after a passionate donor to the gardens (DeLapa) and the garden’s founding curator (Taylor), the scholarship will provide resources for a student intern to work in the 4-H Children’s Gardens in summer 2024. Hired by the garden’s curator, the intern will have the unique opportunity to learn horticulture skills in a hands-on, living laboratory and engage with horticultural experts while interacting with the public.

“This new scholarship will not only provide students with an amazing opportunity to learn from leading experts, but it will provide crucial support to the work that we do in the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens,” said Wright.

In addition to the August 4 event, the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens held a separate youth-centric 30th birthday party on August 11. Sixty-five people attended the party, which was part of the gardens’ summer learning series for young people. At the event, attendees enjoyed a birthday cake and opened and reburied the garden’s time capsule. Originally buried in 1993 and then reopened every five years, the capsule contains seeds that are planted after each opening to test their ability to germinate after lying dormant.

During the party, attendees were asked to share their favorite feature of the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens and their favorite garden plant. Their top two feature picks were the pond and the pizza garden, while their favorite plants were the pineapple and popcorn plants.

“Our birthday party was an exciting way to celebrate our 30th anniversary in a way that honored the true spirit of the Children’s Garden,” said Wright. “We had cake, games and other activities and it was just a really fun day.”

In preparation for the celebrations, earlier this year the pond liner was replaced and the Monet bridge was repainted. A drinking fountain was also installed near the outdoor restrooms and the Creation Station was updated and repainted. Other features added in 2023 include the MAC (Michigan Agriculture Crops) Garden and a mural in the African American Garden.

The Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens and its programs are made possible by private donations to the Michigan 4-H Foundation.