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You'll find eight gardens within the Discovery Garden

Hummingbirds love bold bright blossoms.

We aren't completely done, but I am happy to announce that after a lot of planning and hard work the Discovery Garden at Colvill Park is open for visitors.

Over a year ago the Universal Playground Committee approached the Goodhue County Master Gardeners about helping with the design and installation of a handicap-accessible sensory garden to be located next to the new playground.

Since that time with help from many groups and volunteers and generous donations from several local businesses, the Master Gardeners have taken the committee's original idea and made it into a beautiful reality.

We designed the garden to be more than just another look-but-don't-touch public garden. Our garden was created to please all the senses and we encourage every visitor not only to look, but to stop and smell, touch and even listen to the plants.

We hope eventually to put together a brochure that you can pick up at the garden which will give you a guide on how to better experience all the different sections of the garden with your children. But until then, here are some of the highlights you don't want to miss.

@Sub heads:Outside gardens

@Normal: There are eight separate raised bed gardens that make up the whole Discovery Garden. The four large outside gardens are all planted in only two colors of blossoms and foliage including the Ladybug Garden (red and pink), the Moon Garden (white and silver), the Sun Garden (yellow and orange) and the Water Garden (blue and purple).

Artist and Master Gardener Peg Hansen will eventually create a unique mosaic sculpture for each of the outside gardens incorporating those themes.

Some ideas for sharing the color gardens with children might be asking them which color they like the best and then finding those plants that have that color.

You might also explain to your young visitor what a moon garden means. Show them how the reds, yellows and oranges shine brightly in the sunlight, but tell them that in the evening they will almost disappear and the white and silver plants will come to the forefront and shimmer brightly in the moon's glow.

While you are at the Moon Garden, encourage your child to touch the fuzzy lamb's ears growing on the edge. Ask them if they can guess the name of the plant and then go on to tell them that not only are they called lamb's ears, but the shrub in the middle is named Little Lamb Hydrangea.

Look for other plants that have animal names on the plant tags like goat's beard (Aruncus), bee balm (Monarda) and catmint (Nepeta).

@Sub heads:Inner gardens

@Normal: Next are the four smaller inside gardens, which include the Fragrance Garden, the Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden, the Cook's Garden and the Faerie Garden.

Those that know me will not be surprised that I designed the Fragrance Garden because discovering plants with a lovely scent is a passion of mine.

The Fragrance Garden is a good example of why we don't want to discourage anyone from touching our plants. Many of the fragrant plants do not have an aroma unless you actually rub the foliage, so first look for blossoms to sniff and if there aren't any pick a small leaf and rub it to see if you can find a fragrance.

I've included lemon marigolds, lemon thyme and lemon balm in the garden -- all of which have foliage with a pleasant citrus fragrance. Pick a small leaf off each and see if your child can tell what it smells like and then which he or she thinks smells the most like a real lemon.

Don't stop at just the fragrance garden when searching for wonderful aromas. There are aromatic plants hidden in all the gardens such as the very fragrant cherry pie plant (heliotrope) you will find located nearby in the Water Garden.

Agastache is another fragrant plant and it can be found in both the Fragrance and Hummingbird/Butterfly gardens.

Master Gardener Donald Mitchell is one of only a very few hummingbird banders in the country, and he grew and donated several of the unique hummingbird plants including the Agastache that can be found in our Discovery Garden.

While you are at the Hummingbird/Butterfly Garden, show your child the apricot blossoms of the Agastache and the bright red flowers of the salvias and ask them if they can describe the shape of the blossoms. After they describe the trumpet shape go on to tell them that is why hummingbirds like those plants. The trumpet shape fits their long narrow beak perfectly to that they can easily extract the nectar from the flower.

On to the Cook's Garden, which has a special surprise for children -- a peanut butter and jelly sandwich section!

Ask your child to find all the ingredients for a PBJS. including the wheat for the bread, the grapes or strawberries for the jelly and .of course, the peanuts for the peanut butter.

And the last garden may very well be your child's favorite -- the Faerie Garden.

Master Gardeners Trudi Schaefer and Peg Hansen have created the perfect setting for any garden fairy. There are miniature mansions and cottages, bubbling rocks and tiny plants and trees.

Everything a garden fairy looking for a new home could ever desire. If we can't attract a resident garden fairy -- nobody can!

So please come, look, touch, listen and smell. We hope that you will all enjoy our new Discovery Garden.

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