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Garden Delights

Follow these ideas for a garden visit with your family and you’ll celebrate spring among flowering trees, feathered friends and buzzing honeybees.

A little girl sweetly stands among the cherry blossoms at Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill.

A little girl sweetly stands among the cherry blossoms at Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill.

Get cheery with cherry blossoms.

More Cherry Blossoms
Check out the The Greater Philadelphia Gardens free Guide to Cherry Trees, which tells where you can find more than 50 types in the area. More than 2,500 cherry trees are expected to bloom at 17 sites this season!

April is prime season for cherry blossoms. You can spot them at Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood. A popular symbol of Japan, cherry blossoms serve as the pretty backdrop for traditional Japanese culture demonstrations, shows and garden tours on Saturdays, April 14 and 21.

The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia’s month-long Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival culminates with a Sakura Sunday party in Fairmount Park on April 15. A must-see attraction any day is Shofuso, a 16th century-style Japanese hideaway nestled in West Fairmount Park. Shofuso often hosts traditional tea demonstrations in a house that overlooks a peaceful garden and pond.

Totally Terrific Treehouse at Tyler

Go high into the treetops.

The sculpture-like Totally Terrific Treehouses, back at Tyler Arboretum in Media, PA starting April 14, take eager tree climbers to new heights and encourage imaginative play inside each of the open structures.

No climbing is required to experience Morris Arboretum’s Out on a Limb canopy that takes you 50 feet up into the sky. For added fun, pick up the Tree Adventure Passport, with tree-themed challenges that take you “Out on a Limb” and through the gardens.

World-renowned Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA celebrates Arbor Day for two days, Fri.-Sat., April 27-28. Go on tree tours, learn about the life of an arborist and arrive early to receive a free tree seedling (limited to the first 400 guests each day).

Visitors get up-close with bees at The Delaware Center for Horticulture.

Talk about the birds and the bees.

How birds fly and how bees navigate hives make great topics of conversation as you stroll gardens. (What did you think we meant?)

Kids can see birds that flock to bird baths and play in a giant “nest” in the “Secret Garden” at Awbury Arboretum in the Germantown-Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. Explore birds’ flight in depth during a family program best for ages 5-13 at Bartram’s Garden, also in Philadelphia, on April 5.

Preparing for Your Visit
Bring water, a hat, sunscreen, a notebook with colored pencils or crayons, a camera, binoculars, a magnifying glass — and your imagination — for your garden adventure, suggests The DCH education coordinator Emily Smith.

A new Green Room at Bartram's Garden houses many of these items you can borrow, plus seasonal hands-on activities.

Don't forget to discuss garden etiquette with your children. A free booklet available at Chanticleer in Wayne, PA gently reminds kids in an illustrated storybook style not to pick flowers or climb on rocks.

At The Delaware Center for Horticulture in Wilmington, DE, you can watch working bees in hives that produce 200 pounds of honey annually. The DCH beekeeper, Jacque Williamson, notes that nectar flow begins in early April, so it’s prime time for bee observation, with the peak of activity usually in early afternoon.

Explore the outdoors through stories.

Bring little ones for storytimes and other age-appropriate activities that connect to nature topics, Monday and Tuesday mornings at Longwood Gardens; Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons at Welkinweir in Pottstown, PA; and the first Wednesday of the month at Winterthur, near Wilmington, DE. Bartram’s Garden and Tyler Arboretum also offer nature programs for preschoolers this spring.

Stephanie Halinski is calendar editor of MetroKids.

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