The other day I was standing around outside, talking with my friend Karah. Her littlest one, a new crawler, was exploring some grass at our feet. Nearby I could hear what sounded like dozens of birds up in the trees. A breeze gently rustled the branches, sending blossom petals floating down like a soft snow.
Suddenly my daughter let out a whoop. I looked up to see her and her friend Zoe running through a field of fava beans. Their hair streamed behind them, huge smiles on their faces. The stalks of the favas were nearly as tall as they were. Suddenly Zoe fell and disappeared completely from sight; we caught our breath -- "are you ok?s" on the tips of our tongues. Suddenly Nia collapsed into giggles, sinking down out of sight, and Zoe's own giggles rose from somewhere under the green. A game was born.
And I thought, this place is magical.
Have you been? It's the UCSC Children's Garden. It is a fabulous place to play and relax all through the seasons. The garden is free; parking on campus is $6. (Taking the bus would heighten the adventure!)
In addition to getting lost in the fields of fava beans, our little ones tasted oranges fresh off the tree, climbed a blossoming fruit tree, learned all about mulch from a friendly (and patient!) farmer, followed the farm cat, spied on the chickens & tried to pick up the rooster, crawled through vine tunnels, banged on drums under the orange & avocado trees...
If you're in need of a new place to explore, this is a great place for an inspiring green hour (or two!).