I love re-visiting favourite routes with friends and family, so yesterday I led a bunch of kinfolk down paths through the Central Experimental Farm. Here’s where we went.
We started at the western end of the farm where my sister lives.
My sister discovered this swap box a few days ago while biking to work. She knew I’d be interested as we have our own homemade one in front of our house. Turns out both share the same inspiration – the fabulous artist Elmaks, who used to mount his own wonderful boxes throughout the city. The folks who made this one did so in honour of him. You can read all about it here.
We approached the box all prepared. We swapped a mini skate boarder figurine, little rubber duck and party horn, for a dog poop bag (empty of course), a sketch book with mini pen, and a marble dispenser. That’s my talented young artist nephew on the left who is studying in Montreal. That’s my very talented architect sister on the right who works in Ottawa. And that’s my extremely fantastic but a little bit shy daughter in the middle.
Next stop was the Canadian Organic Growers Demonstration Garden which my brother-in-law told us to look out for. It sits on the edge of the Ornamental Gardens, and consists of a wonderful display of various types of beds, including a rockery, perrenial bed, herb bed, fruit bed and fragrance bed. There’s even a bed of plants attractive to bees and butterflies, and all organically grown. They’ve got free pamphlets available from a dispenser at the entrance to the garden that tell you all about it.
Next we headed down Morningside Lane. In various locations along the edge of the larger farm plots are maps such as this one just off Morningside Lane explaining what’s been planted in the surrounding fields.
After crossing Prince of Wales Drive we headed over to the Fletcher Field Wildlife Garden.
A narrow path with interpretive signs meanders through this intimate natural garden, so intimate and sensitive that I recommend walking versus riding along it. It’s a short path and well worth the stroll.
And finally, the Arboretum, my favorite part of the Experimental Farm. Wonderful wide trails meander past all sorts of trees, familiar and exotic. There’s a map here explaining the various groupings of trees, or this book published by the Friends of the Farm which also serves as a guide through the Arboretum.
And finally home, where our own happy swap box was there to greet us upon our safe return.