Yarmouth garden playhouse built on a foundation of community support

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YARMOUTH — With helping hands and artistic inspiration, the dream of a garden playhouse is now a reality for children who visit and participate in programs at the Yarmouth Community Garden.

Children’s Garden coordinator Christine Slader said it’s always been a dream to have a structure for children to play, use their imaginations, access garden tools and art supplies easily and safely.

With the help of volunteers Ronald Holley of Freeport and former steering committee member Colleen Kenyon of Topsham, they purchased a kit to build a shed and transformed it into a storage shed, playhouse and farm stand for children.

She said the artwork on the front of the building was created by local artist Suzanne Harden, who used inspiration from the children’s book “Whose Garden Is It,” by Mary Ann Hoberman. The book is about how a garden belongs to every animal, insect or person who benefits from it.

“This is a story that I try to use at the beginning of the summer program to instill a sense of community and collaboration in the children,” Slader said. “I tell them the garden wouldn’t be here without the many hands and animals and parts of nature that make it what it is. So it is special to take the inspiration of the illustrations from the book and apply it to the structure.”

There were nearly 50 people at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication on Aug. 18, Slader said.

“We are so happy the children have their own area,” she said. “The playhouse is a nice focal point, it is welcoming and draws people in to the garden.”

Children learn how to stock and staff the garden’s educational farm stand. They also play games, share stories, and participate in garden art projects.

The Garden Explorer program at the Yarmouth Community Garden is in its fifth year. The Roots group teaches children ages 4-7 about planting, harvesting vegetables and having fun with new friends. The Green Team for children ages 7-10 teaches them how fresh vegetables and flowers go from farm to table and market.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson

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Nearly 50 residents attended the Yarmouth Community Garden dedication and ribbon cutting on Aug. 18. The new children’s shed is a playhouse, tool shed and farm stand.

Christine Slader, center, children’s garden coordinator, and volunteers Colleen Kenyon, left, and Ronald Holley stand in front of the new children’s playhouse and farm stand in the Yarmouth Community Garden.

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