Gardens of The Learning Fields
Garden #1 Welcome Garden
The Welcome Garden is beside the steps to the Isaac Witt Education building and along the walkway from the south parking lot. The garden is designed to welcome visitors and demonstrates options for foundation planting. We use perennials to give constant blooms from early spring to late fall.
Garden #2 Vegetable Garden
This is a 20 x 40 foot demonstration garden designed to feed a family of four to six. The garden is used to educate those who have never grown their own vegetables. The garden demonstrates spring, summer and fall gardening.
We grow vegetables that a majority of families would like to grow and eat. We try at least one unfamiliar vegetable as a learning example. We have room to rotate the crops. The garden area along the fence has been added for vining crops. Smaller gardens were added for corn and blueberries. While not organic, we use very little pesticides and have compost from the landfill to improve the soil.
The soil is tested yearly by the University of Arkansas Extension office. This service is free to every resident of Arkansas.
Newley added to our garden is one raised bed for senior citizens. It is 33” x 48” x 16 ft. long. The bed is filled with garden soil and amended with compost.
Garden #3 Medicinal Herb Garden
Our medicinal herb garden demonstrates the second oldest use of plants, after food for the ailments of mankind. The quadrant design for these beds has been used since medieval times. The plants themselves are mostly common herbs, often thought of as cooking herbs but almost all have medical value. The herbs are commonly used externally on the body as antiseptics. We have learned that some can be harmful for your health if taken internally ie. Comfrey. Many healers and herb doctors distributed medicinal herbs with beneficial effect, but we discourage using plants in the medicinal beds for that purpose. THESE BEDS ARE FOR EDUCATIUONAL PURPOSES ONLY.
Garden #4 The Herb Spiral
This garden was designed based on a unique European design. The raised bed provides good drainage and warm soil for the plants. The water feature at the end of the spiral helps cool the bed in summer and warms it a little in the spring. Most of the herbs in this garden are used for cooking. This garden was created and is maintained by the Master Gardener Herb Committee Herbal Adventures.
Garden #5 Memorial Fountain
Garden #6 Aquaponics- under construction.
Garden #7 Rose Garden
The rose garden is maintained by a Rose Society member and is designed to demonstrate how to grow and care for roses in our locale. The garden features old and new varieties.
Garden #8 3 Sisters Garden
Demonstrates the native American technique of growing squash to shade the corn roots and corn stalks provide structure for beans to climb.
Garden #9 Ray Baker Rose Garden.
The Ray Baker Rose Garden is a memorial to the late Ray Baker, Mayor for Fort Smith for 20 years (1990-2010). The “Rose” is the official flower of Fort Smith. The Ray Baker Rose was developed, propagated and patented by the Fort Smith Rose Society in honor of Ray Baker. The Ray Baker Rose is a unique and beautiful red hybrid tea rose grafted on Fortuniana Root Stock. The Rose Society was founded in 1938 and maintains care of the garden.
Garden #10 Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Habitat Garden is designed to showcase plants for attracting butterflies and hosting caterpillars. The beds host 5 major families of butterflies
that are in the River Valley. If you look closely, you may find a beautiful baby butterfly chomping away on the leaves of a host plant. The Monarch butterfly portion is a Monarch waystation garden. There are many ideas that you can incorporate in your home garden to provide an oasis for butterflies in your neighborhood.
Garden #11 Cutting Garden
This garden shows what plants can be grown for floral arrangements. Flowers in this garden start popping in early spring and leave us in late fall. Fresh flowers available for cutting almost year-round.
Garden #12 Blackberry Patch
In the blackberry garden we are growing thornless primocane and floricane varieties developed and released by the U of A. Our goals are to (1.) Demonstrate the planting, fertilization, irrigation, pruning, trellising, and maintenance of these plants and (2) evaluate berry production and quality.
Garden #13 Compost Demonstration Garden
Compost is an essential product that will enrich any garden. Composting is a process of combining organic materials normally discarded, such as grass clippings, leaves, kitchen leftovers and garden plants. This process allows nature to break down the coarse materials into useable product to be tilled back into the garden. I call it “garbage to black gold”. Come see the process working at the compost demonstration site.
Garden #14 Blueberry Garden
The goals of this blueberry garden are to (1) demonstrate the planting, fertilization, irrigation, pruning, and maintenance of these plants and (2) determine which varieties do we in the River Valley. The garden contains Rabbiteye, Southern Highbush and Northern Highbush varieties.
Garden #15 open to be adopted by Master Gardeners or members of the community.
Garden #16 Children’s Garden
A garden for children to have a safe and fun place to learn how to plant, grow and harvest plants. The children who accompany their parents to The Learning Fields quickly get bored looking at grownup projects. This garden is designed to let the young generation learn where their food comes from while participating in activities in a safe educational environment.
Garden #17 Labyrinth Garden
Labyrinths are known to have existed for thousands of years and ancient ones have been found among many cultures, including American Indian, African, Celtic, Greek, French and Italian. The labyrinth at The Learning Fields is a winding single path that leads to and from the center of the labyrinth. Along the path are many plants such as Green Santolina, Lavender, Echinacea, Black-eyed Susan’s and Red Hot Poker. Above the rock bench seat is a Muscadine grapevine. There is no wrong way to walk the labyrinth, so just take your time, relax, enjoy and leave your stress behind.