The Root-Children (Die Wurzelkinder)
Design Concept: how our
exhibit reflects the theme “Deeply Rooted”
The Root Children live under the deep roots of a great tree. As winter
ends, they wake from their long sleep and set to work creating bright flowers,
birds and insects. When all is ready, the Root Children carry their creations
up into the sunlight, bringing the world another spring. Their story of annual
rebirth is deeply rooted in the human spirit.
2a. This scene is drawn from Etwas von den Wurzelkindern,
the classic 1906 children’s story written and illustrated by Sibylle Von Olfers, published in English
as The Story of the Root-Children, a fable of natural cycles and changing
2b. Cherry birch, also known as sweet birch or
red birch, has numerous medicinal purposes. The inner bark contains oil identical
to wintergreen oil, and tea made from it is popular for digestive disturbances.
Birch also has folkloric associations
with both Christian and Pagan legends of spring. According to Germanic
legend, a whipping with birch twigs before sunrise on Easter Sunday would
transfer disease to the twigs and bring good health to the sufferer. On Walpurgisnacht,
or May Eve, witches rode brooms of birch twigs at their annual gathering on
2c. The bracket fungus growing on the birch trunk
is commonly called Hen-of-the-Woods in English, and Maitake in Japanese. It
is edible and is said to strengthen the immune system. The fungus plays an
active role in decomposing dead trees, returning them to the soil, where they
will nourish the roots of the next generation.
What else the public might enjoy
This miniature garden is a family creation. Design and fabrication
are by Katherine and Gwendolyn Holbrow, two sisters who are both artists and
children’s book illustrators. Their mother, Master Gardener Mary Holbrow,
contributed the plants and landscaping. The Holbrow family has been participating
in the New England Flower Show for over a century, so we also are deeply rooted
in this tradition.
Date of Garden: