Hidden Hollow Children’s Garden, MA

The Hidden Hollow children's garden at Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich, MA began as a dry, un-programmed kettle hole and is now one of the first certified Nature Explore Classrooms in New England.

Using the Arbor Day Foundation’s Nature Explore program as inspiration, JMMDS created twelve natural areas for specific programmatic requirements based on the idea of “Hidden Pictures®” (as in Highlights for Children) that are expressed both in plan view and in three dimensions. For instance, a nature art area became “CREATE”--a pinecone-shaped space with bluestone floor and hand-carved pinecone tables with pine slab tops. Mushroom stools are set in a fairy-ring pattern around a central stump to form “GATHER” in the midst of native low-bush blueberries. Black locust stump steps lead to a network of paths and balancing logs through a twisted canopy of rhododendrons for the “CLIMB” area. Additional spaces are named SPLASH, BUILD, and LISTEN.

Accessible boardwalks, branching like a tree, guide visitors to the main play areas. JMMDS used log rounds for stepping stones, tree trunks for balancing, stacks of sticks for making forts, and kid-sized wooden tables and chairs out for making nature-inspired art. A stone-edged sandbox enables digging and a simple hand-pump allows for water play. JMMDS teamed up with Vermont artist Barre Pinske to create this unique and inspired garden.

LOCATION: Sandwich, MA
JMMDS Project Manager: Anna Johansen

Heritage Museum and Gardens: Heather Mead, Linda Calmes Jones, Tobey Eugenio, Steve Dolan and Jeanie Gillis
Construction: Watson Construction
Landscape Contractor: Hoxie Landscaping Service
Wood Artist: Barre Pinske