Children’s garden taking form at Belmont’s Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comFebruary 11, 2013 

— Lost Hollow seems to be finding its way.

The newest addition to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is closing in on $1 million raised to match a $2 million gift from Dot and Duke Kimbrell announced last spring. Planners expect to match the gift in full by the fall and begin construction on the children’s garden, which should last about a year.

“We’re in a really good position right now,” said Kara Newport, garden executive director.

Last May the garden announced the $6 million project complete with a sunken pond, amphitheater, maze, bird viewing platform and other features. It would be the first major addition to the garden in five years. Since, it’s been named Lost Hollow: The Kimbrell Children’s Garden and further sketches have been made. The result will be something that’s “like nothing we have here,” Newport said.

“You’re going to see it in a different way from all points of the garden,” she said. “It’ll be a whole different look.”

A challenge for the garden will be incorporating castle, water and throne room features with what’s already at the garden. There also will be a fireplace cave, aviary, European phone booth in a walnut grove and more. Artifacts from Daniel Stowe’s personal collection will be included. Current brick paths will be continued, while adding concrete pavers, cobblestone and permeable asphalt in places.

“We’re medieval-izing everything,” Newport said.

What’s still to be determined also is what will be a hallmark of the garden -- its plants.

“We don’t know a lot yet about the plant list,” Newport said. “That’s really our story, at the end of the day.”

Ted Hall, president of the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce, believes the project will be a major addition to the garden, and a major addition to the area.

“Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a tremendous economic asset, as well as a quality of life asset, to Gaston County and the Charlotte region, and the Kimbrell Children’s Garden will be a spectacular addition,” he said.

The last major addition was the Orchid Conservatory, which brought in “a new group of visitors” similar to what Hall sees the new garden accomplishing, this time young families, grandparents and grandchildren, more school and youth groups.

The recent holiday display at the garden brought in “tens of thousands to visit the Garden, with a large number also eating at local restaurants and spending nights in local hotels,” Hall said.

“That’s economic impact,” he said, “and I look forward to seeing future reports of those numbers growing significantly when the children’s garden vision is realized.”

Landscape designer W. Gary Smith is working with the new project, along with design firm Sitework Studios out of Asheville, N.C.

So far the garden has $875,000 in gifts and pledges to match the Kimbrell gift, and planners “haven’t really gone public” with soliciting money, Newport said. Naming opportunities are available for new features. During the estimated year of construction, fundraising will begin for the second phase.

For more information on Lost Hollow, visit dsbg.org.

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