Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Landscape Architecture

Major Professor

Dr. Susan Hamilton

Committee Members

Dr. Mary Albrecht, Dr. Mark Fly, Dr. Handel Wright


Children’s gardening is a growing phenomenon in our country, both in schoolyards and in public horticultural institutions. In the last decade, youth gardening has been on the rise as educators are rediscovering through observation and experience that it is an effective means to educate children across the curriculum, inspire a lifelong interest in a healthy hobby, foster positive environmental attitudes, and encourage children to spend time out of doors. While several studies have focused on school gardens, few studies have researched youth gardening in a public garden setting. This qualitative case study is on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s (BBG) Children’s summer gardening program. It documents and describes an approach to gardening that has the longest history of any children’s garden in our country. Interview and observational data, as well as a review of Children’s garden documents were triangulated during analysis. Seven major themes emerged from the interpretative analysis: A love of nature, Learning by doing, Acquiring self-reliance, Age appropriate gardening, Attaining understanding of the living world, Getting dirty, and Gardening parents. These seven themes identified in this study specifically addressed ways to approach gardening with youth of various ages. This study also identified the BBG’s Children’s Gardening program goals, the ways in which they achieved their goals, the gardening and educational experiences of its participants, which of those experiences were most significant, and the factors that have contributed to its longevity and success.

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