The idea for Bookworm Gardens began in 1999 after Garden Founder Sandy Livermore visited the Michigan State 4H Children’s Garden, an award winning and inspirational children’s garden. During her visit, she saw a group of teenagers in matching t-shirts reading books aloud to groups of small children, and the idea for a garden based completely on children’s literature was born.
The next eleven years were spent bringing this project to fruition. Building a core of committed individuals, we created a board of directors, applied for non-profit status, and began the search for a site. Noted landscape architect Herb Schaal was hired to create the garden concept plan. Books were selected with input from local teachers, librarians, and reading specialists, and gardens were designed to bring each book to life.
We then began the task of raising 2.8 million dollars, the total projected cost of the project. We did this by giving presentations to book clubs, children’s playgroups, church organizations, service groups, corporations, foundations and individuals.
Both the city and county, as well as the university, were eager to help in our search for a site. After several false starts, a final site was selected, and construction began in 2008. Over a year was spent clearing the site of dead, diseased, and invasive species by dozens of volunteers.
Local artists, architects, landscapers and builders were hired to build the garden. We were amazed not only by the huge amount of talent in our own back yard, but also the generosity of these individuals and organizations.
High schools, community organizations, and individuals also stepped forward to donate labor to build many of our structures, including our barn, teahouse, playhouse, tool shed, log cabin and bridges.
In total, over 1000 individuals gave of their time, treasures and talents. Without their involvement, Bookworm Gardens could not have become a reality. We celebrated our Grand Opening on October 16th, 2010, joined by over 2000 joyful visitors.
Please come and visit us, and thank a volunteer when you see one. Without them, Bookworm Gardens would not exist!