Lathrup Village Children’s Garden grows young minds

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published July 25, 2014

LATHRUP VILLAGE — In order to give the children of Lathrup Village a better understanding of what greenspace is all about, the Lathrup Village Children’s Garden has introduced a living roof.

A living roof, or green roof, is a building roof that is  partially or completely covered by plants, with the goal of improving air quality and stormwater runoff.

Debbie Hoatlin-Dunn, activities and education coordinator for the Lathrup Village Children’s Garden, said the new living roof is also a learning opportunity for the kids in the village.

“So what we’ve done is given the kids the idea of what living roof is for, both for humans and for insects,” Hoatlin-Dunn said. “It’s just  a totally different type of plant for the kids to touch and see.”

Another benefit to the new living roof is that it doesn’t require much attention. Featuring mostly succulents and sedum, the plants on the living roof look a little out of the ordinary.

“It doesn’t require anything but air and a little mist. One of our kids called them aliens,” Hoatlin-Dunn said.

The Lathrup Village Children’s Garden, located behind the Lathrup Village municipal complex on Southfield Road, has been growing for about 10 years and strives to teach children of the village about connecting with  nature.

“I think green space is really important to our kids these days because we have so very little of it in our suburban areas,” Lathrup Village Children’s Garden President Patty Keenan said.

Children who visit the garden are invited to explore and interact with the plants and wildlife. They’re even welcome to move things around and eat from the vegetable plants.

“Kids have been eating snap peas all season. Kids just take them right off and eat them. It’s very fun to see,” Hoatlin-Dunn said.

Visitors of the garden are also encouraged to voice their opinions on their favorite plants by writing their name on a popsicle stick and placing it in the dirt next to the one they like best.

One of the most popular this season is the sensitive plant, or mimosa pudica.

“I like those plants because they close up when you touch them,” said Elena Keenan, 7, daughter of Keenan.

The children’s garden also hosts a variety of events for families to enjoy, such as story time in the Garden, which is held once a month.

During this event, kids and parents are invited to enjoy a snack, a craft and a story in the garden. The next story time will be held 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5. Organizers of the garden are also planning a family camp out Aug. 9-10 involving a potluck, crafts, activities in the garden, s’mores and more. 
For more information on upcoming events in the garden, visit