Garden railways popular at holiday time, and year-round
Putting small trains in an outdoor garden setting is growing in popularity and is an especially popular display at holiday time.
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Professional gardens, too, have come to see garden railways as a way to enhance a visitor's experience, says Madeline Quigley, spokeswoman for the American Public Garden Association in Kennett Square, Penn.Skip to next paragraph
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"It brings kids to nature," she says. "It allows us to tell the story with families that bring their kids to the gardens."
Botanical gardens and conservatories in New York City; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; and other cities routinely set up a holiday train display. The trains draw attention to the plant life and other exhibits at the gardens, Ms. Quigley says. They often rely on local garden railway clubs to set up and run the displays.
"It's a perfect fit for public gardens," she says. "That's why it's become a tradition for so many gardens."
Gary Martin spends an hour a day working on his railway in Tucson, Ariz. His layout features 250 miniature structures and about 750 figures. He divides his time between painting and maintaining the buildings and figures, and trimming and tending the plants along the track.
He and his wife, Peggy, a master gardener, have always had an extensive garden. Installing the train gave them a new way to enjoy the pursuit.
"I have it because it adds to the garden," he says. "I would not be in the railroading hobby if it weren't for the garden."
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