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Welcome Garden/Education Center

The Welcome Garden, as we call it, is beside the steps to the Isaac Witt Education building and along the walkway. The garden is designed to welcome our visitors and demonstrate options for foundation planting. We use perennials to give constant blooms from early spring to late fall.

Vegetable Garden

This is a 20 x 40-foot demonstration garden designed to feed a family of four to six. We hope to educate those who have never grown their own vegetables by planting a spring, summer and fall garden. We grow vegetables that a majority of families would like to grow and eat. We try at least one unfamiliar vegetable as a learning example. We have room to rotate the crops. The garden area along the fence has been added for vining crops. Smaller gardens were added for corn and blueberries. While not

Medicinal Herb Garden

Our medicinal herb garden demonstrates the second oldest use of plants, after food, for the ailments of mankind. The quadrant design for these beds has been used since medieval times. The plants themselves are mostly common herbs. These herbs, often thought of as cooking herbs but almost all have some medical value, the most common of which is as antiseptics. However, we warn against using any herb for medicinal purposes, as we have learned that some can be harmful to your health, i.e. comfrey.

Spiral Herb Garden

This garden was designed based on a unique European design. The raised bed provides good drainage and warm soil for the plants. The water feature at the end of the spiral helps cool the bed in summer and warms it a little in spring. Most of the herbs in this garden are used for cooking. This garden was created and is maintained by the Master Gardener Herb Committee (Herbal Adventures).

Vertical Garden

How to grow up in small spaces. The whimsical vertical garden shows what can happen when you think outside the row. The garden is 20 x 20. It has vegetables, fruits, and flowering plants. From the bottle tree at the entrance to the unique cinder block planted sculpture this garden will make you think about space in a whole different way.

Rose Garden

The rose garden, maintained by a Rose society member, is designed to demonstrate how to grow roses in our locale and features many interesting old and new varieties.

Blackberry Patch

We have four types of blackberries on display including “Ouachita” and “Natchez” which are thorn less varieties. Both varieties were developed and released by the U of A

Ray Baker Rose Garden

The Ray Baker Rose Garden is a memorial to the late Ray Baker, Mayor of Fort Smith for 20 years (1990-2010). The “Rose” is the official flower of Fort Smith. The Ray Baker Rose was developed, propagated and patented by the Fort Smith Rose Society in honor of Ray Baker. This garden is maintained by the Fort Smith Rose Society, founded in 1938. The Ray Baker Rose is a unique and beautiful red hybrid tea rose grafted on Fortuniana Root Stock.

Butterfly Garden

The Butterfly Habitat Garden is designed to showcase plants for attracting butterflies and hosting their caterpillars. The beds host the 5 major families of butterflies that are in the River Valley. If you look closely, you may find a beautiful baby butterfly chomping away on the leaves of a host plant. The Monarch butterfly portion is a Monarch waystation garden. There are many ideas that you can incorporate in your home garden to provide an oasis for butterflies in your neighborhood.

Cutting Garden

This garden shows what plants can be grown for floral arrangements. Flowers in this garden start popping in early spring and leave us in late fall. Fresh flowers available for cutting almost year-round.

Heirloom Seed Garden

Saving heirloom seeds for this generation and generations to come. We grow verities of vegetables for harvesting seeds for future gardens. This garden also incorporates companion planting and drip gardening irrigation as beneficial garden practices.

Compost Demonstration Garden

Compost is an essential product that will enrich any garden. Composting is a process of combining organic materials normally discarded, such as grass clippings, leaves, kitchen leftovers and garden plants. This process allows nature to break down the coarse materials into a usable product to be tilled back into the garden. I call it “garbage to black gold”. Come and see the process working at the compost demonstration site

Children’s Garden

A garden for children to have a safe and fun place to learn how to plant, grow and harvest plants. The children who accompany their parents to the Learning Fields quickly get bored looking at grownup projects. This garden is designed to let the young generation learn where their food comes from while participating in activities in a safe and educational environment.

Labyrinth Garden

Labyrinths are known to have existed for thousands of years and ancient ones have been found among many cultures, including American Indian, African, Celtic, Greek, French and Italian. The labyrinth garden at the Learning Fields is a winding single path that leads to and from the center of the labyrinth. Along the path are many plants such as Green Santolina, Gold Bar Miscanthus and other grasses, Silver Mound Artemisia, Germander, Platinum Blond Lavender, Echinacea, Black-eyed Susans and Red

Native Garden

See examples of native Arkansas plants. Native plants are our heritage and they provide extraordinary benefits for people and wildlife. This garden encourages habitat biodiversity. It is our intention to encourage the public to use native plants for landscaping around their homes and gardens to bring back a portion of that diverse Native Plant Garden habitat. Native plants are adapted to our region and after becoming established, native plants require little water or care. Native plants provide

Fig Trial Orchard

A 10-year plant trial to determine what Fig trees will grow and produce in the River Valley. Preliminary results will be published in 2020 with a final report in 2025.

Wildflower Meadow

The Gelene Gish MacDowell Wildflower meadow. The Wildflower Meadow is as all wildflower meadows are, a meadow in progression. Come see what is possible.

The Beehive

The beehive at The Learning Fields is a special garden designed to grow the world’s most effective pollinators. The beehive project is a primary contributor to the Learning Fields and is financially self-supporting through the harvest of its natural honey and by-products.


The walking trail is part of the walking trail that wound through old Fort Chaffee. We are working on restoring part of the trail that runs behind the wildflower meadow. We are creating habitat for the wildlife and identifying and planting trees native to Arkansas.