Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Gardens’ Category

Secluded Mission Oaks Gardens

A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious

with a feeling of serenity and joy.

~Luis Barragan

mission-oaks

The entrance at Mission Oaks leads you down a path of tranquility surrounded by blossoms.

“The Secret Garden” describes this hidden-away place of relaxation in the midst of an older  residential area of Zanesville. Mission Oaks Gardens has over seven acres to keep you in the arms of Mother Nature.

Pink Tulips

Beds of colorful pink tulips brighten the pathway in the spring.

The setting acquired its name because the home had the appearance of a mission-house surrounded by oaks. Today that name acquires a double meaning as they definitely have a mission: to provide and protect a little piece of nature for all to enjoy.

Tiger Lilies

Tiger Lilies brighten the pathway in this peaceful garden.

Here you will find everything from waterfalls to conifer forests at no cost to you or your friends. Seven days a week from dawn until dusk, you are invited to relax surrounded by flowers, or explore these seven peaceful acres for free.

pathway-to-beauty

This beautiful stone pathway always has flowers along its edge.

From springtime until fall, flowers of the season flow along the stone path…from tulips to mums. The porch makes a pleasant place to sit and enjoy the aroma of the fragrant blossoms.

mission-oaks-home-surrounded-by-flowers

The Hendley’s home is surrounded by flowers from spring through fall.

Established in 1925, legend has it this charming mission style home was built by a local businessman for his mistress, a party dress designer during the roaring 20s. But for the last twenty-five years, the home has been owned by Albert “Bert” and Susan Hendley.

When Bert first saw the abandoned mansion in 1988, he told his wife, “You’ve got to be crazy. This place is a dump.” Now, Bert’s developed a masterpiece of beauty and he takes great pleasure in finding unique and rare plants for visitors to view.

Flowers around every corner

Flowers appeared throughout the property.

The Perennial Garden surrounds the charming home. From early spring until fall, you’ll find something blooming from hyacinths and peonies to chrysanthemums and sunflowers. Relax in the gazebo being surrounded by the sight and scent of nature. New blossoms open every week.

Woods

Flower strewn paths meander through the forest setting.

After you have had a leisurely walk through the upper gardens, then it’s time to explore the rest of the acreage. Head down a steep flight of stairs, or enter the garden from the rear entrance, which is marked with stone pillars.  The sight before you, right in the middle of Zanesville, will amaze you.

rustic-gazebo-in-the-middle-of-the-woods

This rustic gazebo in the middle of the woods provides a respite from the cares of the day.

Once into the forested section of the garden, the paths go two separate directions. One path leads to the Woodland Garden, while the other descends to the Conifer Garden.

Paths meander throughout the wooded areas with surprises around every bend. While no overall plan was ever made for the gardens, unusual rare trees and flowers greet you at surprising places along the pathways.

Waterfall

Relax while watching the smooth flow of the waterfall.

The wooded section includes two small waterfalls, which flow over rocky hillsides into a small pond at one end, and a small stream on the other. At the small pond, elegant water lilies and lotuses bloom along the water’s edge. Comfortable wooden benches provide a great spot to relax while soaking up the ambiance of the scenic view.

small-lake-in-conifer-forest

This small lake in Conifer Forest offers calm waters to soothe the soul.

Over 300 trees give plenty of shade to the home and wooded areas. This includes original white oaks as well as many unusual trees Bert has discovered in his travels. In addition there are nearly 200 conifers, making Mission Oaks acknowledged for having one of the most renowned conifer gardens in Ohio.

Spring in bloom

Azaleas burst into bloom to welcome springtime.

Mission Oaks provides the perfect place to avoid the maddening crowds, relax in meditation, take a walk with Mother Nature, or just run away from home for the day. Many find it the perfect place for wedding or prom pictures.

All this is kept beautiful by the Muskingum Valley Park Department with assistance of Mission Oaks Foundation staff and many volunteers. Be sure to stop in Zanesville at 1864 Euclid Avenue – not far from Maple Avenue – and visit this hidden gem…if you can find it!

 

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Take a Country Drive to Explore Coshocton Quilt Barn Trails

 

Garden of Eden

Quilt patterns on the sides of barns gave a purpose for a country drive.

A Sunday drive has always been one of my favorite things. Dad would travel the back roads exploring places we’d never been. That same feeling occurred while wandering along the Coshocton Quilt Barn Trails. It was a peaceful, old-fashioned road trip on those narrow, two-lane country roads, where you could actually take time to look at the scenery.

While Quilt Barns have become a nationwide movement, they got their beginning fairly recently. In 2001, Donna Sue Groves wanted to honor her mother’s passion for quilting, so painted her mother’s favorite quilt square on their old tobacco barn in Adams County.

Ohio Quilt Barns

These counties in Ohio have Quilt Barn Trails.

From there, the Quilt Barns arose to reflect the spirit of the community. In Miami County, quilts were hand-painted on the barn’s surface replicating the look of fabric, while in Harrison County emphasis was on the Underground Railroad.

Coshocton County Heritage Quilt Barns feature family quilt patterns. Each quilt has a story to tell. The Pomerene Center for the Arts is responsible for creating this historic drive to view our nation’s agricultural landscape. They have three possible routes: Tiverton Trail, SR 643 Trail and Progressive Valley Trail.

It is important to either print off a map from the computer, open one on your phone or tablet, or pick one up at Coshocton Visitors’ Bureau in Roscoe Village. Directions are essential.

Mother Setzer's Quilt

Mother Setzer Quilt Barn appeared in a natural rock setting.

Several of the Quilt Barns have online connections to stories about the colorful quilts and who originally designed the quilt squares. Mother Setzer Quilt Barn appeared first on our adventure, and had a lovely setting with a firm foundation of large rocks around the barn. Their grandmother made this quilt pattern from scraps of her clothing and black silk dresses.

While SR 643 became the trail of choice, meandering from that path became frequent. The desire to see more Quilt Barns eventually included parts of all three Coshocton trails.

Sweet Pea

The lane back to Sweet Pea Quilt Barn featured a picturesque white fence.

Many of the Quilt Barns sat on back roads. Some became a challenge, and a four wheel drive vehicle would have been helpful on this rainy day as roads were steep and muddy. But beautiful, scenic farms throughout this Amish countryside made the day enjoyable. Corn shocks were a sight not seen since childhood.

Chalice

A barn near a lovely stone home featured Chalice pattern.

Chalice was the name given to the quilt pattern made by Catherine Stubbs on a barn near a lovely stone house. It appears that Catherine stayed very busy with quilting and life in general. One day when her husband was at work in the coal mines, she moved them to another house closer to his work. It’s said when she cooked Sunday chicken dinner, she could stretch one chicken to feed twelve people.

Butterfly with Raindrops

Butterfly Quilt Barn received raindrops during this trip.

The Butterfly Quilt Barn near Fresno showcases a quilt made and designed by Oneita Hahn. Family members remember her quilting frame being up in the dining room quite often. Quilt patterns frequently were created by the quilters themselves and then drawn on newspaper.

Snowball

In downtown Coshocton, you’ll find Snowball pattern on the side of a former quilt shop.

Not all barns were in the country. One actually was found in downtown Coshocton on the side of an old IOOF building, which formerly housed Mercantile on Main. Snowball, a black and white quilt, decorated the front of this one-time quilt supply shop.

Canal Era Applique

Blacksmith shop in Roscoe Village displays an attractive quilt pattern.

In Roscoe Village on the side of the Blacksmith Shop, Canal Era Applique could be seen upon entering the village on North Whitewoman Street. The quilt square on display appeared on a quilt made by Hannah Hays, whose family arrived in the area by canal boat.

Ohio Rose & Star

Ohio Rose & Star can be found in Clary Garden in Coshocton.

The end of SR 643 Trail came in classy Clary Garden. Ohio Rose & Star has graced the side of their barn since 2003. Made by Coshocton Canal Quilter Helen Moody, this pattern was chosen to hang at the gardens in honor of the family’s rose business.

But this artistic project doesn’t stop here. All over the United States, Quilt Barn Trails have been created. Presently, over 6000 quilt patterns have been placed on barns in 33 Ohio counties, 45 states, and even some in Canada. It’s a wonderful excuse to get in the car and take a road trip.

Tractor Quilt

A clever tractor pattern on one barn added variety to the day.

This country adventure through scenic back roads will take you back to a less stressful time. The Quilt Barns provide a variety of attractive patterns in excellent condition. You can take this drive any time of the year and enjoy this grassroots art movement. Watch for Quilt Barns wherever you travel.

While on the Coshocton Quilt Barn Trails, you’ll find not only creative quilt patterns but Amish farms, meandering streams, beautiful stone houses, and unique shops along the way. Don’t forget your camera!

Greenhouses Cultivate Spring Gardening Fever

Greenhouse Catalogs

Looking through seed catalogs creates dreams of spring.

This article was written for the March Now & Then Magazine, so pictures were taken in late February.

Spring Fever hits many adults this time of year. Thoughts of vegetable and flower gardens have some gardeners starting seeds of their favorite plants indoors. But not everyone has the time or patience to carry out this slow process.

Greenhouse Snow

This snow-covered greenhouse anxiously awaits spring planting at Old Stone House Nursery near Norwich.

That’s where greenhouses come into the picture. After visiting several greenhouses of all sizes, it makes a person ready to plan what flowers they want for their gardens. My favorite hanging basket, a pink and purple fuchsia, has already been ordered.

The first order of business for greenhouses consists of ordering various sizes of containers for planting and lots of good soil, often by the truckload.

Green Mc

Jeaneen McDaniel and grandson, Jack, check cuttings they did months back at McDaniel’s Greenhouse in Rix Mills.

Some begin in February sowing seeds in good loose soil filled with air that plant roots need. This type of soil also holds moisture well, but drains easily so as not to over-water. Extra care is also taken not to give the plants too much fertilizer as then they will grow tall and spindly. Others wait until March to start their seeds.

Greenhouse Mc

Bryce and Rachael McDaniel are proud of their succulent plants at McDaniel’s Greenhouse.

Surprisingly, many of the plants are started in the fall of the year from cuttings of healthy mother plants. Succulents, ornamental begonias, and coleus are examples of plants started from cuttings. While the greenhouse owners make it appear easy, it may not be that easy for everyone. They cut the branches from a mother plant, and simply stick it in good soil, while keeping the correct moisture in the soil. Soon small roots appear!

Some plants, however, have patents and greenhouses are not permitted to grow new plants from cuttings. These they have to purchase in trays from a supplier, such as Proven Winner . When they arrive they are very small plants, but with a little tender care, they will be ready to re-pot for use in hanging baskets, custom orders, or for sale as individual plants.

Greenhouse Containers

Unusual containers make for interesting plant displays.

One greenhouse just recently installed heated floors in the section where they were doing the seeding and cuttings. By use of a wood burner, it keeps the floor at about 70 degrees, the perfect temperature for these young plants.

Not every place has economical heating available, so they delay potting things until later in March. That is one reason that more greenhouses are now purchasing their small plants in trays of plugs. It just isn’t cost effective to heat their greenhouses while they start plants from seed.

Of great importance is getting the plants at their peak at just the right time. That takes perfect timing especially when you are selling the plants. Requests for custom orders in special containers or hanging baskets is one special service of the greenhouses. So each greenhouse has their weekly schedule for planting so their plants peak at the correct time.

Geenhouse trees and shrubs

Young shrubs, bushes and trees are protected from winter weather at Schoenbrunn Nursery in Dover, Ohio.

Flowers aren’t the only thing you’ll find at the greenhouse. Right now specialty trees that are high risk reside inside a covered, yet cool, greenhouse to keep them in their dormant state. Fruit trees, magnolias and small shrubs and pines still need extra protection.

Greenhouse Jodi

Jodi Gotschall’s favorite plants seem to be succulents. Her personal greenhouse is filled with healthy looking plants in clever containers.

For those with a passion for gardening, a few are fortunate enough to have their own greenhouse. These are often filled with plants from their garden that they want to save from year to year, along with some they want to experiment with. Often they take cuts of their favorites for expansion of a certain flower bed, or perhaps to give to their friends.

Greenhouse Jodi 2

While Jodi will use many of these in her own yard, she also shares them with friends.

Greenhouse of bottles

This unusual greenhouse is made of plastic pop bottles. It is used by the folks living in Earthship at Blue Rock Station.

When talking about greenhouses, a unique one visited a couple years ago keeps coming to mind. This greenhouse is made of over 1000 plastic pop bottles, which will never need replaced as they don’t decompose. This is used year round to start plants and grow food for the family. Solar panels provide heat for this plant haven.

People who work with plants enjoy “watching things grow”. When you place a seed or a cutting into the soil, it’s a miracle to see them develop into a beautiful plant. The fascination never stops.

 

 

Goodbye Summer! Hello Fall!

This giant ear of corn welcomes you to McDonald's Corn Maze.

This giant ear of corn welcomes you to McDonald’s Corn Maze.

Pumpkins + Corn Maze = Thoughts of Fall

McDonald’s Corn Maze provides the perfect spot for families to discover the spirit of the fall season. In 2006, the corn maze was created with hopes that a few children might be able to enjoy it. Never did they expect that over 3,000 would make their way through the maze that very first year.

The theme each year differs. This year the five-acre corn maze features a cowboy with a lasso standing by a saguaro. Wonder if he’s going to lasso a pumpkin?

A play area along side the corn maze offers many possibilities to explore.

A play area along side the corn maze offers many possibilities to explore.

This is indeed a family affair involving three generations. Jim and Susan McDonald built their home between their parents’ farms on Adamsville Road in Muskingum County. This makes for close family ties and grandparents have opportunity to watch their two grandsons grow up.

Agriculture is their main interest and they want to teach youngsters and adults more about the process of getting food from the farm to the table. Jim lived on a farm all of his life so it was no surprise when he graduated from Ohio State University at their Agricultural Technical Institute with a degree in greenhouse and management production. He opened his first greenhouse the year after he graduated.

All kinds of pumpkins are waiting to be taken home for decorations.

All kinds of pumpkins are waiting to be taken home for decorations. Those in the front are called “Witches Warts”.

There’s no shortage of pumpkins here as McDonald’s has fifteen acres of pumpkins with choices of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Choose from Buckskin, White Pumpkins, or Witches Warts to name a few. They expect to have over 10,000 pumpkins this year as well as a large supply of mums, gourds, and cornstalks. Everything you need for a fantastic fall scene.

Pictures is an overview of the 2015 maze.

Pictured is an overview of the 2015 maze.

They cut the maze in June when the corn was about a foot high. The drawing of the maze scene was placed on a grid, then Susan carefully directed Jim on his mower foot by foot to make it perfect. That’s no small feat in a five acre maze.

Educating students and adults about honey bees is one of Jim's enjoyments.

Educating students and adults about honey bees is one of Jim’s enjoyments.

Affectionately called Old McDonald, Jim has farming in his blood. School groups, 4-H clubs, scout troops and even seniors enjoy his stories about the farm. As you would expect, it’s not unusual for a verse or two of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to be part of the day’s events.

Maggie the Milk Cow even goes to the county fair for demonstrations on how to milk a cow.

Maggie the Milk Cow goes to the county fair for demonstrations on how to milk a cow.

Today’s children don’t have much opportunity for up-close contact with real farm life. Jim wants them to understand where their food comes from. His enthusiasm about farm life is almost tangible. Even though it’s hard work, it obviously has its rewards as he enjoys telling children about pollination by honey bees, milking a cow, growing pumpkins and why it’s always earth day for a farmer.

This goat stands on top of a large bale of round ray and peers into the plastic pipe used as a slide. Should he or shouldn't he?

This goat stands on top of a large round bale of hay and peers into the plastic pipe used as a slide. Should he or shouldn’t he?

A petting zoo gives everyone a chance to be in contact with different baby animals such as a lamb, goat, duck, pig, or rabbit. Nearby a small playground contains a unique “sandbox” – a round watering tank filled with fifty bushels of shelled corn. There’s also stones to play hopscotch, and a slide made of plastic pipe atop bales of hay.

Take a walk in the Enchanted Forest and discover how early farmers lived.

Take a walk in the Enchanted Forest and discover how Ohio’s first farmers lived.

Then take a leisurely walk through Enchanted Forest and surround yourself with nature. Listen for the special sounds of the woods and learn about the plants that grow there as many have markers with names and uses. Deep in the woods is a teepee, home of Ohio’s first farmers.

McDonald's Greenhouse also has a large assortment of mums to brighten your fall.

McDonald’s Greenhouse also has a large assortment of mums to brighten your fall.

Sometime during your visit, be sure and climb on the hay wagon for a ride through the beautiful countryside filled with autumn leaves. Sit on bales of hay while the tractor pulls you down a path to see the fall season in beautiful Ohio. There’s a small admission price of only $6 per person for the day, but unlimited fun as it includes all activities.

A visit here adds up to a perfect fall experience filled with learning and fun…no ghosts or witches allowed, except for Witches Wart Pumpkins.

McDonald’s Corn Maze is located east of Zanesville, Ohio off I-70. Take Exit 157 (State Route 93) north to 3220 Adamsville Road. It’s only about two and a half miles from the interstate.

Beautiful Flower Gardens Found in Lore City, Ohio

A  beautiful flower garden reflects the caring of its owners.

A beautiful flower garden reflects the caring of its owners.

Sometimes we overlook the beauty in our small towns. On a recent walk through Lore City, the beauty of their flowers caught my eye. Several people throughout the town must spend the entire summer in their beds…flower beds, that is.

Recent rains have made a lush covering of flowers this year, but that makes weeding more difficult and time consuming as well. These flower beds were cared for out of pure love for flowers.

People still enjoy gardens for fresh vegetables.

People still enjoy gardens for fresh vegetables.

During a time when many people have given up gardening, this is not the case in Lore City. Here gardens thrive and townfolk are quite proud of their fresh vegetables. Gardens brimming with vegetables and flowers provide a popular mix throughout the town.

Beautiful flowers brighten this country home.

Beautiful flowers brighten this country home.

On a back country lane, one home stands out above the rest. This land previously was home to the now abandoned coalmining town of Goodyear. Back in its heyday, twenty-seven homes stood along this now rutted lane with grass growing down the middle. On a bank above the home is the place where the railroad track previously took coal from the coal mine.

This old hand pump was used when Goodyear was an active coal mining town.

This old hand pump was used when Goodyear was an active coal mining town.

Along the way, you even find a remaining handle pump that was used during the time that Goodyear prospered. One water pump would be used for two homes. It still works today!

Flowers line the steps to the old coal mining road.

Flowers line the steps to the old coal mining road.

When the flowers get overcrowded in their beds, rather than destroy them, some folks have attempted to plant them on the hillsides. A clump of day lilies or coneflowers give added color to the slopes.

Sunflowers were beginning to bloom.

Ten foot tall Sunflowers were beginning to bloom.

Even the backyards are filled with flowers. One last stop for the day led to discovery of beautiful sunflowers over ten feet high. Now, over the years sunflower seeds have been planted at my house, but no plants have ever grown. Oh, to have beautiful sunflowers like these.

Beautiful flowers and stones surround a small pond in a neighbor's yard.

Beautiful flowers and stones surround a small koi pond in a neighbor’s yard.

Then, as I drove out of town, a lady was working in her beautiful flower garden with a small koi pond. The care these people give their gardens is amazing. As they pull weeds and pinch blossoms, their mind is filled with nature and the problems of the world are temporarily forgotten.

Every small town has its beauty, if we have eyes to see.

Lore City is located in southeastern Guernsey County on OH-285 about ten minutes from Cambridge in the rolling hills of beautiful Ohio.

Peace at the Palace of Gold

Palace of Gold from Rose Garden

Palace of Gold from Rose Garden

Step out of the Appalachian Mountains of Moundville, West Virginia into the Palace of Gold, which reminds many visitors of life in India. “It felt like I was coming home,” described the feelings of one recent guest from New Delhi.

Greeted by Andy Fraenkel, master spiritual storyteller, we were led on an in depth tour of the Palace and grounds. Andy also explained through story, many of the beliefs of the people who built this magnificent structure. Only outside pictures were permitted at the Palace of Gold.

Repair work on Palace of Gold dome

Repair work on Palace of Gold dome

This beautiful golden temple glistens in the sunlight as sunrays catch on the gold coated roof and walls. Construction began here in 1974 with the intention of making a beautiful home for Prabhupada, who founded the Hare Krishna Movement. While Prabhupada did visit the Palace four times during its construction, he never got to live at the Palace due to his death in India two years before it was finished. Upon its completion in 1979, it became a memorial and an instant attraction.

It was decided to build a palace around the original home, adding abundant marble, gems, and gold to make it remind others of similar places in India. This was a huge undertaking and took five and a half years to complete at a cost of $400,000. That may not seem like much for a beautiful palace, but costs were kept low due to volunteer labor of the commune that lived nearby at that time. When the Palace of Gold opened in 1979, 25,000 people were on hand.

 

Rose Garden

Rose Garden

Before entering the Palace of Gold, you will be struck by the beauty of their famous Rose Garden, the perfect place for a time of meditation amongst the beauty and scent of the blossoms. There are over150 varieties of roses plus a hundred water fountains to add to the ambiance, as you bathe yourself in the morning sun.

Lotus Pond

Lotus Pond

A lotus pond is covered with blossoms in this secluded Garden of Time. It’s the perfect place to spot a white swan or duck floating among the lotus. The pathways around the grounds make a peaceful place to walk with nature, and enjoy blossoms from spring through fall. Gorgeous peacocks are frequently seen wandering through the garden as well. From here you can see vistas of three different states.

Now it’s time to discover the inside of the Palace of Gold. Sunshine again plays its role in enhancing the stained glass windows. Sparkling crystal chandeliers reflect inner light from the mirrored ceilings. A Great French Chandelier, over 150 years old, brightens the room so semi-precious stones and pure gold glisten. While it is called the Palace of Gold, there are actually only about 80 ounces of gold used in construction. Gold leaf was applied in very thin sheets, 1/1000″ thick, and brushed onto the walls and ceiling.

Lions guarding the Palace of Gold

Lions guarding the Palace of Gold

As you walk on floors of marble imported from Europe, Asia and Africa,  there are designs on the walls describing the Krishna religion. One wall had several peacock designs as they are a symbol of royalty and bring good fortune. Lord Krishna wears a peacock feather in his hair.

Cows and elephants have their special place also. The cow is revered as a source of food while the elephant is a symbol of wealth as kings rode them during peacetime and wartime. During the 1980’s, an elephant actually stayed on the grounds near the Palace of God, but it didn’t like the cold weather.  So they actually got a semi and sent the elephant to Florida on vacation for the winter. But that expense only happened one year!

The Palace is home to those of the Hindu faith, whose many denominations are all religious manifestations of Dharma. Andy explained, “Each one of us has different unique abilities. Use your talent as an offering to God.”

According to the Dharma teachings: “The path to enlightenment is very simple – all we need to do is stop cherishing ourselves and start cherishing others.”

The Palace of Gold is located at 3759 McCreary Ridge Road outside of Moundsville, WV. Take route 250 South, which is a curvy, mountain road and watch for signs to direct you to the Palace of Gold. It is very well marked.

A Delightful Touch of Spring : Blooms and Butterflies

Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory

Ready for Spring? After a long, frigid winter, most of us are ready to watch the earth come back to life again with green plants and flowers. If you happen to crave the taste of spring, a trip to Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio will temporarily satisfy your longing for beautiful blossoms and greenery.

Butterfly on Bloom

Butterfly on Bloom

Right now, their theme of “Blooms and Butterflies” seems the perfect way to put a touch of spring in the air. Franklin Park Conservatory provides a wide variety of experiences from botanical gardens and greenhouses to art sculptures and glass exhibits. Those who enjoy flower gardening soak up the scents and admire the picture perfect displays. Visitors enjoy blooms at the conservatory all year long, but the butterflies are a special added attraction.

Beautiful orchids in various hues and scents

Beautiful orchids in various hues and scents

In the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse, the featured blooms are “Orchids!”. Their varied orchids are much larger than most of us could hope to grow, but provide a peaceful place to relax and dream. Over 1000 orchids of all sizes and hues create a beautiful scene and scent. Soon spring blossoms outside will appear, including tulips, azaleas, lilies, and rhododendrons. Every season has its floral beauty at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Children are fascinated as they watch the butterflies emerge from their chrysalises. Parents have the chance to educate their youngsters on the life of the butterfly from the eggs they lay to the spinning of their protective covering before the appearance of a beautiful butterfly.

Peaceful Annie's Pond

Peaceful Annie’s Pond

Large displays of chrysalises at the Emergence Center give ample opportunity to watch the butterflies come to life. Everything from a small 1 ½” butterfly to a 12″ Attacus Atlas Moth might be making their premiere appearance as you watch.

When the butterflies first emerge, they may hang upside down for several minutes while their wings dry so they can fly away and explore some nearby blossoms. They must enjoy themselves quickly as their average life span is only about two weeks.

Inside the Pacific Island Water Gardens’ section of the conservatory, butterflies fill the air. At least 2000 butterflies are in this warm tropical paradise each day. A Butterfly Release occurs twice a day so the newly free can test their wings as they taste nectar from bright tropical blooms.

"The Sunset Tower" provides a gathering place for many butterflies.

“The Sunset Tower” provides a gathering place for many butterflies.

A favorite resting place for the butterflies was a beautiful piece of art by Chihuly, whose glass designs can be viewed throughout the conservatory. “The Sunset Tower”, in golden sunset tones, gave the butterflies a place to congregate peacefully.

Since most children desperately want an exotic butterfly to land on them for good luck, the naturalist often places the newly released butterfly on a child’s shoulder. Those who could sit still long enough were actually butterfly magnets, and might have three or four butterflies on their shirt. Watching the children brought to mind a piece of advice from Nathaniel Hawthorne:

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

The next time you aren’t pleased with the weather and want to be surrounded by the beauties of nature, take a trip to Columbus and visit the Franklin Park Conservatory. As summer approaches, there is an outdoor butterfly garden to attract Native Ohio Butterflies. Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “Blooms and Butterflies” this year with your family or friends. You won’t even think about the snow that fell during the winter!

Franklin Park Conservatory can be easily reached off I-70 in Columbus, Ohio using the Broad Street Exit. Turn right onto Broad Street and the conservatory is about one mile down Broad on the left hand side. Watch for entrance signs.

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