Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘plants’

Relax with Nature at Dawes Arboretum

Dawes All Season Garden

Dawes Arboretum

Imagine being where no one is in a hurry. Dawes Arboretum could be the perfect place for you! This nature haven is dedicated to increasing the love and knowledge of trees, history, and the natural world. Young and old walk around the grounds at a leisurely stroll and traffic has a speed limit of 15 mph. Ah!  This is a spot to relax!

Way back in 1917, Beman and Bertie Dawes purchased a farm known as Woodland in Licking County. The family renamed it Daweswood and began planting trees, from all over the world, that would grow in Ohio. He hoped to encourage others to plant trees at their farms also. In 1929, Dawes Arboretum was formed and by then, Beman had planted over 50,000 trees and purchased more land.

The Visitors Center is a great place to begin your visit. Here you can pick up a map to guide you throughout the 1800 acres, and discover a little history of Dawes Arboretum as well as their family.  Beman Dawes’ father was a Civil War veteran, who served in The Iron Brigade. His brother, Charles, served as Vice-President of the United States under Calvin Coolidge.

Dawes All Season Garden

Dawes All Season Garden

One of my favorite spots is walking leisurely through All-Seasons Garden behind the Visitors Center. Here you are greeted with the flowers of each season from Spring through Fall – tulips to mums. There is a wide variety of plants here, some perennials and some annuals, but all striking in their setting. Name plates are frequently found near trees and plants with both their scientific and common names for easy identification.  Benches provide a spot to relax and to take time to smell the roses. A charming gazebo offers a touch of shelter on a rainy or sunny day, and provides another spot for viewing the garden.

Lake at Japanese Gardens

Lake at Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Garden creates one of the most tranquil spots at Dawes. With a beautiful small lake at its center, the plants of Japan weave their way around the pond and into your being. Give your feet a rest in the small meditation house at the edge of the reflecting pool to let the tranquility soak in.  A stone path crosses the pool filled with colorful koi, making it a favorite of young and old alike.

Since Dawes is located in Ohio, the Buckeye state, it seemed only fitting that buckeye trees would be included in the landscape. The Dawes family decided to plant 17 trees in the shape of the number seventeen honoring Ohio’s admission to the Union as the 17th state.

Large Hedge spells our Dawes Arboretum.

Large Hedge spells our Dawes Arboretum.

Dawes Observation Tower

Dawes Observation Tower

Perhaps you will notice as you approach the arboretum that there is a large hedge, which spells out DAWES ARBORETUM quite clearly. As you slowly drive through the wooded areas, toward the end of your tour, you will arive at The Observation Tower at the southeastern end of the arboretum. Climbing the tower gives a great view of the surroundings including the hedge. This hedge is thought to be the longest hedge in the world at  2,040 feet long and approximatley six feet high. Bernie Dawes decided to build the hedge for the enjoyment of planes flying into the Columbus Airport.

Bald Cypress Swamp Trees with Knees

Trees with Knees

One last treat before you leave is the Cyprus Swamp. This Bald-Cypress Swamp is one of the most northern swamps in North America.  A delightful boardwalk gives guests an up-close and personal view of the trees and their root system, as well as the creatures in the water.  The bumps you see coming out of the water have given these trees a nickname: Trees with Knees. Botanists aren’t really sure what their purpose is but some think it might help them breathe, while others think it is perhaps to help brace them from the wind.

Every season of the year brings a variety of trees, plants, and blossoms to center stage. This is definitely one of those spots where you can enjoy a walk through the trails, or a drive down the roadway, at any time of the year.  Beautiful scenes appear around every bend.

Meander through the grounds anytime of the year surrounded by the beauties of nature at Dawes Arboretum with over 16,000 living plants. It’s opened 362 days a year and admission is free.  You’ll want to come back each season!

Dawes Arboretum is located near Newark, Ohio just off I-70.  Take Exit 132 , Route 13 , and proceed North on Route 13 for about three miles.  The entrance is located on the left hand side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road.

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Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island

Nearly 100 years in bloom ! Fifty acres of beautifully landscaped floral beds capture your attention as you wander along the meandering paths through Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia.  The Canadians certainly created a masterpiece here on Vancouver Island.

Robert and Jennie Butchart, pioneers in the manufacture of Portland Cement, came to Vancouver Island in 1904 because of rich limestone deposits needed for cement production. A few years later, the limestone quarry was exhausted so Mrs. Butchart pictured it replaced with a beautiful garden.  Being transported by horse and cart, tons of top soil were placed on the floor of the quarry.  Little by little the floor blossomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden, which is one of the exquisite spots at Butchart Gardens.

While Mrs. Butchard enjoyed planning her garden, Mr. Butchard collected ornamental birds from all over the world. A parrot lived in their house, peacocks strutted across the front lawn, and birdhouses were placed strategically throughout the garden.

Totem poles carved by artists of the Tsartlip and Tsawout First Nations are a recent addition to the gardens. Totems are very symbolic and designed to tell a story, quite often starting at the bottom. This particular totem tells a story about Butchart Gardens. The bottom figure represents all the people who come to the gardens. In the center is carved a whale, symbolizing the fact that people traveled from afar to arrive here. On top is the mystical, yet powerful, thunderbird, which watches over the gardens and protects it with his outstretched wings.

In 1939, the Butcharts gave the gardens to their grandson, Ian Ross  for quite the spectacular 21st birthday present. Ross Fountain was installed on the 60th Anniversary of the gardens. The Ross Pond with fountain looks great at any season, or any time of the day or night. Today the gardens are still family owned with great-granddaughter, Robin-Lee Clarke, being the present owner/manager.

Through a floral covered archway, visitors find themselves in the relaxing Italian Garden, which includes a dining area where you can sit outside or enjoy the view of the beautifully landscaped pond from inside. Afternoon tea outside under the beautiful hanging baskets, and plants cascading from window boxes, is a scrumptious experience.

Butchart Gardens is delightful every season of the year, which seems quite surprising for Canada. But the gardens are located on the coast so their weather is a little milder than what we might imagine Canada to experience. Beautiful Night Illumination occurs each evening, when the garden looks magical with the flickering lights. Saturday Fireworks draws such large crowds, people sometimes wait in line for hours to get inside the gates.

Every year millions visit these gardens at all seasons of the year in one of the loveliest corners of the world.  Maybe you will get a chance sometime soon to visit there too. During my last visit in the summer when glorious blossoms were at their peak, they even offered me a job in their greenhouse or gift shop.  See you there?

Butchart Gardens can easily be reached from every direction on Vancouver Island. Start out on Route 17, then turn west on Keating X Road, which becomes Benvenuto Avenue and leads directly to the gardens. Cruise ships frequently stop at Vancouver Island and offer transportation to the gardens as well.

The Magic World of Orchids

Step back into the Victorian era when orchids were a symbol of luxury, and walk leisurely through the Orchid Forest at the Franklin County Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio.  These beautiful orchids, entitled Orchids! Vibrant Victoriana, are displayed in the Dorothy M Davis  Show House, which was built in 1895.  The exotic orchid speaks of refinement and innocence and the elegant Victorian garden is filled with hundreds of incredible orchids in all sizes, shapes and scents.

Paul Busse’s Garden Railroad featuring children’s fairy tales is a popular place to stop and take a break.  In this magical world amongst the foliage in the Himalayan Mountain Biome, three dimensional structures are all made from natural materials.  You might see roof shingles made from fungus, a chimney cap from an acorn, or a door hinge from a tiny leaf.  Moss, twigs, leaves and seeds combine to form houses, bridges, and castles. Children will definitely enjoy the fairy tale settings, while adults will marvel at the construction of the scenery.

In an outdoor garden area, discovered the Hot Shop where a young man, who had been blowing glass for two and a half years, showed the curious visitors how to create a vase. From gathering the hot, hot glass to dipping it in either powdered colored glass or pellets, the glassmaking process produced many questions from those watching. Especially found fascinating the use of thick layers of wet newspaper being used to shape the glass, as seen in the picture above. The young man told the attentive audience, “We are still finding out new things about glass every day.  It is an ongoing learning experience.” His finished vase, which started out with a red glow, turned out to be a beautiful violet shade.

An added attraction was the beautiful blown glass art work by Debora Moore, Collectanea Botanica – Orchidaceae, showing her interpretations of orchids in blown glass sculptures. The Blue Orchid Tree, a beautiful Moore creation, is featured just inside the Cardinal Health Gallery. Debora feels that her work is a figment of her imagination combining the real qualities of the orchid with what she sees in her mind. This glass artist was a student and later an instructor at the Pitchuck Glass School, which was founded by Dale Chihuly whose work is also featured throughout the conservatory on a permanent basis.

My favorite artistic display was the large Pink Glass Orchid. Nature has always been Debora’s inspiration as she uses the medium of glass to express the grandeur and fragility of the natural world. She constantly learns and combines new methods with traditional glassblowing techniques to create her masterpieces.

Today, orchids are the top house plant with 25,000 varieties available. Symbolizing rare and delicate beauty, the orchid is an alluring and captivating plant to enjoy in your home. Franklin Conservatory is one of those places you can visit again and again, as they have featured shows throughout the year as well as an outdoor garden that blooms seasonally.

Walt Whitman wrote,”Give me a garden of flowers where I can walk undisturbed.” This is one of those special places that answers that request.

Franklin Park Conservatory can easily be reached off I-70 as it passes through Columbus, Ohio. Exit on 315 North and quickly you will make another exit onto Route 40 where you will turn right.  You are almost there as just a few blocks through the city, you will find Franklin Park on the right hand side.

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