I started working early in my garden today. The sky was streaked with pink, orange and blue as the sun rose between the branches of my 40 yr. Old olive tree. Mocking birds were singing, they are so many different songs from this one incredible bird. As I wander through the pathways of the garden I find the deep purple Dutch iris and pink freesias blooming, they are such a brief bit of spring color but so worth it. There is a stand of white freesias further out by the lawn, heavy with blossoms, they need a wire frame to support them.
I have lived my life with plastic. I’ve used Tupperware, saran wrap, water bottles, toys, and tools. I have a yellow plastic flower pot that is 45 years old. I remember the film, The Graduate, when Mr. Mcguire offering Benjamin one word for his future, said “Plastics. There’s a great future in it.” But today I’m living with plastic guilt.
I wander the world looking for glorious gardens. I’m always noticing the trees and the flowers where ever I go. Today I was going to Home Depot, and I found a glorious southwest spring display. The Hacienda Children’s Hospital at 610 W Jerome Ave, in Mesa, AZ opened in October of 2015. My usual side street approach to Home Depot allowed me to watch the construction of the building from its earliest beginnings. It is a beautiful structure w/ an integrated steel tree rising up the side of the building and framing the entryway canopy. It has been attention grabbing from the start. The facility was designed by the Devenney Group, who specializes in medical architecture. I’ve contacted them to find out who the landscape architect is for this project because right now, this moment the landscape has blossomed into its full glory. The plants are just a bit over three years in the ground and the time combined with the wet winter has created a moment of true desert glory.
A tour of the Rio Botanic Garden w/ Lais Tammela,
Lais is a biologist and a certified tour guide with Tours by Locals. She grew up near the garden and often visited throughout her childhood. During her years as an educator, she brought her students here, conducting research of lichen growth on the royal palm walk, comparing the lichen as the trees progressed from the street to further back into the forest. Immediately we were excited to have her guide us around the garden.
A visit to Sitio, Roberto Burle Marx’s private garden for his collection of over 3000 plants
It doesn’t make today’s headlines but right now in 2019 plant hunters are exploring the world trying to find new, useful, and unique plants. It is essential work that has continued for centuries. During the last century, Burle Marx was a plant hunter. Since childhood when his aunt gave him a plant as a gift, he had been fascinated by plants. He was a conservationist and a man in love with plants. When he went to Berlin in 1927 to study painting, he kept going to visit the botanic garden there. What surprised him most was the exotic collection of plants featured in the Berlin Botanic were the tropical plants of Brazil. Yet in Brazil, the gardens were imitating the European style, importing plants from Europe to create gardens in Brazil. He had what I would call an epiphany that Brazilian gardens would be beautiful when made with their own tropical plants. Upon his return to Brazil, this became his mission.
While “Three Days in Rio” sounds like a great movie title, I’m going to share my three days with you on my blog even though the days were filled with action, blazing colors, artistry, and of course, incredible gardens.
The Cayman Islands has close to 600 bank and trust companies but only one Botanic Garden. The Caribbean Islands are described as paradise, but money isn’t shade, flowers, and food. Without plants, there is no paradise. This is my first time in the Caribbean, the temperatures are pleasant in the low 80’s, the breezes are blowing gently, palm trees and colorful bougainvillea in red, pink, white, purple, and orange grow wildly along the roadways. I need practice in relaxing on a beach, I’m not naturally good at it, I don’t sit still easily let alone lie in the sun for hours. Naturally, I set out for the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Garden, amazingly, a reciprocal admission with my membership in the American Horticultural Society.
Forgotten Gardens of the Islands of Salvation
Devil’s Island was an isolated prison from 1852-1953 with some 80,000 prisoners held in unspeakably horrible conditions during that time. Now we tourists wander about it looking at the crumbling buildings, glancing at the chapel paintings done by the imprisoned art forger, Francis Lagrange.
The Sunnyside garden sits high on a hill in just east of the Capital, St Georges, in Grenada. You must walk a broad, steep and uneven driveway to reach the gardens. Once again the garden is placed to take advantage of the best views. The true gardener for this property was a woman, who had her own money and a passion for plants. Today she is nearly 90, and unable to physically or mentally participate in the gardening. Her son, Randy and his family have taken over the care of the garden and are just beginning to manage it so cruise tours can visit. Many improvements are needed but there is a collection of plants and a treasure of designs built by decades of dedication.
This small country seasons the world with nutmeg (20% of the world’s supply), mace, cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, bay leaf, and cacao. This agricultural output rightly gives the country the spice isle title. It is also a land of rich volcanic soil. The weather here is 78 degrees and sunny, rainy spells, averaging 218 rainy days. The island is humid but balmy sweet breezes keep the temperature bearable. Grenada sits at the end of the hurricane range but Hurricane Ivan hit in September 2004 damaging 90% of the homes and killing 39 people. Before that damage was fully repaired Hurricane Emily hit in July 2005. The damage can still be seen today with stacks of pulverized cars and trucks sitting around the island. What do you do with the trash when it comes in such enormous amounts? The vegetation helps some since Pink Coral vines grow wild here and cover some of the junk.