January in New Orleans offers Camelias, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, and the anticipation of Mardi Gras season. A walk through the Garden District with grand houses and mossy green balustrades gives a peak of the garden challenges in this area. In my garden every drop of water is precious and purposely placed, here water is in the air, and preventing overgrowth is part of gardening. One must pull out, cut back, lift up, so the chosen plants are allowed to see the sun.
One of my favorite BBC shows is “As Time Goes By” w/ Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer playing Jean and Lionel. In the show, many a dilemma is smoothed over with the quintessential British option of a Gin & Tonic. I notice that bit because my cocktail of choice is a G & T. After all what else should a gardener drink? Gin is infused w/ botanicals such as juniper berries, lemon peel, almonds, cucumber, chamomile, angelica root, apple, coriander, leaves, fruits, and flowers, it is a liquid combination of the garden. I’ve been traveling in England for a few weeks and I was surprised to discover that Gin is having its moment of fame all over the cocktail and retail scape of the country. How else can you explain the varieties of gins for sale in the market?
Penelope Lively in her book, Life in a Garden, writes “. . gardening has this embracing quality in that it colors the way you look at the world.” I like that thought and I believe it. I believe it is a very good thing.
Matthaei Botanical Garden, Ann Arbor, MI affiliated w/ University of Michigan.
We were confused about where to park and as a result we ended up at the far side of the office building away from the main entrance of the conservatory. This turned out to be the best possible start to the day.
I was walking the red brick sidewalks of Germantown near downtown Columbus, OH when I stopped mid-step. Before me, evidence of a passionate plants person appeared. Gardeners can’t hide their enthusiasm for life, they reveal themselves, with flowering vines leaking out through the fence,
When I travel to visit gardens my husband and I have fully embraced Airbnb accommodations. We’ve traveled to New Zealand, Australia, Canada and many of the US States staying with hosting individuals in a room with a view. We look for properties with photos of gardens as part of their home since that assures us we have something in common before we arrive. I have nothing but good things to say about this type of travel experience, we meet interesting people, enjoy fantasy real estate both in location and floor plans. We find great surprises.
It’s that time of year to connect with family and friends, a tradition that sweetens the season for us. I hope you and those you love are preparing for your favorite holiday traditions.
Fellow garden lover Curtis Siller recently traveled to Minneapolis and while there visited Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and he offers this visit.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (MLA), in Chaska, recently won top spot in the “Best Botanical Garden in the United States” contest by USA Today. MLA covers more than 1,200 acres of gardens, woods and prairies, showcasing over 5,000 plant species. It displays flowering shrubs, trees and plants, interspersed with sculpture,places for meditation and reflection, and special exhibitions. An adjoining building contains a horticultural library and conservatory.
Napier, NZ is a remarkable cityscape of Art Deco architecture. As beautiful as it is, its very existence is the result of a great destructive tragedy. In 1931, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake lasting 1:31 minutes demolished the city, rearranged the sea coast and forever changed the topography of the area. During our seven week visit to New Zealand, we experienced a brief 10-second rock and roll aftershock of the devastating Akaroa earthquake in 2016. I found it a sobering glimpse of what an earthquake means to a community. For Napier in 1931, the added economic weight of the Great Depression would seem to dash any hope the town could rebuild itself. Commercial buildings and homes all needed to be rebuilt. But within two years Napier did rise from its destruction and as a result built a modern, artful city.
I’m not gardening with all native plants! Life is too short to limit one’s garden to plants that are “indigenous to a given area in geologic time.” Sure there are lots of benefits for that approach in gardens but I’m diversifying. Every garden travel adventure introduces me to new plants. The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Tropico’s plant database reports “Botanists have published more than 1.2 million plant names since 1753,” so there is no way I will ever see all the genus, species, and hybrids. Just thinking of all the possibilities for my little piece of earth makes me do a happy dance. When I find a Bat flower (Tacca chantrieri) blooming in the shape of a flying bat or the African turtle plant, (Dioscorea elephantipes) that grows a big woody base resembling the shell of a turtle, I get curious, I get excited, I want to see if I could grow it in my garden.