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The Niagara Parks Floral Showcase is only 500 meters south of Horseshoe Falls. Greenhouses in the area date to the time of Queen Victoria, but the current complex was built the mid 20th century with several subsequent additions, including a large central atrium. The complex includes space for storing bulbs, planting and growing new flowers for the Floral Showhouse (and elsewhere in Niagara Parks), but that is a behind the scenes activity that you won’t see. What the visitor experiences after walking through the lovely grounds (enjoyable in the summer, less so in the winter) is a series of greenhouses that contain lush tropical vegetation, making it especially popular during times of cold weather.
Plants you’ll see include orchids and cacti, and many …
I love summer in the mountains, short though it may be. Winter has its own charm, especially if you like playing in the ice and snow, but summer is my season. Days are long and the weather is pleasant — sometimes even warm. People who live in the mountains know how to squeeze the most out of their short summer.
I recently spent more than 2 weeks in the American Rocky Mountains, much of this time in Colorado at altitudes between 6000 and 8500 ft above sea level. I was very impressed by the widespread planting of flowers in the small towns of the region. Blossoms were everywhere — planters, gardens, window boxes, hanging pots. The colors were beautiful, cheery and, …
Lilacs have always been special to me. I was born in the late spring and besides making me a birthday cake each year, I vividly recall my mom cutting a lovely bouquet of lilacs — just for me. It all made me feel like royalty! For this reason and because of how wonderfully fragrant their scent is, and how striking beautiful a bush of lilacs looks when in bloom, these have always been one of my favorite flowering plants.
Spokane, Washington, my former home city, has held an annual Lilac Festival for over 75 years and bears the nickname, “Lilac City”. Within the city’s main park, Manito Park, there’s a lovely Lilac Garden where these photos were taken. This garden …
Nothing says “spring has arrived” on the prairies more than the appearance of robins or the blooming of the prairie crocus. Crocuses are the first flowers to blossom on the plains each year after the snow’s gone. They’re the provincial flower of Manitoba and the floral emblem of South Dakota.
These photos were taken close to my home in Calgary (in Fish Creek Provincial Park) just a few days ago and are the first prairie crocuses I’d seen bloom for years. Prairie crocuses once were very prevalent across the central plains of North America but with the disruption of natural grassland (and its conversion to housing tracts and farmland), you’ll only see them occasionally. They’re beautiful and short-lived, so enjoy them …
Our journey around Ireland next took us north to the Cliffs of Moher. From Dingle we headed through Tralee then to the Tarbert ferry over the River Shannon. The ferry ride can save you considerable time (the other option being driving all the way around the river) but it only runs once an hour so you need to check its schedule and time your arrival accordingly. The ferry ride lasts about 15 minutes and it was cold but very scenic.
Soon we’re in County Clare and our main stop of the day not far ahead, the famous Cliffs of Moher (pronounced Maahrr), Ireland’s most popular natural tourist attraction which draws over a million visitors a year. …