“Pic of the Week”, May 28, 2021: Great Green Wall, Madrid

Great Fauna Wall, Madrid (1)

It’s not every day you see a garden growing VERTICALLY! My wife and I stopped and did a double-take when strolling by this lovely wall, across the street from the famous Prado Museum in Madrid.
A little research revealed that the wall was designed by Patrick Blanc, who specializes in creating vertical gardens. This wall, which is four stories tall, has more than 15,000 plants representing 250 different species. The plants are watered by a drip irrigation system.
The wall was once part of a power plant dating to 1899, but today the building within it has been converted to an arts and cultural center.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

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.All Trips

The Ljubljana Botanical Garden

Unknown Photo – Copy

One of Ljubljana’s less visited sites is its Botanical Garden.  Situated about a half hour’s walk from the historic heart of the city, the garden is an interesting green diversion.  The walk  to the gardens takes you past some lovely scenes, like the ones below.

The Ljubljana Botanical Garden was established in 1810, making it the oldest botanical garden in southeastern Europe.  It’s affiliated with the city’s University and as such is a formal part of this scientific and educational institution. While it is quite small (just 2 hectacres — about 5 acres), it has a surprisingly large diversity of plant life and plant environments, with more than 4,500 different species, a third being native to Slovenia.

Ljubljana Botanical Garden

Ljubljana Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden plays an …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Palermo’s Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico)

01a Orto Botanico

While Sicily itself is green and lovely after the rains, Palermo doesn’t have many spacious parks or gardens.  This is in part why exploring Orto Botanico di Palermo (Palermo Botanical Garden) was a treat for my wife and I.  It covers about 30 acres and has a large and interesting variety of plants that are pleasant to stroll through.  Orto Botanico also conducts research for the Department of Botany, University of Palermo. 

The garden dates to 1779 when the University created a chair of “botany and medicinal properties” and dedicated a plot of land for a botanical garden.  The goal was to grow and study plants that useful had medicinal properties.  The garden was moved to the present site in 1786 when …

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

The Living Desert Wildlife and Botanical Park

desert

Unless you’ve driven across them, it’s hard to comprehend how vast the deserts of the American Southwest are.  While at first glance the region seems nearly lifeless, it’s rich in a diverse variety of hardy plant and animal life.  An excellent way to see this assortment of desert life is to stop everywhere and explore.  A much easier and more convenient way is to visit a botanical garden which, while not a perfect experience, is highly educational.  A place I’d recommend is the Living Desert, located in Palm Desert, California (very near Palm Springs), which provides a one-stop chance to explore the flora and fauna of America’s deserts –with an African sampler to boot!

Giraffes, Living Desert Museum

The Living Desert occupies …

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.All Trips / Florida / North America / Southeastern USA

Orlando’s Harry P. Leu Gardens

070b Leu Gardens, Orlando

If you’re in Orlando and grow tired of visiting the many theme parks, with their attendant crowds and long lines, then consider a visit to a beautiful southern garden.  In my research, the most recommended garden in Orlando was Harry P. Leu Garden, donated to the city by Mr. and Mrs. Leu in the 1960s.

Situated on 50 acres just north of downtown, the Leu Garden did not disappoint.  It’s truly lovely, with a beautiful assortment of shade trees including gigantic ancient oaks draped in Spanish Moss (which have survived a number of hurricanes over the years).  Orlando’s climate is conducive to a variety of temperate and tropical plants which the gardeners have arranged in a number of themed regions you can visit (a …

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.All Trips / Hawaii / North America

Wahiawa Botanical Garden, Oahu

00 Wahiawa Botanical Garden

I’m fond of exploring parks and libraries in the cities I visit, for different reasons.  Libraries are fun because I love and collect books, and because the quality of a city’s libraries tells me a lot about that city’s priorities.  Parks are places of escape, especially appealing in largest busiest cities because I quickly tire of wall-to-wall concrete.  An oasis of green is an amazing balm for the soul.

While visiting Oahu recently we  stopped by the Wahiawa Botanical Garden situated in a small town on the outskirts of Honolulu (and a convenient stop on the way to the Dole Plantation or the North Shore).  It’s one of five small parks under the supervision of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens and is …

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.All Trips / Central USA / Colorado / North America

A Stroll through the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Vail, Colorado

001 Betty Ford Alpine Garden 09-2014

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is the world’s highest botanical garden, situated at the foot of Vail Mountain in the Colorado Rockies, in gorgeous Vail Valley.  The Garden rests at an altitude of 8,200 feet (2,500 m) and is named in honor of former First Lady Betty, the wife of President Gerald Ford.  The Fords had a home in Vail as the President was an avid skier, and both were very active in the Vail community.  Ford Park consists of this alpine garden, a fairly large amphitheater complex, a children’s play area and a large grass field for soccer and such.  As you’d expect, these attractions are very popular in the warm Rocky Mountain summers.

While it’s currently likely under a blanket of …

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“Pic of the Week”. May 30, 2014: Lilac Garden, Spokane, Washington

017 Spokane Lilac Garden

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 …

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