.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 snow, …

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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 is …

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.All Trips / Argentina / South America

Buenos Aires’ Jardin Botanico. A urban oasis

039 Buenos Aires Jardin Botanico 2014.  Fountain

Situated in Palermo, in the heart of Buenos Aires’ urban sprawl, is a lovely oasis of green, the Jardin Botanico.  The garden covers more than 7 hectares (17 acres) and brings together a large diversity of plant species (over 5500) in a setting that includes massive shade trees, many broad walking paths, fountains, statues, and places to sit and relax. Designed more than 100 years ago by French-borne architect and landscape designer Carlos Thays, in whose honor the garden is named, Jardin Botanico is a little run down (like much of the city is). Despite the need for repairs and more upkeep, the garden is a pleasant refuge on a hot day when you want to get away from the …

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