Relaxing Garden

It was a quiet morning at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.  We almost had the garden to ourselves.

Clever set of benches built into a pergola type cover that leads into the central part of the garden.

To me, the bronze statues of children was as strong an attraction as the shrubs and flowers.  Early October was still warm enough for Begonias and other flowering plants.

Angel Wing Begonias, named for the shape of their leaves, is a hardy hybrid.  Seeds from the annual Flamingo Celosia (Celosia spicata) must be saved in order to propagate it.  Mine never looked this bright and healthy.

Same group of plants with some Lantana added.   This one looks like Lil Miss Lantana, but it could be another hybrid.

Many garden designers suggest that it’s best to stick to the same plants throughout the garden.  I don’t personally agree, but the bright colors were nice.  I like to see plants that surprise me.

This new display is a little difficult to comprehend.  This is a giant butterfly.  The wings will probably be planted with colorful flowers in the spring.  The standing metal part in the center is the actual body of the butterfly.  Looks like it’s intended to be viewed from above.

Nice calming stream.

If this is man-made, lots of boulders had to brought in.

It’s hard not to feel the joy of a child experiencing this garden.  Sure made me smile.

The only other people we encountered in the gardens were mothers with young children and babies in strollers.  What a perfect way to expose your children to nature.

Loved the form of this Japanese Thundercloud Pine (Pinus thunbergii ‘Thunderhead’).  It’s obvious to see how it got its name.

The only indications that it was Autumn were the cool morning and the Ornamental Cabbages and dried grasses.

Next post will be the last one on the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.

“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”  Peter Marshall

Botanical Garden at Fayetteville

In October we visited The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Their website states that it is 44 acres in size.  But only 4 acres are in cultivation.  So, by large city botanical gardens standards, it’s small.  Therefore, less time is needed to stroll through it.

Near the entrance on one side were small garden plots planted and maintained by garden clubs and individuals.  This one has three different colors of Gomphrena – purple, lavender, and white.  Not sure what the orange/yellow flowers are.

These plots were not quite as manicured as the main gardens.  Keep promising myself that I’m going to get some Cosmos seeds.  Maybe this spring.

Cosmos is an annual that has tall stems and reseeds well.

Label titles this Garden King and notes that it’s constructed from found metals.

Hyacinth Bean Vine is an annual, so seeds must be saved.  Another wish plant for me.  This tends to be a pass-a-long plant, meaning that friends share seeds.

Like the lime green Stone Crop ground cover.

The path to the right bisects the main gardens.  Another paved pathway forms a circle around this garden area.  Around the perimeter of the entire cultivated area, a dirt path forms the outer edges of the garden.

Neon bright Gomphrena creates a bold entrance to the main garden.

Interesting combination of Coleus and Cockscomb (Celosia cristata).  Both are annuals.  Coleus can be overwintered inside.  It will become straggly, so in spring, cut the stems and root in water for fresh plants.  Seeds from Cockscomb can be harvested.

I thought this was a Candlabra bush, but the leaves aren’t like others that I’ve seen.

My favorite park of the gardens were all the bronze statues of children at play.

The next post will feature more of these statues.

“Gardens and flowers have a way of bringing people together, drawing them from their homes.” Clare Ansberry, 

Hard Work U.

College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, is unique in that students do not pay tuition.  Instead, they each work 15 hours a week at a specific job on campus.  If they need help paying room and board, they can work during the summer months to earn that.

The campus is stunning and all the students we met were outgoing and polite.  The building behind this pond is the cafeteria.  One of the campus jobs is cooking the meals.  I don’t know how much supervision is involved, but at other places we saw, mostly students doing the work and running the place.

There is a large museum featuring Ozark crafts, dishes, furniture, etc.  The vehicle shown is from the Beverly Hillbillies show.  Students were selling tickets and walking around answering questions.

Some years ago, a major news channel did a show about the university and gave it the nickname Hard Work University.  It stuck and has been proudly adopted by the college.

This large bed has banana trees (I think that’s what they are), Elephant Ears, salvias, and other hardy plants.

This is a Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias Curassavica).  Actually, there is a controversy brewing about this plant right now.  It is obviously not native and could have a fungus growing on it that is harmful to the Monarch Butterfly.  Since this is the only plant where Monarchs lay their eggs and is the only food source for their caterpillars, there is concern about this.  Research is continuing, and the opposing opinions are strong.

Another job for students is running the grist mill and the store that sells cornmeal.

In other buildings they make stained glass, jams and jellies, and fruitcakes.  All these employ students to cover their tuition.  At the entrance to the campus, visitors check in, where a student gives them information about the school and how it all works.

One of the amazing things to us was how many visitors this campus draws.  So there are plenty of customers for their products.

Wondered what kind of pine this is.  Very stately.

Something for other private schools to consider.

Students in the Horticulture department were having a plant sale, featuring Crysanthemums, Celosias, what looks like Cattail pond plants, and whatever the tall tropical plants with the big leaves are.  Some of the greenhouses were open.  In one, they were selling succulents.  I asked one student if her major was horticulture.  She said no, but she grew up on a farm, loved plants, and wanted to work in the greenhouses.  So I guess students get some choices about their jobs.

What a truly pleasant place to spend a day.

“Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.”  Henry Ford

Peaceful and Serene

At the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, a beautiful church in the center of the campus rises up in the sky.

It is a Christian college but has no affiliation with any specific denomination.  The church on campus has some characteristics of Gothic architecture, which arose during the 1100’s and 1200’s medieval times in Europe.

The most obvious Gothic design is the tall, upward height, reaching up to the heavens.

Some other characteristics are obvious.  The Pointed arches  and vaulted ceilings were used to distribute the weight of the heavy ceilings and bulky walls.  The Gothic buildings brought a new era of light and airy spaces because light flowed in through the stained glass windows.

The architectural style before Gothic was Romanesque, which were much lower buildings with dark, damp interiors.

I love stained glass windows and this grand old style architecture with stone walls.  They inspire worship.

I got carried away with pictures, but am not showing all of them.  Note the arches.

Last inside one.  Gorgeous.

The characteristics of Gothic that are not present in this building are flying buttress to spread the weight of the tall walls (think Notre Dame), gargoyles (those monstrous creatures, used as spouts to drain rainwater from the roof), and excessive filigree stone decorations on the outside.

By the way, it was called modern architecture when the Gothic cathedrals were build.  Later, when the Renaissance style became popular, those architects dubbed this style Gothic, referring to the barbarians who invaded Europe hundreds of years earlier.  They considered the Gothic style a blight that have covered Europe.

To each his own.  I love it.

This stands in front of the church.  The church bells were playing a hymn while we were there.

This planting of Ornamental Peppers (Capsicum annuum) was a surprise choice for a median in a campus road.  Very bright and cheerful.

Next post will sum up more about the college.

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”  Abraham Lincoln

Honoring Veterans

A memorial area honoring veterans at the entrance of the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri, depicts one of the characteristics of the university – to honor those in the military and those who have served in the past.

A young man salutes the US flag as he prepares to report for duty in the 1940’s.

Students and staff worked on the installation and grounds of these tributes.  Native stones were used for the walls.

Young men across American were drafted to fight in World War II.  The Greatest Generation or the GI Generation formed our country into a strong, sacrificing group of people.

The statistics from this war are staggering.  Over 60 million people were killed during WWII, which was over 3% of the world’s population at the time.  22 to 25 million of those people were soldiers, including 5 million who died in captivity as prisoners of war.  407,300 Americans soldiers were victims of this war.

This memorial recognizes and honors Veterans from all US wars, with an emphasis to those from Missouri.

This private Christian university strives to teach many life lessons to students.

Vietnam Veterans wall is divided to represent the divided country as US citizens were divided on the war, the issues, and US involvement during this time.  The red flowers symbolize the blood that was shed by the soldiers who died.

The tiles on the other side of the flowers state “All gave some, Some gave all.”

58,209 Americans died in the Vietnam War from combat and other circumstances.

A plaque from each branch of service shows their symbols.

36,534 Americans gave their lives in the Korean War.

This monument and others were generously contributed by the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris.

Behind the statue is the Veterans Grove.  This idea for this grove came from a trip made to Belgium when students and veterans visited Peaces Woods in Bastogne.  One student noticed the impact this memorial had on the veterans and mentioned to a professor that it would be nice if the college had something similar.

Each veteran from the trip was honored with the planting of a Sugar Maple, which is aligned with others to create the same unique pattern of the marble crosses at the American cemeteries in Europe.  Next to each tree is a bronze marker with a veteran’s name.

Can’t remember which war this statue recognizes.  I think it’s Vietnam.

Global War on Terrorism recognizes all modern soldiers who have served to fight those who want to destroy Americans and our freedoms.

Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial preserves the memories of the fallen, the families who lost them, and is a stark reminder that freedom is not free.

If you’re ever in this area, this memorial is well worth the time.  The figures given for each of the wars came from the internet, so I hope they are correct.

The next blog will focus on the university campus.

Thank you to every person serving in our military at this present time and to the living veterans, who live with the horrific memories of your service.

“In peace, sons bury their fathers.  In war, fathers bury their sons.”  unknown

Gray Days of Winter Around the Corner

Enjoying a few more days of some color in the yard.

A few Jackman Clematis purple flowers hang on the vine.

Although all the foliage is gone, some Whirling Butterfly Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) still  waves in the wind.  Behind that are some red blossoms on a Flame Acanthus.

Henry Duelburg Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea) doesn’t want to say goodbye just yet.

This year the Mexican Flame Vine (Senecio confusus) won’t be carried inside, so it may pass away completely.  Each year we haul it in and each spring it takes forever for it to recover, and it seldom blooms.  So I give up.  It belongs in zones 10 – 11, but I was trying to push the envelop.

On a misty, overcast day, native Flame Prairie Sumac (Rhus Lanceolata) looks like it’s on fire.

This year the Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) has lots of tiny orange red berries.  I love the fact that it’s an evergreen tree.

Possumhaw Holly (Ilex decidua) berries are a little bigger and redder.  A winter treat for the birds. It’s a Texas native and a very hardy small tree with multiple trunks.

The tree/bush is very full of berries.

A few buds have shown up on the Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) .  It quit blooming months ago when the heat got too intense.  It’s also called Apricot Mallow based on the color of its flowers.

Maggie Rose (Rosa ‘Maggie’) just keeps on blooming.  It’s a fragrant bourbon rose that likes our climate.

Bought this bush a couple of years ago and kept it in a shed until I had a place for it.  It has surprised me because the limbs have grown so long and gangly, and the magneta globe flowers are so tiny.

Have lost the tag and can’t identify it.

It has a tendency to spread out.  So it’s really too close to other plants.  I’ll worry about that next year.

Several of the David Austin roses I have don’t flower very well.  But this Thomas A. Beckett blooms often and the bush looks healthy.

Duranta (Duranta erecta) flowers last a long time.

I moved this Mint to a container because it was taking over a flower bed.  Even in tight confines, it’s doing well here.

“One kind word can warm three months.”  Japanese proverb

What Happened to Autumn?

The middle of October was still in the throes of summer.  Here we are on the last day of October.  Last night was a hard freeze.  So all those jobs that we postponed because it was too hot and had planned to do in autumn, probably won’t get done this year.

Today the sun is shining.  Apparently, the freeze didn’t kill anything.

Autumn Purple Asters are in bloom.  These were divided a few years ago.  It looks like that task needs to be repeated.

Pretty little fellows.

Last spring I planted a couple of Country Girl Mums (Chrysanthemum ‘County Girl’).  They got so tall that they flopped over.  So this coming year, I plan to trim them back a bit in the summer.

But aren’t they gorgeous?  They have full pedals, like daisies.

Not readily available in box stores.  Look for them in a local, privately owned nursery.

Strawberry Fields Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth) is also difficult to find.  But well worth the search.  They reseed beautifully.

The spots on this Cannova Yellow Canna Lily from Monrovia makes it a little different from the usual canna lily.Good old dependable Belinda’s Dream survived the summer well and produced another flurry of blooms when the weather cooled just a tad.

This unknown native showed up a couple of years ago in a flowerbed.  They’re easy to pull up, so it’s not a problem when they pop up.  I pull some and leave some because they fill in some bare spots once the Purple Coneflowers and Daisies give up the ghost in the relentless heat of summer.

I’ve looked in my native flower books to identify them.  So far, no luck.

Three new Smoke Bushes (Cotinus coggygria) made it through the summer.  Maybe next year they will bloom with smokey plumes in the fall.  Thankfully, they are drought tolerant.

I think this is a Gomphrena globosa, commonly known as globe amaranth.  It grows differently than the Strawberry Gomphrena because they are individual plants.  This one is a short rounded shrub.

This is a rose that I propagated, so I don’t know which one it is.  I propagate several different kinds of roses at the same time.  They are labeled at first.  When they get transplanted, my labeling system breaks down.  Need to work on that.

Gregg’s Blue Mist Flower (Conoclinium greggii) is still blooming and attracting some butterflies.

If the cold weather continues, all these beauties will die and reappear next spring.

The next blog will show a few more flowers that are hanging on.

“Don’t let the world convince you that trusting is for fools and forgiving is for the weak.  These gifts are blessings given to you that prove that you have an amazing capacity to love and that you have goodness in your heart.” Brigitte Nicole

Crystal Bridges

Alice Walton grew up in Bentonville, sort of an art wasteland.  Her exposure to art came from library books.  She and her mother painted watercolors together.  Her first purchase of a major work by Picasso came from money she earned working at her father’s store.

Now, a wealthy woman from her father, Sam Walton’s estate, she decided to have an art museum in Bentonville, which is free to the public.

A lake was dug and the buildings placed across it, like covered bridges.

The crystal part of the name came from all the glass walls.

The art is protected from the light because it hangs in rooms in the center of the buildings.  The collection is American art with some very notable artists included.  The art begins with artists from the revolutionary time and continues into the modern time.

One temporary exhibit was in a small dark room with a curving pathway through it.  Two people were allowed inside at a time.

Mirrors, lights, and hanging Japanese lanterns created an other worldly experience.

Outside, a well kept area invites people to stroll through the grounds.  Now that’s what an American Beauty Berry bush should look like – full of clusters of magenta colored berries.

Behind the museum is a native forest that has walking trails and art displayed.  This Chiuily art in a boat looks like it’s on a sea of grass.  The early morning dew, paired with spots of sunlight, emphasized the bright colors of the glass.

Pieces of art by what looks like amateurs to me were mystifying.

Some sculptures were huge, like this canoe one.

Guess they are encouraging modern art.

Dale Chihuly’s glass masterpieces are amazing.  I’m blown away every time I see them.

Still wonder how on earth these individually blown glasses are connected together.

So impressive.

“Flowers in Bloom Now” by Yayir Kusama is constructed from steel and urethane paint.  One of her trademarks is Polka dots.

This deer stands about 11 feet tall.  Strange.

Most of the woods is too shady for many flowers.  These Toad Lilies, with their tiny flowers, caught my eye.

If you’re ever in Bentonville, love art and nature, impressive Crystal Bridges is a must visit.

“To me, people everywhere need access to art and that’s what we didn’t have here, and that’s why Crystal Bridges is so important.  It’s important that it be located here.”      Alice Walton

Ft. Smith

Ft. Smith was an overnight stop on the way to Bentonville.  Early the next morning after we arrived, we walked around downtown to see some of the large murals on buildings.  We didn’t see all the murals because of time constraints.

Ft. Smith is actually the second largest city in Arkansas with a population of just under 90,000, but little appreciated, in my opinion.  Lacking the natural beauty of the mountains and greenery of the northern part of Arkansas, they found a way to add interest to the city. The art festival and projects have brought new life and recognition to the city.

Sidewalk art, probably by children and teens, was on a wide walkway in front of a small park area.

The numbers on each picture suggested contest entries.

The focal point in this small park was this fountain in the center.

The downtown area with older buildings, some of which were undergoing renovations, was clean and neat.  Since it was early, we were about the only ones walking around.

It was evident that the artists were professionals.

Not a big fan of modern art and wonder about the symbolism, but I certainly appreciate the talent to produce this quality of art, especially on a large scale.

We wondered if these people were prominent past citizens.  Since it was too early for the Visitor’s Center to be open, we didn’t have access to information about the murals.

This one speaks to the western history of the area.

For some reason, this one disturbed me, but the detail was excellent.

On a long wall, two almost mirror images faced each other.

Could not begin to interpret this.

Huh?

I salute any town or area that works to improve their aesthetics.  Unfortunately, sometimes, it is too costly to be done.  Good job, Ft. Smith.

“Improvement begins with I.”   Arnold H. Glasow

Shade Welcome

For those who have mostly shady yards, there are different problems than for those of us who have mostly sunny yards.  Since some plants absolutely require shade, I have a few spots where they can grow.

The leaf shape of Purple Oxalis (Oxalis triangularis) gives it another common name, False Shamrock.  But the leaf color gives it a distinctive look of boldness.

Woodland Fern does well here because it can handlefrom-spring-into-fall heat, and the roots survive a cold winter.  This flowerbed against the house doesn’t receive direct sun.  Ferns enjoy a little dappled light, just like they would received in the woods.

One shady spot I have is at the back of the yard under a large Live Oak.  So pots of shade loving plants can go there.  The pot with white flowers is Plumbago (Plumbago capensis).  I actually prefer the Plumbago with purple flowers, but the one I had died.

The taller stems behind the Plumbago are Ornamental Garlic.  The larger leaves on the right side belong to a Datura or Moon Flower (Datura wrightii).

In this same area in a blue pot is Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) or Christ Plant.  Love the small flowers but am leery of the thorns.

All the plants are in pots because I don’t want to disturb the roots of the tree.  Also, some of them need inside protection during the winter.

One corner of a covered back porch has shade most of the day.  This area is filled with pots of Coleus and Old Fashioned Geraniums, meaning an old variety that is not sold in nurseries.  The past two years I have become a fan of a variety of Coleus with their lovely leaf colors and shapes.

Some of the Coleus are pass-a-longs from friends.  They root well in water.

This Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) also sits on a stand in that corner.  Just about the easier plant there is to grow.  The “spiders” that grow on long stems from the center become new plants when put into soil.

This is a corner of a front covered porch where pots of plants have been gathered.  Autumn Joy Sedum is blooming now.  To the left of that in another pot is some Columbine foliage.

A large pot of Asparagus Fern (Asparagus aethiopicus) is long lived when brought inside for the winter.  It will also recover from winter because the fibrous roots are very hardy.  But it takes a long time for the foliage to grown back and to become attractive again.

At the back of that covered porch is a line of Boston Ferns that are 25 years old.  They have been divided several times.  The rabbit container holds another Old Fashioned Geranium.

Purple Heart or Wandering Jew (Tradescantia pallida) returns every spring like clockwork in a shady flowerbed.Actually, shade is a welcome relief for lots of living creatures, including me during this long lived summer and continued drought.  The temperatures have fallen a bit, so that’s a treat.  Seriously need some rain.

Hope your autumn is cool and crisp with lovely yellow, orange, and auburn colors.

“We, the people, are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to over throw the Constitution but to overthrow the men who would pervert the Constitution.”  Abraham Lincoln