Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Woodland Gardens, outside of Hot Springs, is a 210 acre botanical garden.  The University of Arkansas owns the gardens for the purpose of education and research.

We visited in October, so chrysanthemums were prominent.   Yellow Cannas behind them are blooming, also.

At first, this bench tricks the eyes, but the back of the bench is actually a photograph.

Love how the sunlight makes the tops of this grass sparkle.

I think these are Azaleas, although it seems the wrong time of the year for the blooms.  It was still warm but shady in most parts of the gardens.

The peaceful, quiet spots are one of the attractions of these gardens.

More Azaleas?

On a weekday, we encountered very few people.  Except for all the paved paths, there is an allusion of being alone in remote woods.

American Beauty Berry has a few berries with a lone purple Plumbago flower.

Preparation for a Halloween event included several clusters of pumpkins and gourds.

Most of gardens consist of wooded areas.  There are a few open glades where sunlight  allows displays of shrubs and flowers.  A circle of Boxwood has a pot in the center to highlight purple and lime green potato vines.

Behind this grouping, metal butterflies look like they’re flying.  This was part of a partially set up exhibit.

One section shows off fairy or gnome houses.

Sorry for the bad photography conditions.  Strong sunlight shining into a shady area makes it difficult to get good pictures because the lighting is not the same in all of the picture.

Two workers in the background stopped to watch me take pictures.  Not sure if they were curious to see what I was photographing or just wanted a break.  We actually saw more workmen than visitors that day.

Garvan Gardens is a lovely place to take a slow walk and just enjoy a beautiful day.

“There are times in everyone’s life when something constructive is born out of adversity, when things seem so bad that you’ve got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it.”  Lee Iacocca

Hot Springs, AR

On our trip to Arkansas in October, we made a stop in Hot Springs.

From a high point, it’s easy to see that the town mostly occupies valleys between the hills or mountains

Hot Springs Mountain Tower is 216 ft tall and provides a 360 degree view of the area.  This tower opened in 1983.  Two other towers previously were installed there. In the 1800’s a 75 ft. wooden one was built, but struck by lightning in 1906 and burned down.

In 1906, the Rix Tower, a wireless telegraph tower was moved to the mountain.  It was constructed for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition in St. Louis. Just imagine  loading and moving the tower during that time frame.  It was taken down from Hot Springs Mountain in1975, due to instability.

The tower has an glass enclosed observation room with some historical exhibits.  Above that is an open air deck.

I should mention that there are stairs, which my husband climbed, and an elevator, which I used.  No need to be crazy.

Then we visited the Mid America Science Museum.  To greet visitors, an assortment of dinosaurs roar as people walk pass them.

There was a presentation on Tesla – nope, not the car.  But the man, Nikola Tesla, and some of his inventions.  He was a Croatian who immigrated to the US in 1884.

He worked for Thomas Edison, who by all accounts, tricked Tesla into improving Edison’s DC dynamos by promising him big money, which was never paid.  After working there for one year, Tesla left.

He was hired by Westinghouse, who gave him a lab and sponsored his launch of the first Alternating Current power grid in Boston.  Edison arranged for a New York murderer to be put to death using an AC powered electric chair to mock and ridicule Tesla.

That’s me with my nose to the globe, which caused the coil to spark towards me.  In the 1890s Tesla invented the Tesla Coil.  The Tesla coil produces high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity.

Some of the other patents he received included electric oscillators, meters, improved lights, radio communication.

Together, Tesla and Westinghouse lit the 1891 in Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition and partnered with General Electric to install AC generators at Niagara  creating the first modern power station.

Several exhibits demonstrated Rube Goldberg type movements and reactions.

One of the things I enjoyed about these is how they reflect the time frame of the early 1900’s.

Outside was a rope trampoline about 14 ft. up in the air.

Also, rope bridges connected one area to another one.  They definitely wobbled and bounced like the more scary ones seen over raging rivers in movies.

But these are safe.  A fun place to explore and learn.

“The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain.”   Nikola Tesla

On the Cusp of Winter

Although there was one early freeze, the temperatures since that night have been up and down, but still fairly mild.

This Red Oak has been losing its leaves slowly and is currently pretty bare.

So these pictures are a few weeks old.  Early morning light casts a golden light on the leaves.

…and gives the acorns a polished mahogany look.

Acorns and dead leaves cover the ground around all the Oaks.

Dried leaves of Crinim Lilies insulate the bulbs that will bring spring beauty.

A skeletal Bur Oak stands tall against the blue sky.  Burs produce huge acorns – the cap of one still hanging on.

The brittle, dried remains of Purple Cone flowers(Echinacea purpurea) provide visible interest in a winter garden.

Piet Oudolf, a Dutch gardener has become internationally known for his New Perennial Movement.  Basically, this means he advocates for how plants, mainly perennials, will look in all four seasons.  So these Cone flowers have a distinctive winter look that is noteworthy.  He designed several prominent public gardens in the US around this concept.Stalks of American Basketflowers  (Centaurea americana) stand tall and proud throughout the winter.  They have become one of my favorite Texas native wildflowers.

Leaves of Chinapin Oaks with their slender long shape don’t look like the leaves of most other Oaks.

Dried Gregg’s Blue Mist flowers look prickly but are actually soft.

Globe Mallow or Desert Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) tends to be evergreen or blue-gray green during the winters.  Some late orange buds remaining on plant.

The tops of tall Rose of Sharons (Hibiscus syriacus) form a sculpture against the sky.

More orange leaves from a Red Oak.

Fragile stems of a wildflower that I can’t identify.  They are volunteers each summer in a flowerbed.

The brilliant red leaves of a Red Oak on our county road stopped us in our tracks.

These small trees never have a chance to grow into full grown trees because the county maintenance crews periodically chop down the trees and other plants on the sides of the roads.

My observation – the native Red Oaks have deeper reds than those purchased from a nursery.

“The problem with winter sports is that–follow me closely here–they generally take place in winter.”   Dave Barry

Grand Old Ladies

Stately old houses have a unique charm.

This Queen Anne was part of a large estate built in the late 1800’s.

In 1926, it was sold for $7,000.  The original third floor tower with a finial was removed for safety reasons.

The woodwork throughout the house is stunning.

The magnificent parquet floors are in excellent condition.

Just look at the craftsmanship and challenging detail.

A large group of people were touring, so I couldn’t get many pictures inside this house.

This Queen Anne is a well-known landmark that sits on a hill beside a main highway at the edge of Weatherford.  Its location on a hill provided breezes that kept it cooler in the summer than most homes.  Five fireplaces kept it warm in the winter.

Detail woodwork added to the grandeur.  The house has ten bedrooms.  Originally, it had only one bathroom.

Many stained glass windows lets in some light without allowing the hot Texas sunlight inside.

I love old style stained glass – very nostalgic.

The house is currently a bed and breakfast.

The rooms are furnished with large scale beds.  Closet space has been turned into small bathrooms for each room.  One room has access to a hot tub in an enclosed area just outside the room.

A Greek Revival house build in 1890 suffered severe damage in a 2008 fire.  New owners restored the house with careful detail to keep its original style.

They made some concessions on material, covering the wraparound porch with this new, modern metal that is stronger and is fireproof.

These stained glass windows are hung as art pieces along with the old wooden panel.

Sorry for the blurry picture.

While doing renovation, this glass mirror was found under the house.  H. P. Newman company was founded in England in 1909 but the name was changed to Dorothy Perkins in 1919.  They specialize in women’s clothing and fashion.  The company was adept in changing styles in each decade and still manufactures women’s clothing.

The purses belonged to the homeowner’s aunt.

Cute way to utilize old family pictures.

This is the last of the Weatherford Christmas home tour.

Hope your Christmas is celebrated with friends and family and merry and bright.

“The reality is that old houses that were built a hundred years ago were built by actual craftsmen, people who were the best in the world at what they did. The little nuances in the woodwork, the framing of the doors, the built-in nooks, the windows—all had been done by smart, talented people …”  Joanna Gaines

Christmas Tour

The Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes in Weatherford usually features older 19th century homes.  However, the first home we visited was built in 2015 in the craftsman style of the late eighteen hundreds.  The builder is a well known local contractor who restores older homes and builds reproductions of those styles.

The wooden mantel actually is an period piece.

Plop some berries in a pencil holder and it looks Christmasy.

This is a decoupaged trunk to mimic the Victorian style.

All ready for Christmas dinner.

Nice touch with Magnolia leaves and a ball of berries.

I have a thing for stained glass lamps or stained glass anything that is good quality.  The small manager looks like Fontanini, which is very collectible.

The faience girl looks French.  Marie Antoinette? Its bright colors draws your eyes right to it.

Outside on a small upper balcony this display caught my attention.

Striking combination of red and white Poinsettias in a deep blue pot.

The back driveway made this a small yard.  But this side flowerbed provides space for a great Christmas vignette.  Pansies in front give it a little color.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” Credited to John Wesley, but disputed by some

Last Look at Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

If you visit gardens when you travel, new plants, new gardening designs, and new treats accumulate up in your mind and enrich your life.

Speaking of new plants, this one with trailing stems and tiny flowers intrigued me.

In the center of a small butterfly house sits this child enjoying the delight of those amazing creatures.  The plants and butterflies were sparse, so I don’t know if this structure is new or being renovated.

Another unknown plant – the spiky flowers made me wonder if it’s in the celosia family.

Dragon’s Breath Celosia with its strong red color in the leaves and tall brilliant red plumes demands attention in any garden.  In areas colder that zones 10 and 1I, it’s an annual.

This celosia requires full sun and some regular moisture.  It will become a tall plant with a commanding presence.  Plus, it reseeds easily.

This may inspire children to do a somersault.  Or maybe, some younger, limber adults.

I’m a recent convert to using grasses in the landscape.  Their movement and rustle in the wind soothes the soul.  Think this is Maiden Grass.  Gorgeous.

Ahh – sweet

I want some of these wooden trellis obelisks.  Who wouldn’t?

The flowers look like Netleaf Leather Clematis but I’m not sure.

Gardens provide a perfect vacation activity.  Some people may question this statement, but I’m guessing, that if you’re reading this, you will agree wholeheartedly.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  Blessings to you for this special holiday time of the year.

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.”  Ben Franklin

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