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, 

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

More Gardens at Moss Mountain

Last post from Moss Mountain near Little Rock.

vegetable1We leave the house heading to the vegetable gardens and the rose garden.  The wood on the front of this buggy is so polished that it is a mirror for some bushes.

vegetableThese are the bushes reflected on the buggy.  Unusual containers – usually hanging wire baskets are filled with sphagnum moss to hold in the soil.

vegetable2We walk on a road by the parking lot…

vegetable3past some fields for sheep.  These are the Katahdin breed of sheep that don’t have wool but hair, so they don’t have to be sheared.

vegetable4The entrance to the vegetable garden.

vegetable5These small buildings are probably tool sheds.

vegetable6The light was strong by late morning and washed out the pictures.  Different kinds of lettuce along with chives?  In the background is a long wire archway.  It is tall enough to walk through, like a tunnel.  If you have watched P. Allen Smith’s TV show, you know he uses these to grow vine plants, like squash.

vegetable7The plant growing up the pole is Hyacinth Bean.  I asked the young girl who was our escort if they were edible.  She replied that she guessed so since they were planted in the vegetable gardens.

I have only seen them grown for the beautiful flowers in summer, so I looked on the internet.  From what I gleamed, if you eat the beans when they are young and green, that’s okay.  But older dry bean have a high amount of cyanogenic glycosides, which are not good for you.  However, these are also found in seeds of some fruits, in some vegetables, and nuts. Mature or dry beans should not be eaten raw.  The process to cook them sounds a lot like boiling pinto beans.  All this is from a book Eat the Weeds.

More than you wanted to know?

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vegetable9As we leave the vegetable garden, we pass between two stag statues and walk down a steep path towards the rose garden.

vegetableaThis overlook is at the end of the gravel path.  To the left and right are arching walkways down the hill.

vegetablebbThis view looks back up to the lookout spot.

vegetablebThe rose gardens are formal with an European look.

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vegetableeThis was early May, so some of the roses were not in full bloom.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t find any scented ones.

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vegetableffReally like this feature – a castle look.

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vegetablehLeaving the rose garden, we take a lower pathway back to the house.

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vegetablejIt seems that much thought was put into the views of the house from all angles.

vegetablekThe screened porches on the first and second floors at back of the house.

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures from this part of our trip.  Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog.

“Know who you are and be who you are.”  P. Allen Smith

Upstairs at Moss Mountain

As we head upstairs inside the house at Moss Mountain, notice the pictures on almost every wall.

upstairsLovely staircase that almost makes me want one, except that I’d have put these poor old knees through torture every day.

upstairs1At the top of the stairs is a collection of Native American pictures.

upstairs44Off the main hallway is a guest powder room.

upstairs2A guest bedroom has two twin beds: one on either side of a medal trunk used as a table.

upstairscIn the hallway landing is a mini study with book shelves and eclectic items.  If there had been more time, I could have stood in this area and read book titles and studied pictures for hours.

upstairsdAn interesting greeter.

upstairseNot sure what this light fixture was originally or what object it is supposed to look like.

upstairsfAllen likes his books.  As do I.

upstairs11The master bedroom is spacious.

upstairs3A desk in the corner with more pictures.

upstairs111Still in the master bedroom.

upstairs4And an en suite bath.

upstairsgAt the back of the house is a screen porch with beds for guests.

upstairsiAnd, of course, a wonderful view.

upstairshAt one end of the room is a metal tub.  Not sure if it is actually functional or decorative.  There are towels hanging on a small ladder to the left.

upstairs5This casual living area is on the third floor.

upstairs6Where there is a large bedroom with four beds for Allen’s nieces and nephews.

upstairs7Cute.  It seems he enjoys whimsy.

upstairs8I like the beaded boards on the walls and ceilings everywhere on the third floor.

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upstairsaAnother view of the Arkansas River.

upstairskAs we head down the stairs, more pictures and busts of American founding fathers or composers?

upstairslThat concludes the tour of the house.

“Who is the happiest of men?  He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy as though it t’were his own.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

House at Moss Mountain

The visit to Moss Mountain near Little Rock included a house tour as well as all the gardens and animal pens.

mossmkkThe group is gathering to hear the introduction to the tour and how it will all unfold.  With 80 attending, 40 go inside the house at a time.

The house has three stories and a basement, where media equipment is kept and the editing is done for his shows.

Notice that the entry door is on the left side of the house.  Also, there is a bumped out room to the left of the house and one to the right side.

Built in the Greek Revival style that was popular in the US during the 1800’s, a pedimented or triangular gable can be seen at the top of the side of the house. Other characteristics include the symmetrical overall shape and the columns on the front porch.

livingareaaaA wide hallway runs to the back of the house with two large living areas on the right.  At the back of the house is a large screened porch that stretches across the width of the house.

livingareaffJust as we entered the door, to the left is a small area that gives the first clue to P. Allen Smith‘s interests.  He is obviously a collector of colonial style pictures and artifacts.

livingareaWith 40 people in the house, my pictures will definitely include people.  The front living room has a rather formal feel.

True to the Greek Revival style, no crown molding is used.

livingareahThe three small pedestal tables between the couches are interesting, but no history was given.  Many sofas and chairs are slip covered.

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livingarea44Tucked under the window is an antique tea caddy.  Because tea was a valued commodity, it was kept in a locked container.  The lady of the house carried the key and unlocked it when needed.

livingarea222Pictures and books are everywhere. The apple picture is one of Allen’s.  He painted other similar pieces of fruit.

livingareabbIn the corner is a pear painting from that series.

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livingarea1Looking from the living room into a more casual area that I would call a den, note the thickness of the wall.  The heating and cooling return ducts are above the doorway.  On either side are storage closets.  Clever.

livingarea555In the more casual living space.

livingarea66On the right is a glimpse of the screened porch.

livingareaccThe picture on the left shows Allen with Presidents Clinton and Bush.  On the right, he’s with Prince Charles and someone I don’t recognize.

livingarea5The kitchen is in the room on the right side of the house.  This kitchen is different than the one used on his cooking shows on HGTV.  So I’m guessing that kitchen is in one of the buildings behind the main house.

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livingarea7Fresh flowers in vases scattered around the house.

livingarea8The screened porch has a fantastic view.  Several zinc covered tables are placed around the property, including outside, indicate either that he likes them a lot or that zinc is very sturdy and long lasting.  Maybe it is both.

livingarea9These plantation style shutters block out the west sun.

livingareagI didn’t count the number of dining tables in the house, but there are at least three.

livingareabAt the far left side of the porch is this small sofa.  It is set back into a nook that protects it from the weather.

livingareaeWalking back out into the main hallway.

livingareadOn the left side of the house is a studio.  This part is storage for vases and other decorating items.

livingareacBeyond that, under the staircase is a small guest bathroom.

livingarea33Across from the staircase.  The living space is spacious and contains many items of interest.  It seemed to reflect a man with many interests and talents.

This is just the first floor.  Another post will feature upstairs.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”  George Moore

Moss Mountain

The next stop on our trip early in May was Moss Mountain, the farm of P. Allen Smith.  He is considered a plant and animal guru.  His program on HGTV features short vignettes about flower and vegetable gardening as well as raising farm animals and cooking.

mossmThe large post oak in front of the house is named Big Sister.

mossm1On specific days each month, tours of the farm and house are open to the public.  Reservations are necessary, and it’s not cheap.

Allen was not there that day, but the whole day was orchestrated very well.

Lunch was served at noon.  We ate in a room in the barn that had round tables to accommodate 80 people.  The large white tent has long tables for larger groups.

mossm4The house was built in 2007-2008 in the Greek Revival style, which was popular in the south during the mid 1800’s.

I had assumed that the property was inherited, but it was found by his friend who had flown a plane over the area and described it to Allen.

mossm2A dry rub of sulfur was put on the brick to provide an old house look.  The room protruding out on the left side is an art studio.  He also does some painting.

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mossm6The room on the right side of the house is the kitchen.

mossm7Behind the house in the gardens are three other buildings.  One is seen here.

mossm8My pictures don’t do justice to the gardens.  Behind the house are two parallel walkways through the bushes, flowers, and trees.  They are on different levels since the ground slopes down towards the Arkansas River.

mossm9Most of the flowerbeds were designed like this one with tall shrubs in the back, shorter ones in front of those, and low annuals in front.  Lots of manpower needed to plant all those flowers.

mossmaaThis is the side door into the art studio.

mossmbA corner bed where a pathway from the house joins another walkway.  The lime green plant is Stonecrop Sedum.  It was used in several places to frame a bed.

mossmbbGerbera Daisies with Petunias

mossmccWe did not go into the two smaller houses in the back because the doors were closed.

mossmdThis shows the slope down to the first path behind the house.

mossmddI was surprised that pots around the garden contained agaves.  That area is in the same plant zone I’m in:  8a, used to be 7b.  Some years during cold winters, they would freeze.  Maybe they do bring them inside, but that looks like a heavy metal container.

mossmeAllen designed these white towers.

mossmeeAlthough I don’t know the size of the gardens around the house; I’m guessing it would be two or three acres.

Most of the rose bushes around the house appeared to be Knockouts.

mossmfThis hexagon or octagon (can’t remember) building was on lowest side of the garden paths.

mossmffThere was straw on the floor, but I don’t know the building’s purpose.

mossmgIn the background is the river.  Many of the gardens are organized and neat but informal in the plantings.

mossmggPathways led to some garden rooms or sections that are somewhat closed off.

mossmhAs I remember, these are testing beds.  There were small signs in several beds throughout the gardens that indicate that different growers had provided plants.

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mossmjjThese gates open to a more formal garden style.

mossmkThis grassy area is between two rows of trees leading to this statue and hedge.

One of the amazing things about Moss Mountain is how much has been accomplished in a few years.  There will be more posts about this tour.

“It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.”  Old Cowboy Adage

Garvan Gardens, Part 2

Garvan Gardens outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a serene, calming place.  Because there were few people visiting that day, it seemed like we were alone in forest far from civilization.

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garvangardensmmSome workers were constructing this exhibit out of brush.  This art installation by W. Gary Smith is to last for a year.

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garvangardensnn Miniature fairy gardens created in pots are a current fad, but this Fairy Garden was built using tree stumps.

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garvangardensooEach one stood about 3 or 4 feet tall.

garvangardenspA small patch of Oxblood or Schoolhouse Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) make an impact statement.

garvangardensppVery tall Pinks or Dianthus in a semi-shady spot.

garvangardensqThe Children’s Garden entrance is below this metal twig looking bridge.

garvangardensqqEverything we saw in this part of the garden is mostly rocks to climb on and secluded small areas to explore.

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garvangardensrrThe boulders were intriguing with the quartz in the stones forming sharp ridges.  Over time, the rock, whatever type it is, has eroded, while the quartz remained intact.

garvangardenssSome of the Children’s Garden might be intimidating to young kids.

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garvangardenttBack on the main trail …

garvangardentttwe continue past this small pond with water Iris.

garvangardenuAlthough this peacock was alone, his loud mating cries broke the silence of the forest.  Guess he just wanted some attention.

garvangardenuuAnother pergola leading to a grassy area surrounded by flowerbeds.

garvangardenuuuAlliums towering above other flowers, like these Pansies.  I really wanted some Alliums and tried them once, but they didn’t come back the next year.  Don’t really know what the problem was.  Too hot, too cold, soil too alkaline?

garvangardenvMore Dianthus

garvangardenvvDelphiniums, maybe?

garvangardenvvvJust outside the Chipmunk Cafe were several miniature trains at different levels circling around a tree.

garvangardenwwwAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel with construction similar to the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I think this chapel was built in 2006 while ThornCrown opened in 1980.

garvangardenxThe wood is southern yellow pine.

garvangardenxxAnthony Chapel is a wedding chapel.  Lovely setting.

There is a separate building for wedding party members with a bridal changing chamber.  It can be rented for an additional cost.

garvangardenxxxThe whole intent of the design with 55 feet tall windows is to have full view of the surrounding woods.  The handcrafted scones are made of oak.

garvangardenwwHeading to the parking lot takes us past more trees and bushes.  This looks like Coral Honeysuckle.

garvangardenwBeautiful bloom on an Oakleaf Hydrangea (‘Hydrangea quercifolia’).

Thanks for reading our visit to Garvan Gardens.

“The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination.”  Thomas Church

Garvan Gardens

On a recent trip one of our stops was at Garvan Woodland Gardens just outside of Hot Springs, Arkansas.  It is the 210 acre botanical garden of the University of Arkansas in the Ouachita Mountains.

garvangardens4Most of the acres are a naturally wooded area of tall pines.

garvangardens8Pathways lead guests to a variety of sights.

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garvangardens1Shaded areas are filled with abundant under story trees and shrubbery.

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garvangardens2Although it was the tail end of the blooming season for Azaleas, some flowers remained.

garvangardens3A heavy crop of berries on some kind of holly.

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garvangardens9Few of the plants had identification labels.

garvangardensaaIn a few sunny clearings were some grassy areas circled by flowerbeds and flowerpots.  Begonias, Spider Plant, and Caladium make an attractive arrangement.

garvangardensaSeveral vine covered pergolas open to patio like settings with flowers and seating.

garvangardensbThis is a purple Columbine, but I don’t know the variety.

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garvangardensdPretty Pinks or Dianthus

garvangardensddLove the color and design of this three foot tall pot.  The requisite three elements are there:  thriller (don’t know the name of the plant); filler (petunias), and spiller (a variegated ivy).

garvangardenseLots of large beds were filled with annuals such as pansies.  There were both staff members and volunteers working in the gardens.

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garvangardensgAnother bed with these newly planted small plants, probably annuals.

garvangardensggLoved this bush, but don’t know what it is.

garvangardensiFour and a half miles of shoreline on Lake Hamilton provide wooded views of the lake.

garvangardenshEuphorbias in bloom.

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garvangardensjAs we leave the lake observation point and head back into the wooded gardens, there are what look like native blooming plants.

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garvangardenskSeveral nice bridges in the gardens lead to new surprises.

garvangardenslThis shrub was about six or seven feet tall with arching branches.

garvangardensllGorgeous flower clusters.  Wonder what it is.

My next post will finish the Garvan Gardens visit.  Thanks for taking the time to scroll through all the pictures.

“Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”  unknown