Garvan Gardens, Part Two

Garvan Gardens in Arkansas has a long history.  It was purchased by Arthur B. Cook in the 1920’s.  He owned Wisconsin-Arkansas Lumber Company and Malvern Brick and Tile Company.  When he died in 1934, his daughter, Verne Cook Garvan took over the companies.  As the female CEO of a major company in the south, she served in a unique position.

Today the gardens are owned by the University of Arkansas.

Verne Garvan was the first to develop the land and make it into a show garden.  The property is one of the fingers of land that juts out into Lake Hamilton, so it is surrounded on three sides by water.

Someone had fun creating ghoulish scenes.

Since this is a woodland gardens, it’s pretty shady in most areas.  But clearings, like this one, allows a space for sun loving plants.  Yellow Chrysanthemums grow in a formal design.

Not sure what this is.  The flowers look like Morning Glories, but I don’t think this is a vine.

We’ve visited Garvan Gardens before.  Their children’s section has always been a disappointment.  It mostly consists of large boulders that children can climb.  But this new attraction is well done.

The Tree House is entered through a raised bridge.

A side view of the Tree House shows three different levels inside.

Workmen are unloading pumpkins for a special Halloween event.  Not sure what the pattern will end up looking like.

On the left side of the walkway is Mexican Bush Sage (Salvia leucantha), an excellent plant for central Texas, also.

I waited for this peacock to pose, but he was more interested in preening his feathers.  Duh.  Beautiful feather colors.My favorite part of all the garden is Anthony Chapel with its glass walls and ceiling.

It is used for weddings and other events.  There’s a separate building with dressing areas for brides and grooms and their attendants.

The whole inside/outside design makes it extra special and peaceful.

The nearby electronic Bell Tower is built from steel columns. Visitors can walk into it and look up to the sky.  The computerized chimes ring the hour with familiar tunes.

Brides and Grooms can select specific songs to be played as they exit the chapel.

Adding to the serenity of this place is a lumbering turtle: an example of the pace to enjoy all the beauty of nature.

“Be decisive.  The road of life is paved with flattened squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.”   unknown

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

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, 

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?

vegetable8Kale

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.

vegetablec

vegetabled

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.

vegetablef

vegetableffReally like this feature – a castle look.

vegetablegg

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

vegetablei

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.

upstairsb

upstairs9

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