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

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.

garvangardensm

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.

garvangardenso

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