Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Kampong Garden

Located on Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove, Florida, "The Kampong" is the site of the National Tropical Botanical Garden.  It was once the home of David Fairchild, an avid plant collector who travelled the world looking for useful and beautiful plants. He named the garden, "Kampong," which is a Javanese word meaning, "village." The first plants he added to his garden came from Indonesia, hence, the name. The plant collections in the garden come from Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Visitors will enjoy seeing all the exotic plants, including an eighty-year-old, fifty ton Baobab tree from Tanzania.

The garden is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Visitors have an option of doing a self-guided tour, or one led by a tour guide. Admission for the self-guided tour is $15.00 for adults. Children under twelve are admitted free. The guided tour is $20.00 for adults, and $10.00 for children.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Avis Campbell Garden

Avis Campbell Garden, located in Montclaire, New Jersey, is a lovely well-kept secret. It is hidden in the back yard of the United Way building next to the Montclaire library. If you weren't paying attention, you wouldn't even know it was there. The garden is maintained by volunteers of the Garden Club of Montclaire. It contains a rose garden, herb garden and a walled English style garden with a small fountain in the center.

There are a few benches placed around the garden, so visitors can just relax and enjoy the scenery.

The gardens are open from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Maclay State Gardens

The Maclay State Gardens, located in Tallahassee, Florida, were designed in 1923 by Alfred Maclay. It was his intention to have booms in winter and early spring, when he and his wife were in residence at their home on the property.  While there are activities year round, the best time to see the gardens is from January to April, with the peak time being early March.  Visitors will see oriental magnolias, a walled garden, a Secret Garden, an Azalea Hillside, and a reflection pool.  There are picnic benches on the grounds, and other activities such as canoeing, fishing, and hiking.   You can easily spend a full day there.

The gardens are open year round from dawn to dusk, but from January 1 through April 30, there is a special fee to view the Maclay house. That is open from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM. 

Before I go, I have to special things for you. On this blog, I don't post personal things about myself, so readers don't really get to know me that well. Here's something you might enjoy, though - my first skydive. You can find the link here. (It's unedited. If you want to save time, the jump begins at the 3:13 point.)

Second, to thank you for following me, I'm giving free downloads of my book, Ten Zany Birds. You can go to Smashwords and enter code, AF29X (expires 9-9-15).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Flamingo Gardens and Arboretum

Flamingo Gardens and Arboretum is located in Davies, Florida. It covers 60 acres, and contains citrus groves, subtropical forests, and plenty of flowery  gardens. One of the most interesting gardens is the Xeriscape garden. What's that, you ask? It's a garden that demonstrates the uses of various materials for a low maintenance, minimal irrigation garden. Those who don't exactly have a green thumb might appreciate this.

There's also a free-flight aviary and a lovely butterfly garden. Visitors can take a 1.5 mile narrated tram ride through the gardens and wetlands to see alligators, and of course, flamingos.

The gardens are open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. The ticket box closes at 4:00 PM. Cost of admission is $19.95 for adults, and $12.95 for kids.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Miami Beach Botanical Gardens

Located in Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Beach Botanical Gardens was originally created in 1962 on a vacant site opposite the Miami Beach Convention Center. Unfortunately, the "Garden Center" wasn't well-maintained, and slowly deteriorated. Hurricane Andrew finished it off in 1992. In 1996, a group of residents created the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy to restore the garden. 
Today, it is a beautiful four and a half acre garden which contains tropical and subtropical plants.

The garden can be seen as a self-guided tour, or as one led by a tour guide. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If you choose the guided tour, a $5.00 donation is requested.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Acorn Hall and Gardens

Acorn Hall, located in Morristown, New Jersey, Is an Italian mansion that was built in 1853. It is now the home of the Morris County Historical Society. The gardens around the building are quite nice. There is a rose garden that contains thirty varieties  of Victorian roses, a formal knot garden, and a lovely fern garden.

Tours of the property are given Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Admission for adults is $6.00. Children under twelve are admitted free.   

Sunday, July 5, 2015

East Texas Arboretum

Located in Athens, Texas, the East Texas  Arboretum is a relatively new place. It covers 100 acres and contains marshlands, dry pasture fields, and gardens, including an herb garden and wildflower restoration area.  There's a very nice nature trail that goes along streams and over a 115 foot suspension bridge. If you're lucky, you may see some deer or even a frog or two.  Also on the grounds is the Wofford House Museum. It was built in 1850, and gives a glimpse of what life was like at that time.

The arboretum is open from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM in the spring and summer, and from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the fall and winter. Admission is $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for children.