Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Shenyang Botanical Garden

  Shenyang Botanical Garden, located in Shenyang City, China, covers 467 acres and contains more than 1,000 species of flowers, trees, and shrubs. 

 A walk through the garden reveals several ponds, waterfalls, and ornate bridges.  There are 20 gardens in all, including an azalea garden, peony garden, lilac garden, and rose garden.

Shenyang Botanical Garden is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.  The admission is 20 CNY.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Powis Castle Gardens

Powis Castle Gardens, located in Welshpool, Wales is located on the grounds of the residence of the Earl of Powis.  The castle itself was founded in the early 13th century by Welsh princes. The formal, baroque gardens were designed in the 1670s.

Visitors will see Italian style terraces, statues, an orangery, and even an aviary.  Each terrace has a different theme.  One has a Mediterranean theme.  Another is planted with rhododendrons and ferns.  Another has herbs.  There is also a lower formal garden that has unusual pyramid-shaped apple trees, roses, delphiniums, phlox, and hollyhocks.

The gardens are beautiful year-round, but I think the best time to visit is in the spring when the tulips, hyacinths, and rhododendrons are in bloom.  The gardens are open daily April to September from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM, and March, October-December from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Exbury Gardens

The Exbury Gardens, located in Hampshire, England, are a real treat for the eyes!  In fact, in December of 2011, they were awarded the Hudson's Heritage UK "Best Garden" award.

The gardens contain over 200 acres of rhododendrons, azaleas, and a plethora of rare trees and shrubs.  They are the inspiration of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild who passed away in 2009.  Today, his grandchildren carry on the legacy.

 There are several ways to view the gardens. You can walk on the numerous trails, you can ride a chauffer-driven buggy, or you can do my favorite thing:  ride a miniature steam locomotive through the gardens.

The train will pass through the Summer Lane garden.  From there, you'll catch glimpses of the rock garden, followed by the wildlife pond.  Next, you'll pass the plant nursery and exotic fruit patch.  Then you'll pass by the sunflower field, which if you visit in the summer, is just amazing!  Finally, you'll loop around the oldest tree in the garden:  the Domesday Yew.  The train ride takes about 20 minutes.


The gardens are open daily from March to early November.  Admission for adults is 14 British pounds and 4 British pounds for children.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Garden at the Musee Rodin

The Garden at the Musee Rodin is located in Paris, France at the Rodin Museum, which features works by French sculptor, Auguste Rodin.  The garden covers about 9 acres and contains a rose garden, an ornamental garden, a rock garden known as the "Garden of Orpheus," and a water garden known as the "Garden of Springs."

Visitors can stroll under chestnut and linden trees, follow footpaths through hydrangeas and bamboo in the Garden of Springs, and enjoy peonies and ferns in the Garden of Orpheus.  Throughout the garden, many of Rodin's sculptures can be seen.  (Although I've never understood why The Gates of Hell sculpture is located behind the rose garden!)

 The garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:45 PM.  Admission for the garden alone is 1 euro.  If you'd like to see the museum, admission is 9 euros.

One more thing:  My publisher is giving away 5 free copies of my upcoming book, Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure. If you live in the United States, and you'd like to win a copy, please enter your information in the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 13, 2020

The Jimmy Carter Center Gardens

The Jimmy Carter Center Gardens, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a thirty-seven-acre wooded park that contains a formal garden, wildflower meadow, cherry orchard, Japanese garden, a couple of lakes, and waterfalls.  The rose garden contains about 400 plants with 80 different varieties.

Of course, the gardens aren't the only thing to see here.  The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum is here, which features an exact replica of the Oval Office and the Nobel Prize awarded to Jimmy Carter.

The gardens are open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 -4:45 and Sunday from 12:00 - 4:45.  Admission is $8.00 for adults.

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this COVI-19 pandemic! I've had to do a lot of things virtually, including recording music for online church services. Here's a video I made of how I do that. Thought you might find it interesting.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Barnsley Gardens

Barnsley Gardens, located in Adairsville, Georgia, are 160-year-old gardens that feature over 200 varieties of heirloom roses.  It's a romantic getaway that's a setting for many weddings. In fact, I have personally played for many weddings here.

The original estate was a manor called Woodlands.  Construction began in 1840 by Godfrey Barnsley as a gift for his wife, Julie.  Unfortunately, Julie never lived to see its completion. She died in 1845 of a lung ailment.  After her death, construction ceased.  It is said that Julie's spirit appeared to Godfrey the following year, urging him to finish the estate for their children and future generations.

In 1991, Barnsley Gardens was opened to the public as a historical garden and museum.  Today it's a resort destination with luxurious cottages, a golf course, spa, hunting, fishing, hiking, and numerous other activities.

Admission to see the gardens is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children.

And now something a little different to entertain you. Here's a video of a recent performance I did with the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra. I am performing the Double Concerto for Viola and Clarinet by Bruch. The clarinetist is my friend, Diane Hargreaves. Hope you enjoy it. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Callaway Gardens

Callaway Gardens, located in Pine Mountain, Georgia, covers 6,500 acres.  It was begun in 1952 by Cason and Virginia Callaway to protect native azalea plants.  Today there are a multitude of attractions, including an Overlook Garden, Vegetable Garden, Butterfly Center, Horticultural Center, and Pioneer Log Cabin.

The property is also the site of Robin Lake Beach (the world's largest man-made white sand beach) and Iceberg Island Floating Water Playground.  Between the gardens, hiking trails, and water features, it's definitely a place where you can spend an entire day.

The gardens are open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Admission is $13.00 per adult and $6.50 per child. 

Before I go, I'd like to let you know that I'm a guest on the IWSG Anthology blog talking about my short story, Ghosts of Pompeii which will be part of the Voyagers anthology coming out in May. To read the interview, go here.