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.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Bellingrath Gardens

Bellingrath Gardens is a 65-acre garden and mansion located in Theodore, Alabama, a town on the outskirts of Mobile, Alabama.  They were first opened to the public in 1932.  The gardens include an Oriental garden, Mermaid pool, bridal garden, and a river pavilion where guests can take a river cruise down the Fowl River on a boat called the Southern Belle.  Beautiful flowerbeds adorn the gardens throughout the year. These include azaleas, roses, tulips, snapdragons, begonias, and marigolds.

If you happen to visit around Christmas, be sure to see the phenomenal display of over three million lights, known as the Magic Christmas in Lights.  It truly is magical!

The gardens are open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  During the Christmas light show, they're open until 9:00 PM.  Admission for the gardens, home, and cruise tour is $29.00 for adults at $19.00 for children.  Gardens only are $12.50 for adults and $7.00 for children.  

Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus, or Schlumbergera, is native to the mountains of south-eastern Brazil.  It likes shade and high humidity.  It can be recognized by its leaf-like pads and pink flowers which flower only around Thanksgiving or Christmas (hence the name).

Here are some tips for caring for your Christmas cactus:

1.  Keep away from direct sunlight, drafts, heat vents, or fireplaces.

2.  Provide a source of humidity.  You can put a tray of water next to the plant so that the water evaporates and provides humidity.

3.  Do not overwater.  Once a week should be enough.  And if you can, don't water from the top.  It is best to put the plant in a tray of water and allow water to seep through holes in the bottom of the container.

4.  Prune your cactus one month after blooming.  

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Brook Lodge

Brook Lodge, located in Auguste, Michigan, was the former home of Dr. W. E. Upjohn, founder of the Upjohn company.  It is now a hotel and conference center belonging to Michigan State University's Division of Housing and Food Service.

While it may seem a little odd to visit a conference center's gardens, they are really quite beautiful and definitely worth seeing.  The property covers 637 acres and contains trees, waterfalls, and many beautiful flowers, including irises and peonies.  Brook Lodge is a popular site for weddings, and if you visit, you will see why.

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

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Anderson Enrichment Center and Lucille E. Anderson Memorial Garden

The Andersen Enrichment Center and Lucille E. Anderson Memorial Garden are located in Saginaw, Michigan.  If you like roses, this is definitely a place to see.  It contains hundreds of them. Other things to see include perennials, a brick walkway, and a fountain that features Marshall M. Frederick's sculpture, "Flying Geese."

The center itself promotes the arts and entertainment of the area and can be rented for weddings.

The garden is open from dawn to dusk.  Admission is free.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Liberty Hall Historic Site and Gardens

Liberty Hall Historic Site and Gardens is located in Frankfort, Kentucky.  The gardens cover nearly three acres and are on the grounds of a Federalist-style mansion.  (There are a lot of these types of mansions in Kentucky!)

It features the largest formal boxwood garden in Kentucky.  It also has many beautiful perennial and annual borders, and a large variety of roses.

 The gardens are free and open to the public from dawn to dusk.  Tour prices to view the house are $4.00 for adults and $1.00 for children. 

One thing before I go:  I went to Book 'Em North Carolina and met Diane Wolfe, my publisher at Dancing Lemur Press.  It was great to meet her. She works very hard! If you're one of her authors, know that she is doing a lot to promote your book!