Monday, January 14, 2019

Christmas Cactus

Some of you may have gotten a Christmas cactus over the holidays. I figure this is a good time to tell you a little about the plant, and to give some tips about how to care for it.

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.  

Before I go, I'd like to thank those of you who voted for my book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China in the cover contest. I appreciate it! There's one more day to vote in round two. If you'd like, please follow this link to vote for it:  

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Krohn Conservatory

Krohn Conservatory is located in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It houses over 3,500 plant species from all over the world.  Inside, you can find a replica of a rainforest, a desert, and a conservatory with a beautiful collection of orchids. One of my kids' favorite seasonal displays is the Butterfly Show held from mid-April to June.  The Christmas display is also very nice.  Hours are from 10-5 PM. Cost of admission is $7.00 for adults and $4.00 for children.

Before I go, I'd like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I'd also like to let you know that my book, Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China is in a cover contest for the month of January. If you'd like to vote for it, here's the link.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Topiary Park

I don't know about you, but I've always found topiaries to be fascinating focal points of gardens.  If you like topiaries, the place to visit is Topiary Park, in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  The seven acre park is famous for its topiary interpretation of Georges Seurat's famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.

The park was dedicated in 1992, but it goes back to the early 19th century.  It was once a part of the Old Deaf School Park. The concept came from artist, James T, Mason, who teaches sculpture at the Recreation and Park's Department of Cultural Arts Center. He designed and installed the frames and living topiaries.
The garden contains 54 topiary people, eight boats, 3 dogs, a monkey, a cat, and a pond, which represents the Seine River.  The largest feature is 12 feet tall.

The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Admission is free.  The best viewing is April through November, when the greenery is in bloom.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden is located in the Bronx, New York. It was established in April of 1891 on the grounds of the Lorillard Estate, which was owned by tobacco magnate, Pierre Lorillard. It covers 250 acres and contains 50 different gardens and plant collections. These include a 50 acre old growth New York Forest great for hiking through, wetlands, a rose garden, Japanese garden, children's garden, and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. 

No matter what time of year you go, it's always beautiful, and there are always plenty of activities going on. From November through January, there's a holiday train display that children and train enthusiasts will enjoy.

The gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Grounds only admission for adults is $15.00 and children under 12 is $4.00. If you'd like to go inside the conservatory and see the special displays, the cost is $28.00 for adults and $12.00 for children.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is also known as "Shaw's Garden" for founder, Henry Shaw. Mr. Shaw began the garden in 1859. This makes the Missouri Botanical Garden one of oldest botanical institutions in the United States. Its 79 acres contain Henry Shaw's original 1850 Estate House, a Japanese garden, the second-largest herbarium in the country, containing 6.6 million specimens (New York's Botanical Gardens is first), and the world's first geodesic dome greenhouse, built in 1960.

The garden is open from 9 AM to 4 PM daily. Cost of admission is $12.00 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Michigan 4-H Children's Garden

 The Michigan 4-H Children's Garden is located on the campus of Michigan State University.  It opened in 1993, as one of five gardens that are part of the Michigan State University Horticulture Demonstration Gardens.


The children's garden covers about half an acre, and it features 30 different play areas.  These include a dinosaur garden, a pizza garden, a Peter Rabbit garden, an ABC Kindergarten garden, a Teddy Bear and Animal garden, a Storybook garden, and an Alice in Wonderland Maze which leads to a secret garden.

  Some of the fun things kids can do are find lambs ear and feel the leaves, smell chocolate mint, dance on dance chimes, and cross over the Monet bridge.
 The garden is open Monday through Friday from dawn to dusk.  Admission is free, but parking is $3.00 for 1 1/2 hours or $5.00 for 3 hours.

Before I go, I would like to share my SCBWI Book Stop page. There's a contest to see who can get the most likes and comments. If you feel inspired, please stop by to like the page and comment. Thanks!  Click on this link.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Longwood Gardens

 Longwood Gardens, located about 30 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a gorgeous collection of flowers situated on 1077 acres of land.  (Only 325 acres are open to the public.)  There are twenty indoor gardens, housed in a conservatory which contains 5,500 types of plants.  There are also 20 outdoor gardens featuring exquisite flowers, trees, and dazzling fountains.

Longwood Gardens has a very rich history.  Over two hundred years ago, the land was inhabited by the Lenni Lenape Indians.  In 1700, a Quaker family purchased the property from William Penn (the guy Pennsylvania is named after) and established a farm there.  In 1906, Pierre du Pont, the famous industrialist, purchased the property and created what is enjoyed today.  In 1946, the Gardens were turned over to a foundation set up by Mr. du Pont.


One of the gardens is the Bee-aMazed children's garden.  It features a tree house, a Honeycomb Maze, Flower fountain, and Buzz Trail.  Kids can learn about bees and the various parts of a flower through these interactive features.

The Gardens are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.  Admission for adults is $18.00.  Admission for children is $8.00.

Here's where I am on this last day of my blog tour:

At Crystal's Book Reviews where you can read an excerpt and enter for the giveaway.

At Mason Canyon's Blog with a book review and a chance to win a copy of the book.  (Mason Canyon organized my tour. She did a really nice job! If you are an author and don't have the time to organize your own blog tour, I recommend her services. Also, she is celebrating her nine-year blogversary. so please stop by and congratulate her.