Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fall Fairy Gardens

Today's post is something a little different - something that would appeal to the kid in you.  One tradition I do with my kids, is make fairy gardens for each season.  Now is a good time to make a fall one, since there are plenty of pumpkins and gourds out there.

To make a fairy garden, you need to find natural things that would make a pretty place for fairy folk to visit.

I like to cut off the side of a small pumpkin and clean out the seeds and goop.  Then I fill it with stones and other assorted natural trinkets which serve as tables and seats.  A few acorns make it look festive, too.  Then I place it outside, in an out-of-the-way location, and make pebble paths leading to tree branch structures and other fairy abodes.  You can decorate your garden dwellings with mums, goldenrod, sedum, or any other fall flowers you can find. 

My kids love doing this, and it adds a touch of whimsy to my garden.  Now if only my dog would leave it alone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Filoli Gardens

Filoli Gardens, located about 30 miles south of San Francisco in Woodside, California, covers 654 acres.  It is the site of a 36,000 square foot Georgian house and a 16 acre English Renaissance garden, which is a series of enclosed spaces within brick walls.  Visitors will see well-manicured gardens with clipped hedges and classic reflecting pools.  Other gardens include a Bonsai collection, magnolias, an olive orchard, and a rose garden.

 A little history of the gardens:  Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourne II, owner of a very successful gold mine and President of Spring Valley Water Company.  Following Bourne's death, the estate was sold to William Roth, who in 1975 donated it to the National Trust for Historic Presevation.

Filoli has served as the set for many Hollywood films.  You may have seen the mansion on the opening credits for the show, Dynasty.

There are several tours you can take, including one of the mansion.  If you can,I would recommend doing it.  You can also take a 2-hour nature hike.  A word of caution about that - some parts are strenuous, so you should be in good health to do it.

The gardens are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM.  Admission is $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for children.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden

The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden is a 4 acre garden located in Alberta, Canada.  It was established in 1967 with the vision of creating a Japanese style garden that reflected the mountain and prarie scenery of southern Alberta.  The name was derived from "Nihon," meaning Japan, "Ka," meaning Canada, and "Yuko," meaning friendship.

When you arrive, you will be greeted by a host in traditional Japanese attire.  He or she will tell you about the garden's many features, shich include a dry rock garden, waterfall, streams and bridges, ponds and islands, and a flat prarie garden.

The garden is open daily, May through October, from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.  $8.00 for adults, and $4.00 for children.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Spring Grove Cemetary and Arboretum

A few months ago, I shared a cemetary garden from my hometown of Cleveland.  I found another beautiful cemetary that  I'd like to share, this time near my current residence.   The Spring Grove Cemetary and Arboretum is located in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It covers 733 acres, 400 of which are landscaped.  Visitors will see a variety of plantings including daffodils, weeping cherry trees, rhododendrons, roses, lilies, and chrysanthemums.  Spring is my person favorite time to visit.  The weeping cherry trees are just gorgeous! 

The cemetary dates from 1844 when members of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society formed a cemetary association.  If you roam around, you may find the graves of such notable individuals as Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States, Alphonso Taft, father of William Howard Taft, William Procter and James Gamble, founders of Procter and Gamble, and Bernard Kroger, founder of Kroger Supermarkets.

The cemetary is open daily from dawn to dusk.  Admission is free.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens

The Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The 10,000 foot conservatory was designed and constructed in 1914 by German landscape architect, George Kessler.  In 1997, the rainforest feature was introduced.  Visitors can enjoy, palms, orchids, ferns, and citrus trees.  If you're lucky you may even spot some anole lizards, tree frogs, and finches.  The conservatory also contains some very nice seasonal exhibits.  Right now, the fall mum exhibit is in full bloom.

The sunken gardens contain three acres of outdoor gardens and features European classical formal gardens, fountains, and pretty walkways with benches.  It is the oldes park in Indianapolis.

The gardens are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM.  Admission for the conservatory is $1.00.  The sunken gardens are free. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Schoepfle Garden

Schoepfle Garden, located in Birmaingham, Ohio, is part of the Lorain County Metro Parks system.  It's a 74 acre garden, bordered by the Vermillion River, that features formal gardens and woodlands.  Visitors will see collections of American holly, conifers, rhododendrons, a topiary, and a beautiful rose garden.
There's also a lovely children's garden on the property.  It's a musically-themed garden in which kids can ride a carousel, climb a rocky "g" cleff, and crawl through a Flute-A Piller.

The garden is open daily fom 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM from April through October, and from 8:00 to 4:30 PM from November through March.  Admission is free.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall Garden Cleanup Tips

This morning, I went outside to pick the last tomatoes and beans from my garden.  We had our first frost here in Cincinnati a couple of days ago, so the garden is looking like it's about finished.  My next big project is to begin fall cleanup.  If you're getting ready to do the same, here are a few tips:

1.  Remove all tomato and potato plants.  If you still have tomatoes on the vine, you can hang the plants upside down in your garage, or wrap the unripened tomatoes in newspaper.  Either way, they will ripen. (Or you  can just make fried green tomatoes.)

2.  Compost the debris. (See my gardening tip on composting.)

3.  Do a soil test.  This is a good time to add the proper amounts of lime if needed.

4.  Trim off old foilage, pull out dying annual plants, and divide spring blooming plants like iris, daffodils, and black-eyed Susans. 

5.  Keep coneflowers standing, as they povide good food for the birds.

6.  Leave veggies like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and radishes in the ground.  As they decompose in the spring, they release cyanide compounds that kill harmful wireworms.

After you've done all that work, you can begin planning for next year's garden!  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Ruth Bancroft Garden

The Ruth Bancroft Garden, located in Walnut Creek, California, features nearly three acres of succulents, pathways, and garden beds.  Visitors will see a lot of aloe, agave, yucca, and cacti as they walk along the gravel pathways.

The garden was begun in the 1950s as a private collection within Bancroft Farm, a 400 acre property belonging to publisher, Hubert Howe Bancroft.  In 1989, it became the first garden in the United States preserved by the Garden Conservancy.  It has been open to the public since 1992.

The garden is open daily from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  Admission is $10.00 for adults and $7.00 for children.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Clegg Botanical Gardens

If you like to hike, then Clegg Botanical Gardens, located in Lafayette, Indiana, is a great place to visit.  It's a quiet, restful park nestled in a ravine in the Wildcat Valley.  The Wildcat Creek meanders through it.

There is a lot of native Indiana flora and fauna.  Visitors will see pretty wildflower beds, labeled trees, and plenty of nature trails and bridges.  The fall is an especially beautiful time to visit, when all of the leaves change color.

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

Monday, October 1, 2012

Arboretum at the University of California

The Arboretum at the University of California, located in Santa Cruz, California, covers over 200 acres, and includes plants from Australia, California, South Africa, and New Zealand.

It was started in 1976 and serves both the campus and public.  There are over 300 different types of plants here and it contains the largest collection of plants from Australia and South Africa outside of the native countries.

The arboretum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Cost of admission is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children.