Sunday, March 31, 2013

Alaska Botanical Gardens


It is time for the A-Z challenge! Last year, I featured gardens from around the world.  This year, the theme is gardens from the United States.  The garden for the letter A is Alaska Botanical Gardens, located in Anchorage, Alaska.  (That's a lot of A's isn't it!)

The gardens, opened in 1993,  cover about 110 acres and contain over 1,000 varieties of plants native to southcentral Alaska.  There's an herb garden, rock garden, and a wildflower walk.  It's a great place to hike with spectacular views of the Chugach Mountain Range.  Nature lovers will enjoy it for bird watching, and occasionally will spot moose and bear.

The gardens are open year round from dawn to dusk.  The cost of admission for adults is $7.00.  For children, admission is $5.00.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gairloch Gardens

Gairloch Gardens, located in Ontario, Canada, were originally part of 400 acres of farmland.  Eleven acres of it were purchase in 1922 by Col. William Mackendrick, who built a tudor style house on the property and landscaped it.  When Mackendrick died in 1957, the property was bought by James A. Gairdner who later gave the estate to the town of Oakville.

Today, visitors will see a pond, stream, and formal garden areas.  It's a lovely area in which to wander around.  The gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk.  Admission is free.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dow Gardens

Dow Gardens, in Midland, Michigan, is one of Michigan's best kept secrets.  This restful place covers about 110 acres, and was created in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of Dow Chemical.  Visitors can enjoy rhododendrons, crab apple trees, perrenial flowers, a rose garden, a children's garden,  a waterfall, ornate and colorful bridges, and a conservatory for tropical plants.

The gardens are open year round from 9:00 AM to 4:15 PM.  Admission for adults is $5.00, and for children, $1.00. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Garden Preparations

Spring has finally arrived, so I thought I'd share some ideas to help you get your garden in gear.

1. Spring is a great time to find out the Ph of your soil. You can get a Ph testing kit from your local garden center. If you know your Ph, it'll make it easier to know which plants to choose for your soil, or what additives you might need to grow the plants you desire.

2. If you haven't already done so, remove the dead growth of perennials and grasses. I usually do this in the fall, but there are several gardeners who prefer to wait until the spring.

3. Apply a general fertilizer to prepare the soil for the planting you'll be doing.

4. Get rid of any weeds that might be starting to grow. I know where I live, it's been a really mild winter, so I was out there weeding in January!

5. Spring is a good time to mulch. The soil is usually moist, so mulch will help trap that moisture and make it nice for your plants. Be generous with your mulch. I'd say 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep is good.

6. If you didn't divide clumps of perennials in the fall, do it in the spring.

7. Lastly, edge your garden borders. Make sure grass isn't growing into it, and if you're using stone borders, make sure they look neat and tidy.


I'd also like to share some wonderful news with you.  My book, That Mama is a Grouch, is a 2013 Mom's Choice Awards silver recipient!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, covers a little over fifty-five acres.  It was opened on August 30, 1975.  Visitors can see totem poles, stone sculptures, and all kinds of gardens, including a children's garden with a wonderful hedge maze.

The garden is open from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  During the summer, the hours are extended to 9:00 PM.  Admission rates fluctuate per season.  During peak season, (April - September), adult admission is $10.75.  Admission for children is $8.00.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Display Gardens on Suncrest

The Display Gardens on Suncrest, in Lapeer, Michigan, are located on the grounds of the Lapeer County Medical Care Facility.  There's also a children's daycare on the site.  Covering about an acre, the gardens are a peaceful place to visit.  There are sixteen garden beds, including an annual garden, birdhouse garden, butterfly garden, children's garden, and herb garden.  Visitors can stroll along the pathways, stopping at benches to admire waterfalls, fountains, bird baths, statues, and even a Japanese gazebo.  There are plenty of birds, butterflies, frogs and toads for nature lovers.

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

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Furzey Garden

Furzey Garden, located in Minstead, Hampshire, England, is an absolutely charming place to visit.  It is set around Forest Cottage, a 16th century cottage that looks like it came right out of a story book.  In the space in front of the cottage, are vegetable gardens which children are allowed to tend in the summer.  Also on the grounds is a picturesque lakeside walk, and heather garden.

Spring is an especially beautiful time to visit when the crocus, snowdrops, daffodils, and bluebells are in bloom.  The azaleas and rhododendrons are also spectacular.

Furzey Garden is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Cost of admission for adults is 7 British pounds.  For children, it's 4 British pounds.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cranbrook House and Gardens

Cranbrook House and Gardens is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  The gardens cover 42 acres and feature an herb garden, rock garden, sunken garden, greenhouse, oriental garden, wildflower garden, meadow, bog, and numerous perennial gardens.  It's really a pretty place to visit!  The Cranbrook house is the oldest manor home in south eastern Michigan, and definitely worth touring if you have the time.

The gardens are open May 1 through Labor day, Monday -Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  Admission for adults is $10.00, and admission for children is $5.00.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Forbury Gardens

Forbury Gardens is a public park located in Berkshire, England, on the site of Reading Abbey.  It's really a great place to picnic -especially during the summer months when visitors can enjoy orchestras and bands playing at the brightly colored Bandstand.

The center point of the park is a war memorial metal lion.  For this reason, the park is often referred to by locals as the Lion Park.

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