Thursday, July 25, 2013

Schoenbrunn Palace Gardens

The gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, located in Vienna, Austria, were opened to the public around 1779.  The Schoenbrunn Palace was the former summer residence of the famous Hapsburg family.

The palace and gardens are essentially baroque in style.  There are several interesting structures located throughout the gardens.  One is the steel Palm House.  Another is Neptune Fountain.  With its groups of Greek and Roman statues, it is a picturesque focal point.  There's also a zoo - the first in the world.

Two other gardens not to miss are the dry landscape Japanese garden and the tea garden, both presents of goodwill from Japan to Austria.

The palace gardens are free.  They are open year-round from 6:30 AM to dusk.  There is a charge to visit the Labyrinth Garden and Pam House.  Admission is 3.30 euros.

To my regular followers:  I will be offline for a while as my family and I move.  But don't worry, I will return with more garden posts once I'm settled!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fellows Riverside Gardens

Fellows Riverside Gardens is a free public garden located in Youngstown, Ohio's Mill Creek Park.  It covers 12 acres, and includes an assortment of gardens.  It is probably best known for its variety of roses. Three of its gardens are dedicated to roses:  The Formal Rose Garden, Climbing Rose Allee, and the Rose Garden Terrace.  If you wish to see these gardens in full bloom, the best time to go is in June.

Other gardens include the Blue Garden, the shade garden, and the perenial border walk.

If you visit the gardens in the spring, you'll absolutely love all of the spring flowers.  The grounds are planted with 40,000 spring bulbs.  You'll see crocus, tulips, narcissus, and other colorful blooms.

The gardens are open year-round from dawn to dusk.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Boboli Gardens

The Boboli Gardens are formal 16th century gardens located in Florence, Italy.  They were built on the slopes of Boboli Hill, behind the Pitti Palace, home of the famous Medici family, in 1550.

The gardens feature a lot of statues, fountains, and even an amphitheater.  Visitors can walk along white pebbled paths, admiring the cypress trees and statues.  The gardens provide a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the busy city of Florence.

The Boboli Gardens are open daily from 9:00 AM until one hour before sunset.  Admission is 3 euros.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to Make a Shade Garden

Sometimes planting a garden where there's a lot of shade can be tricky. With a little planning, though, it can be done. Here's how to do it:

 1. Determine what type of shade you have - complete shade, or partial shade. This will help you figure out what plants to use.

 2. Take a look at your soil. Is it damp and heavy? If so, you may need to add a little sand for drainage. Is it sandy? Then you may have to add some garden soil.

 3. Select your plants. Here's a list of plants I like for partial shade (areas under trees or areas that receive sunlight several hours a day): Coleas, impatiens, bleeding hearts, azaleas, columbine, begonias (a very versatile plant), and astilbe. For areas of medium shade, I like hostas, ferns, lily of the valley, hydrangeas, and rhododendron. There aren't a lot of plants that do well in heavy shade, so you'd probably have to opt for mosses and violets in those cases.

 4. Plant tall plants in the back and shorter ones in the front. Mix foilage and flowers to create interesting texture and visual appeal.

 5. If you have the space, you can finish it off with garden ornaments like benches and small statues.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sissinghurst Castle Gardens

The Sissinghurst Castle Garden in England, is one of the most famous in the country.  The White Garden, pictured above, is the most popular of the individual gardens found there.  It began as a rose garden in 1931.  Then in 1950, it was converted to the "White Garden" which features an assortment of white blooms and a gorgeous canopy.

The nice thing about the gardens, is that as you walk through the various individual gardens, you can catch glimpses of the other gardens.

The Sissinghurst Castle Garden is open March through October.  Hours are generally from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Liebster Blog Award

Liebster Blog Award

I would like to thank K. Nowinsky for giving me the Liebster Blog Award.  I've gotten quite a few of these on both this blog and my other, Mama Diaries, but I always like to acknowledge when I receive one.  As part of the award, I'm supposed to share eleven things about myself, answer eleven questions, and make up eleven more questions.  Then I'm supposed to nominate eleven more people.  I probably won't follow the rules exactly because, admittedly, I'm a little lazy when it come to these things.

So here we go, eleven things about me:

1.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be an opera singer or an astronaut.  It's a good thing I didn't choose opera singer, because I'd be seriously shattering some windows if I did that now!  Being an astronaut would be cool.  Then I might be able to find my mind which my family says is lost in outer space.

2.  If I wasn't a musician or author, I'd probably be a genetic engineer.  I love science, and biology has always been especially interesting to me.  When I studied genetic engineering in high school and college, I found it so fascinating.  It was like solving puzzles - and I like puzzles!

3.  When I was 21, I went on a hot-air balloon ride.  It was an amazing experience - very quiet except for the bursts of hot air every now and then.  It was fun watching the deer run through the fields below us.

4.  I was a viola soloist in Germany.  I actually had the option of staying in Germany to pursue a career as a soloist, but I decided I wanted to have a family, and I didn't see that lifestyle as being conducive to meeting someone, getting married, and having kids.  So I came back to the United States and lived a normal life (if you want to call this normal!).

5.  I used to be a figure skater.  I had dreams of trying out for the Olympics.  Obviously, that never happened.

6.  I am allergic to grass and pine trees.  This isn't good, because I hear in Georgia, there are lots of pine trees, and that's where I'm moving.

7.  I started playing the viola when I was 13 years old.  That's considered late for starting.  (I picked up the violin when I was 22).  It just goes to show, you're never to old to learn an instrument!

8.  I used to be a PADI Scuba diving instructor.  I did that for five years until I got pregnant with my first child.

9.  My mom is an avid gardener.  I learned a lot of what I know about plants from her.

10.  I enjoy learning languages.  I know bits and pieces of seven languages (some a little more than others).

11. My favorite food is watermelon.  My least favorite is sauerkraut.

Here are eleven question I'm supposed to answer:

1.  My favorite color:  Red (although turquois is becoming a close second)

2.  If I could change or make a law, what would it be?  I think I'd like to ban telemarketers.  They can be so annoying!

3.  Do you believe individual personality characteristics have more impact from environment or genetics?  Genetics.  Although I think they can be enhanced or subdued by environment.

4.  Do you believe there are other life forms in the universe? Yes, just as I believe there are other dimensions/multiverses.  The universe is too complex for us to be the only life forms.

5.  Can you remember your last dream?  What was it?  Yes.  I was performing a piece for viola and piano that I had written.  I remembered it when I woke up and have started writing it.

6.  What movie most impacted your childhood?   I honestly don't have one.  I wasn't much of a movie watcher when I was a kid, and I really still don't watch too many movies.  I'm too busy doing other things.

7.  What is your fear?  I think it would be to experience some kind of catastrophe where I lost my family.

8.  If you were granted one wish, what would it be?  World peace.

9.  What was the last song you listened to?  Beethoven's 7th Symphony

10.  Who is the one person I would want to spend eternity with?  Wow.  That's a tough one!  I don't think I can answer that.  There are so many people who have touched my life, and so many people I'd like to have known, that I'd want the chance to meet with all of them.

11.  When was the last time you smiled?    Two seconds ago, as I looked at my son's smiling face and watched him do a little dance while he was waiting to use my computer.

Now here's the part I'm cheating on.  I'm not making up eleven more questions.  If you get this award, just use the ones I answered.

Here are the other bloggers:  

1.  Delight Directed Living:
2.  Writing with Hope:
3.  In Between:
4.  Wishbone Soup Cures Everything:  (Does it really?)
5.  Jane's Jewels:
6.  Eyes 2 Page:
7.  Shutterbug:
8.  Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch:
9.  Connecting with Stephanie:
10.  To the Moon:
11.  Libby Heily:

Thanks again for the award, K. Nowinsky.  I hope you've enjoyed learning a little about me. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, located in Akron, Ohio, is one of my favorite places to visit.  It was originally the vast estate of the Seiberling family, founders of the Good Year Tire Company.  The estate originally covered more than 3,000 acres.  Now it covers 70 acres.

The gardens were designed between 1912 and 1915 by the famous American landscape architect, Warren Manning.  The gardens are divided into ten sections:  The English Garden (Gertrude Seiberling's favorite), Birch Allee Vista, The Dell, Grape Arbor, Great Meadow, Japanese Garden, Lagoon, West Terrace, The Great Garden, and the Breakfast Room Garden.  My personal favorite is the Breakfast Room Garden.  With its blue, white, and gold color scheme and lovely fountain, it compliments the Breakfast Room of the manor perfectly.

The gardens open April 1st and remain open through December.  Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.  Admission for non members is $8.00 per person.