Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cleveland Cultural Gardens

The Cleveland Cultural gardens, located in Cleveland, Ohio in the area known as Rockefeller Park, contain over 50 acres of gardens divided into individual gardens representing the ethnic communities of the great Cleveland area.

The gardens were created by students and professors of Cleveland State University.  The first garden, the British, or Shakespeare Garden, was built in 1916.  In 1926, Leo Weidenthal, editor of Jewish  Independent, had the idea to make the cultural gardens represent the city's different communities.  He wanted people of different nationalities to work together and learn about each other's culture.

Today there are 35 gardens.  These include Polish, Slovenian, Czech, Russian, Slovak, Italian, Greek, Lithuanian, German, Hungarian, and Hebrew gardens, amongst others.  The newest is the Croation garden, built in 2011.

When I lived in Cleveland, I enjoyed visiting these gardens.  There are lots of fountains, decorative iron work and sculptures.

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

Sunday, September 22, 2013

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.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Three Houses

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens are located in Richmond, Virginia.  These gardens are simply amazing.  In fact, they are the winner of the 2011 National Medal for Museum and Library service.
The history of the gardens is interesting.  They are on property that was once the hunting grounds for the Powhatan Indians.  The land was also owned by Patrick Henry.  In 1884, Lewis Ginter purchased the land.  In 1913, Ginter's niece, Grace Arents, developed gardens on the property.  It was her desire that when she and her partner died, the land be given to the city of Richmond to be developed as botanical gardens, honoring Lewis Ginter.  In 1968, the city took over the property, but the gardens didn't come to fruition until 1981.

The children's garden is one of the best I've seen.  There are about eight different areas where children can learn about the natural world.  One neat feature is the International Village.  There are playhouses and plants that represent cultures from all over the world.  There's a "tukal" African shelter, a Latin American "casista," and a Native American longhouse.  There's also an Asian teahouse and an "everyone's house," where kids can design their own place.

Other features include the water play area, a bird and butterfly meadow, a tree house, a children's greenhouse, and a section of weird and contrasting plants.

The gardens are open daily form 9 AM - 5 PM.  Admission is $11.00 for adults, and $7.00 for children.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Aullwood Park

 Aullwood Park, located in Dayton, Ohio, is a 31-acre park that was donated by Marie Aull to the Five River Metroparks in 1977.  It's an historic estate garden with numerous native and exotic flowers.

There are hiking trails through the park that allow you to enjoy all of the beautiful plants.  Every season is different.  In the spring, you'll see tulips, daffodils, lenten roses, and wildflowers.  In May, the Lilac Lawn smells absolutely heavenly.  You might even see clematis vines growing in the shrubs.  In June, look for the gorgeous peonies.  And in July and August, check out the butterfly garden, magic lilies, and begonias.

If you visit the park, take the time to find these attractions:  a bur oak tree with the 1913 flood watermark, and a twin sycamore tree that was alive in 1492, when Columbus discovered America.

The gardens are open April 1 - October 31 from 8 am - 10 pm, and November 1 - March 31, from 8 am - 8 pm.  Since it's part of a park, admission is free.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Palaise Het Loo

Palaise Het Loo is a Dutch baroque garden in the Netherlands which was created in 1684 by William and Mary - the same people who later became the king and queen of England.  It has been called the "Versailles of Holland" because of the layout, fountains, and statues.  As is typical of Baroque gardens, they follow perfect symmetry.  Within the gardens are four individual ones:  A King's Garden, which has a bowling green, a Lower Garden with beautiful statues, a Queen's garden , which was the private garden of Queen Mary, and an Upper Garden.

If you visit the gardens in the warmer months, you'll see orange trees planted in square white tubs.  These are placed in the garden as an emblem of the Prince of Orange.  They are returned to the orangery in the cooler months.

The garden is open year round Tuesday through Sunday from 10-5.  Admission is 12.50 euros for adults and 4.00 euros for children.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Clean Garden Fountains

Last year, I posted these tips on how to clean garden fountains..  I thought I'd share them again, since it's the end of the summer, and many fountains probably need cleaning.

Fountains are beautiful additions to your garden, but if you don't clean them regularly, you'll notice algae growth and stinky, murky water.  Here's how to prevent problems.

1.  Skim debris out daily.  This is the best way to prevent problems.

2.  Do a full cleaning once a week (some people do this once a season, but I find it is better to do it once a week).  If your fountain came with instructions, read that first.

3.  Turn off the fountain pump and remove it.

4.  Drain the water.  A lot of fountains have drain plugs.  If yours has one, use it.  It makes the job easier.

5.  Remove any leftover debris.

6.  Wipe the fountain thoroughly with a rag.  If necessary, use a soft bristled tooth brush to remove algae. White vinegar can be used for stubborn stains, but test in a small area to make sure it won't hurt your fountain.

7.  Rinse the fountain with a hose.

8.  Clean the pump by removing the cover and picking out any debris that might be inside.

9.  Wipe the inside and outside of the pump and replace the cover.

10.  Re-fill your fountain with clean, fresh water.  There are special cleaning enzymes you can add to help keep the water clean.  You can get these at fountain supply stores.