Saturday, April 30, 2016

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.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Beijing Botanical Gardens

The  Beijing Botanical Garden, located in Beijing, China, was established in 1955. It is the largest botanical garden in northern China.  Eleven themed gardens make up this 400 hectare complex.  These include a tree garden, rose garden, peony garden, and traditional medicinal herb garden. The gardens contain over 6,000 species of plants.

 In addition to all of the beautiful plants, the garden contains several historic sites, including the Cao Xueqin Memorial Hall, Tomb of Liang Qichao, and the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha.
With its ponds, elegant bridges, and gorgeous flowers, the Beijing Botanical Garden is a place of great beauty.

 Admission is free, and the garden is open daily from 7 AM to 5 PM.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Brookside Children's Garden

Brookside Children's GardenThe Brookside Children's Garden is part of the Wheaton regional park in Maryland.  Probably the most interesting feature of the garden, is the tree house pictured above.  It is constructed of recycled material.  Kids can climb the stairs, then play with wooden blocks or construct things with other natural materials.
The garden also features a gnome hut, where kids can follow stepping stones to a tea party, and a water garden, where kids can observe frogs and other assorted water creatures.
Brookside Gardens Pictures
The Brookside Chidren's Garden is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is free.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

United States Botanical Gardens

Located in Washington DC, the United States Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Established in  1850, it has grown to house about 26,000 plants, including medicinal plants, orchids, and cacti.

The Conservatory, built in 1933, houses a jungle, desert, and primeval paradise.

Outdoors, the National Garden features a variety of mid-Atlantic plants.

The gardens are open 10-5 daily, including weekends and holidays.  Admission is free.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

How to Get the Most From a Home Vegetable Garden

It's always nice to go to your back yard and pick a tomato fresh off the vine. They are so much better than most store-bought ones. Here are some tips to make growing your own vegetables in whatever space you have.

1. Grow What You Love. Make a list of what you truly love to eat, and plant accordingly. What good is it if you grow cabbages and you don't like them?  

2. Grow for Flavor. Think about veggies that don't hold up well in grocery stores. Tomatoes and corn are good examples. These vegetables seem to lose their flavor a few hours after picking.

3. Grow Crops With Bountiful Harvests.   Find plants that give all season-long. Tomatoes, beans, peas, and squash bear all summer long.

4. Grow Crops in Pots.  If you don't have much land to work with, a lot of vegetables can be grown in pots. Just make sure the pots they are planted in allow ample room for growth.

5. Use Succession Planting. Crops that are once-and-done kind of veggies can be planted numerous times within the season. When one is done, start another. Leaf lettuces are a good example of this.

6. Grow Vertically. Use trellises and tripods for vine crops. It saves space, prevents the vegetables from rotting on the ground, and even looks pretty in your garden. Cucumbers, pole beans, and winter squash are good examples of veggies that can be grown this way.

7. Mix Edibles With Ornamentals. Vegetables don't have to be combined to a garden of their own. They can look pretty with other flowers. A tomato plant on a tripod can look really nice mixed with red zinnias.