Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fall at the Nursery

Monarch butterfly
 It is fall at the nursery and I for one couldn't be happier.  The weather has been amazing lately and the butterflies are everywhere which makes me ecstatic!!  
Dwarf Japanese Black Pine
 The Dwarf Japanese Black Pines look like huggable teddy bears to me- I just love these!!
Japanese Maple
 The Japanese Maples have been showing off and doing their fall color display.
Red Admiral Butterfly
The Red Admiral Butterflies seemed to enjoy the white Lantana...
Gulf Fritillary butterfly
and the Gulf Fritillary seemed to enjoy the white Leucantha.
Monarch Butterfly on Lantana
 Probably my most favorite sighting though has been the Monarchs- they are all over the place.  It is magical.  I counted 8 varieties of butterflies yesterday when out taking photos.  EIGHT!
Coral Bean
 The Coral Bean never disappoints- such a show stopping display of red blooms!!
Monarch Butterfly
Hard to say which plant was most popular.... Lantana, Salvia, Butterfly Bush, Milkweed.... just to name a few- they were all over the place.  
Swallowtail Butterfly
  I am not sure what was going on with this guy- someone told me he had freshly gotten out of his cocoon and so his wings hadn't dried out?  Never heard of that- anyone heard of that?
Swallowtail Butterfly
Plants are blooming, leaves are changing colors, succulents are turning their new shades with the cooler temps.  All of it has been wonderful!!  It's a wonderful time to be outside and enjoy nature.  The birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and the butterflies are fluttering about.
Hope you enjoyed the pics!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A Tour of Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago

Visit to Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago

We just returned from an incredible amazing trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago Illinois.   This was our first trip here and I can't believe we have not visited sooner.  This post will have to be in two parts as there are so many photos and I could turn it into three but will condense into two.  I cannot say enough good things about this place.  It was truly magnificent.  
 There are several houses at the conservatory and you wind your way through them oohing and aaahing the entire time.  Everywhere you look is perfect.  
 The conservatory is free to the public, which just means to me that they have wonderful donors and a wonderful support system and it shows.
 The beds are loaded with plants of all sizes, specimen as well as smaller sized plants throughout.
 The way they have laid out the beds clearly took lots of time, thought and planning and it shows.   The houses are clean, there are no dead plants anywhere and everything is happy and healthy.
 It is always fun for me to see plants that we use here in Austin in other climates- here is the Pride of Barbados, an old favorite of many here in Austin.  We have several planted outside the nursery, Vivero Growers,  in fact that continue to impress year after year.  
 The houses were so peaceful and tranquil- you could spend the entire day here.
 I loved this- a tribute to Aretha in one of the ponds.  She had just passed away when we were in Chicago and they wasted no time in organizing a beautiful tribute to honor her.
 The Desert House- oh my gosh.  There were so many things here that we so exciting to see.  
 Several large specimen items that we were both familiar with as well as a wonderful array of unique and rare cacti and aloe.
 The houses were approx. 25-30 feet high if that gives you any perspective as to how huge some of these were!!!
 The good ol' Yucca rostrata.  Couldn't not include him- another popular plant in Austin.
 I mean look at that!!!
 Everywhere you looked- and again, see how clean and healthy everything looks!
 Along the edges of the house were elevated beds filled with aloes, agaves and succulents.
 I posted about half of the photos I have from this house alone.
 We were so impressed.  We have visited conservatories all over the country and have never seen anything like this.
 My personal favorite of all the Kalanchoe family, here in massive specimen form.
 Everything was clearly happy.
 I was impressed at how well maintained everything was- that is not an easy task.  
 We have this Opuntia in our trough at the nursery, no where near as large as this!!
 I liked this combo- one I love the Oxalis in general, but also great color combo!!
 The Palms were so impressive.  This house was one of the taller houses. 
 Just perfect!
 Love this- the espalier apple tree with boxwood.  Perfect.
 More photos from the Desert House, it might have been my favorite house.....
 I loved all the combinations and pairings.
 Perfect Barrel Cactus planted alongside King Ferdinand and Queen Victoria's.
 Look don't touch.... these spines never come out.....
I hope you enjoyed part one of my tour.  Above is a rare yucca.  So much to see- definitely worth a visit!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Tour of the Botanical Gardens in Mexico City, Mexico

I recently toured the Botanical Gardens of Chapultepec, Mexico City, Mexico.  It was not only beautiful but was amazing.  I had been before but in the last two years, they have really made a lot of improvements and changes and I loved them!!  They have collaborated with various artists that have designed certain areas and/or installations in the garden throughout.

I have seen this over the years in Mexico City and the trend finally made it to Austin a few years ago.    I always thought they did and do a nice job of this planting with the succulents.  I feel the key is to really pack them in there to have it nice and full.

 Photos of the various cactus, agave and Yucca beds.

 Another concrete stacking succulent pile.  I love how this filled out!!
 Two views of the same bed- love the combos here and how the Creeping Jenny adds that perfect bright pop of color!!

 A few of the artist inspired beds. 

 I love plants planted in mass.  The Agaves do not disappoint.

 They really do a good job I feel on their displays.

 These straw ant sculptures are all over the place- some stand alone like this one and some peeking out behind an agave or yucca.  They are creatively placed throughout.
 There were hummingbirds all over the Agastache but I was not able to get them clearly.
 I loved this- they had tubes filled with different dried peppers throughout the gardens. 
 A few shots of the perennial gardens.  Everything was simply beautiful.

 Another artist installation/creation.  I like how they used simply barrels and loaded them with plants.

 I liked this little trio!
 An example of the bees placed throughout.
Hope you enjoyed the photos!!