Tag Archive | flowers

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Places People Visit

This week, Cee is looking for colorful pictures of places people visit for her Fun Foto Challenge, so yesterday I took a trip to my favorite place to visit, The Chicago Botanic Garden, to see what I could find. Last year, more than one million people visited the Garden which has 50,000 members, one of the largest memberships of any U.S. botanic garden.


Despite the cooler temperatures there were still a good number of visitors at the garden yesterday, all of us enjoying the sun and making the most of these last nice days before winter finally sets in.

With more than 380 acres to traverse, it would probably take most visitors an entire day, if not more, to see absolutely everything that the garden has to offer. There are, after all, more than 2.6 million living plants in the garden.



Here are a few more facts and figures that are worth bearing in mind while visiting the Garden. The Chicago Botanic Garden opened to the public just over 40 years ago. There are 27 separate gardens and 4 natural areas situated on or around nine islands with 6 miles of lake shoreline. There are 9 laboratories inside the Plant Conservation Science Center and the Garden is one of only 17 public gardens to be accredited by the American Association of Museums.



 

The Garden grounds are open from 8am to 5pm during the winter. There is a $25 parking fee on weekdays and $30 on weekends so if you live in the area and are likely to go there more than once a year I can strongly recommend purchasing a membership which gives you free parking.



For more information on The Chicago Botanic Garden visit their website at The Chicago Botanic Garden.  And for more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Places People Visit.

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Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

During our recent trip to Minnesota we were pleasantly surprised when we made a last-minute decision to visit Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul.  The conservatory was our main focus but when we realized that the zoo was right next door, we thought, “why not.” The fact that there was no admission fee for either place made a visit there even more enticing.


Besides the splendid plant collections inside the conservatory, there was a beautiful Japanese Garden and a spectacular show of water lilies outside the Visitor Center.

Although the zoo may not be as large as some, it had an amazing collection of animals in natural enclosures that allowed for some nice close-up photography opportunities.



 

 

 

Both the zoo and conservatory are operated by the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department and are open year-round.

I can highly recommend a visit to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. It’s a great place for family fun as it also includes a small amusement park and carousel.



Square in September – Floral Pink

I couldn’t let Becky’s September Squares go by without submitting a few pink flower pictures so I’ll get it out of my system now and do it all in one go. Two from the Chicago Botanic Garden, two from my garden and one from Cantigny Park in Wheaton.



For more on Becky’s Square in September Photo Challenge go to Hello September!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Farm Fences

In response to Ann-Christine’s topic of #10: Fences, this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, let me take you on a quick trip to Volkening Heritage Farm at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.


Here, fences are not so much an intrusion as a picturesque part of the overall scene.  Many of them are weathered and some used only as a temporary measure but all of them seem to blend in with their surroundings.


Naturally, the animals on the farm play a large part in many of the fence images in my Spring Valley photo files.


And flowers play an important role in the pictures too, the fences sometimes appearing to be merely an adjunct to their cheerful color.

 

Whatever purpose the fences serve, they are nearly always a welcome addition to any image of Volkening Heritage Farm.


Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Weird and Wonderful Water Lilies

The subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, set for us this week by Tina Schell, is Colorful and, following her example of introducing a little “fun and frivolity” into the mix, I decided to experiment with some pictures that I took recently at the Como Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota.



One of the reasons I started playing around with these images was the fact that, after looking at the many pictures of water lilies that I’ve amassed in the photo files over the years, they’ve all started to look very much the same.


For those of you who approve, I’ll try this ‘digital messing about’ again sometime with another subject. For those of you who don’t, I promise to try and restrain myself from getting too carried away with the experiment in the future.



For more on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge go to #8: COLORFUL

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

We kicked off a recent mini-vacation up north with a visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.  Although smaller than many of the gardens we’ve visited, it covers about 16 acres, it packs a lot of interest into some beautifully maintained areas such as the English-style Sunken Garden, the oldest part of Olbrich Gardens, with its 80ft-long reflecting pool.


Flowers are all very nice but the boys were looking for something a little more exciting and they found it when they discovered a toad in an ornamental pool in the Rose Garden.

Leaving the toad to continue its sojourn in the Rose Garden we moved on to explore the Rock Garden where we got in touch with nature, and the Herb Garden where we recognized many familiar names.

The highlight of the gardens, for me at least, was the Thai Pavilion and Garden. The pavilion was a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai Government and the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association

The pavilion was built in Thailand, disassembled, shipped to the US and reconstructed at the Gardens. No touching! All the gold that you see on the building is gold leaf applied to plantation-grown teak and will not stand up to constant handling (and there is someone there to make sure that you don’t.)


 

This beautiful structure is surrounded by gardens that are designed to resemble those that you would see in Thailand, featuring ornamental grasses, bamboo and large-leafed plants and shrubs.



I can highly recommend a visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens.  Admission to the outdoor gardens is free, with a minimal fee for visiting the adjoining Bolz Conservatory. For more information on the Gardens go to http://www.olbrich.org/

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Garden Reflections

Reflecting on the subject for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week I found a few images from the Chicago Botanic Garden that I thought would fit the bill.



For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Mirror images or reflections