Tag Archive | sculptures

North Carolina Arboretum

As a prelude to our planned visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville last week, we decided to make a side-trip to nearby North Carolina Arboretum.

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Set in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the facility, which is part of the University of North Carolina, was officially designated as an arboretum in 1989, although the idea for an arboretum near Biltmore was originally conceived by famous landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted in 1898.

The arboretum also includes a beautiful botanic garden and since we only had a limited amount of time to look around, we concentrated our efforts on this area.

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To view the Quilt Garden to its best advantage you have to stand on the stone overlook. From there you can easily see the patterns laid out in the flower beds, butterflies being the motif at the time of our visit.

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On the far side of the garden is Blue Ridge Court which features a pool and a splendid statue of Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the father of American landscape architecture, sculpted by artist Zenos Frudakis, which was unveiled just two months before our visit.

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The Baker Exhibit Center includes a greenhouse and indoor display area. Outside, in the gardens, bees and butterflies are definitely encouraged to stop by.

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There was a certain amount of restructuring going on in the garden area and parts of it were inaccessible to visitors but there was still quite a lot to see.

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I may have been tempted to wander further afield, down one of the many trails in the arboretum, but after I spotted this sign I figured enough was enough!

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The Ribbit Exhibit.

Every year in early spring I love to visit Morton Arboretum to see the gorgeous naturalized daffodils in bloom. This year, as an added bonus, there was an intriguing display of sculptures called The Ribbit Exhibit and since it featured one of my all-time favorite creatures, the frog, I couldn’t resist trying out my new camera and capturing a few images for the picture files.

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These whimsical statues are the work of artist J.A. Cobb and are made from sheets of copper. There are 23 of these delightful characters scattered about the gardens surrounding the visitor center and Meadow Lake.

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This adorable young lady is Sasha. Cobb draws each frog piece on a sheet of copper, then hammers and folds the sheets into shape. Sasha looks as though she’s patiently waiting for her dancing lesson to begin.

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Bentley and Tortuga the turtle in the Children’s Garden. A chemical patina gives the frogs that nice green color.

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Skully looks right at home in Meadow Lake.  There were  plenty of real frogs too, down by the water’s edge. Even the turtles were climbing over each other to check out the Ribbit Exhibit.

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It seems as though once you make eye contact with frogs they stay absolutely still.  I was sitting only a foot or so away from these guys.

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Emerson the caffeinated croaker taking a coffee break and soaking up the sun outside the visitor center. The Ribbit Exhibit is on display through September 25th so hop on over to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, and take a look.

The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

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On a recent trip to Iowa we were thrilled to discover a new treasure, (new to us, anyway) The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. What a beautiful place this is! Opening in 1980 the gardens have continued to flourish and now feature such delightful areas as the hosta, English, Japanese, herb and rose gardens to mention but a few.

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They have a wonderful collection of daylilies as well as many other perennials and a colorful display greeted us at every turn.

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I was especially drawn to the English garden, of course, and having arrived at the Gardens early in the morning, we found this secluded spot very peaceful.

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There are more than 1200 hostas thriving in the shady areas of the garden and because slugs like hostas and wrens like slugs there are lots of little wren houses scattered about. These tiny birds seem to have done an excellent job of protecting the plants.

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There are several pieces of artwork in the Gardens, sculptures ranging from whimsical to traditional can be found under the trees and among the flower beds.

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Among the flowers blooming in the Gardens are many gorgeous varieties of roses and some splendid dahlias. And wild flowers have their own special area too.

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And everywhere you look you’ll these little chipmunks dashing about.

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Down by the lake in the Japanese garden we could hear frogs calling to one another and I was rewarded with an excellent opportunity for some quality one-on-one time.

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If you are anywhere near the Dubuque area, and even if you’re not, I can highly recommend a visit to the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. They are an absolute delight and what’s more there is no charge for entry which in this day and age is amazing!