Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Maine Minutiae : 248 Acres of Awesome

Tiptoe Through the Tulips*
With the onset of fall, I am looking back with great fondness on this year's garden. I may be a bit early in doing so, but I am also looking forward to and am already tossing around ideas for 2011. I live in an apartment with my wife and kids, so I am limited as to exactly what I can do gardenwise, but I plow (pun intended) ahead by doing as much as I can without pissing off the Property Manager. And those you that know me know that I teeter right on the edge of "acceptable" and "don't you dare". Such is life. While time is short until first frost here in Maine, we still have time to enjoy the bounty before us and I know just the place to enjoy said bounty - the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. From mainegardens.org/  we learn of the humble beginnings of CMBG, "This magnificent and ambitious project began with a kernel of an idea generated by Rollins Hale of Boothbay Harbor. He and other mid-coast Maine residents who shared the belief that northern New England in general, and Maine in particular, were in need of a botanical garden founded the grassroots organization in 1991." Sixteen years later, on June 13, 2007, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens became a dream come true. The Gardens now encompasses 248 acres, a 9500 square foot Visitors Center, a seasonal cafe and a gift shop, as well as a bevy of  blooming botanical beauties bound to bewilder you. The CMBG also serve as an educational experience, with information about natural history, botany, horticulture and the ecology of the area. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens can be reached here. CMBG is privately funded (as far as I can tell) and that alone is reason enough to label it as 248 acres of awesome.

*Photo from Downeast.com

Colorado Chronicles : Mile High Oasis

What would you an oasis located smack dab in the middle of over 2 million people at an elevation of 5280 feet? I call it the Denver Botanic Gardens. A fledgling idea between local gardeners, botanists and civic leaders in 1951, one location change and fifty-six years later, the DBG are one of the premier botanic gardens in the United States. The site was originally in another part of town, but it was not a very secure location and vandals were constantly stealing and trampling the goodies and by 1959, planting at the current location had begun. A few years later in 1966, the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at The Gardens, housing tropical and sub-tropical plants was dedicated, and with that the Denver Botanic Gardens became a year round attraction. DBG also has two other sites in its family, one of them in nearby Chatfield, the other at Mount Goliath, where at over 10,000 feet in elevation, there are only forty frost-free days a year! At DBG you'll find a gift shop, the Helen Fowler Library, a calendar of events and exhibits and more. Heck, you can even rent the facility for special occasions! In short, Denver Botanic Gardens is much more than just a neat place to go see the natural beauty that makes Colorado what it is. DBG is truly a Mile High Oasis.

Texas Tidbits : A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

If I were a ramblin' gamblin' man, and I've been known to do a little of both, I'd lay down good money that the most popular flower in the United States is the rose. As the title of this post suggest, the rose could have been named the "sweaty gym socks flower" and it would still smell like something that The Almighty adorns Paradise with. Ahhhhhh...the rose, a symbol of love and devotion, a symbol of rememberance and just a great addition to any flower garden. Which brings us to the Rose Capital of the World, Tyler, TexasA brief history : Tyler is situated in an ideal location for growing all kinds of smellin'-good, tasty and/or ornamental plants as the climate is pretty moderate with rainfall occurring throughout the year. For these reasons, succulent peaches were once to Tyler and Smith County what the elegant rose is today, but in the early 20th Century the blight decimated the peach crop in the area. Enter La Rosa. At this time, roses were already popular in East Texas, so it was a natural fit for it to fill a major void in agricultural production and revenue for Tyler.  A little north of South Loop 323 at the Glenwood (I think) intersection, lies one of the most magnificent floral displays on Earth - The Tyler Minicipal Rose Garden . The Rose Garden is fourteen acres of horticultural heaven featuring about five hundred varieties of the rose, with some of the antique rose varieties dating back to 1867! Since opening in 1952, the Rose Garden has been ooooo'ed and ahhhhh'ed over by millions of people from around the world. A predecessor to the Rose Garden is the Texas Rose Festival, held in mid- October, is now entering its ninth decade as a showcase for the flower that has made Tyler, Texas The Rose Capital of the World. A rose by any other name......                             

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