Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Bayou Celebration

The Buffalo Bayou Park will host its grand opening on October 3. The Park has been transformed with new running and bike paths, a dog park, a nature play area, and the Dunlavy  at Lost Lake. For the past several weeks a workshop has invited Houstonians to help build lanterns for a processional to help celebrate the completion of the Buffalo Bayou Park. The ideas for the lanterns were generated in community sessions with astounding results. The procession of lanterns will begin at four distinct points in the Park before converging in a mix of color, sound, and images to represent the diversity and perpetual motion of the city. Read more about the ideas behind the lanterns and the project here.

A few of the finished lanterns including a loaded taco
Lanterns in Progress: A grasshopper, a Bat, and a gorgeous Czech figure
A perfect interpretation of the Astrodome
Volunteers helping with the finishing touches

A volunteer finishing a perfect armadillo

Brainstorming wall with images and notes 

Houston's Cycling community represents
A steam boat with all its passengers in tow
A Beautiful self-portrait made my one of the participants

A Perfectly Fruity ArtCar
Detail of the ArtCar Lantern

With all the thoughtful details going into the Park's grand opening, this is one celebration you don't want to miss!

Keep Exploring,
The Bayou Botanist

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Where the Wild Things are!

Where can you feed giraffes, watch elephants take a bath, and sneak past a sleeping lion? At the Houston Zoo! The Houston Zoo is home to 6000 animals on 55 acres located within Hermann Park. It all started in 1922 when a Bison named Earl was donated to the City of Houston by a traveling circus. The Zoo quickly expanded from there and today welcomes over 1.8 million visitors a year.
Flamingo enclosure; fun fact: flamingos depend on carotenoids for their pink color

Reflection pool near the main entrance of zoo leading to the world of the primates

Even with the weather being in the high 90's, the shade from the tree lined paths provided relief from the sun. At times, it felt like you were in a tropical lagoon or dense bamboo forest far away from a city.

Duck Lake with its namesake floating along
Mike's Memorial Garden next to Duck Lake
Take a ride on the Wildlife Carousel
An example of how to build your own bee nest box. Drill a variety of sized holes into untreated wood. Learn more here

Can you spy the Crowned Lemurs?

Bamboo lines the Paths in the World of Primates. New sprouts of Bamboo can grow 3-4 feet per week, reaching up to 20 ft in just 3 years.
This little Patas monkey just wanted a nap. Don't let him fool you. Patas are the fastest monkeys with speeds reaching 34mph!
The majestic Asian Elephant having a snack
Another type of Green Elephants lounging under the shade of live oak trees
Jonathan the Lion taking a nap. His roar can be heard up to 5 miles away.
Who is sleeping in his cave? The Speckled Bear! The Speckled Bear is the only Bear species from South America
The beautiful entrance to the new African forest 
Lanterns hang from trees in the Gorilla enclave
Enjoy paddle boats when you leave the Zoo at the McGovern Lake in Hermann Park
How can you say no to horses playing beautiful music in front of a hanging plant garden as you say goodbye? Band: The Charlie Horse
Keep Exploring!
The Bayou Botanist

Thursday, August 13, 2015

More than Beer Gardens. . .

A view from the upper balcony of the Subtropical House
While in Germany, I was able to visit the  Botanischer Garten Tubingen. The garden is connected to the University of Tubingen and dates back to the establishment of a medicinal garden by Leonhart Fuchs in 1535.  With over 10,000 plant species from 5 continents, a visitor can spend an entire day exploring the grounds. The Garden and arboretum includes five greenhouses, a Japanese Garden, an Alpine forest, a Swabian collection, vineyards, and a medicinal herb garden.
Succulent House 

Succulent House 

Succulent House 
Succulent House

A collection of Ornamental Plants 

For me, the most distinctive section of the garden was the Alpinum. A visitor can wander through a series of paths that weave around rock formations while exploring the plant life found in the Swabian steppe.

From the Alps House

The Alps House
Plants in the crevasses

Japanese Garden

A Lily Pond captures the sky above

If you're in Tubingen, take advantage of the gardens for a hidden place to read or to take an afternoon stroll.
Keep Exploring!
The Bayou Botanist 

What you need to know: 
Monday - Friday:

Visit the website here: Botanischer Garten Tubingen 

Admission is Free.
Open every day. 

Garden: 7:30 am - 04:45 pm
Greenhouses: 8:00 am - 04:30 pm
Weekends and public holidays:
Garden: 08:00 am - 04:45 pm
Greenhouses: 10:00 am - 04:30 pm

Saturday, August 8, 2015

je t'aime paris!

Watching Sailboats float by at the Jardin de Luxembourg

A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in - what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars. -Victor Hugo, Les Miserables 

Oh, Paris. In just a few short days, you managed to make me fall in love with you (says everyone). Who can say no to the Louvre, strolls along the Seine, Musee d'Orsay, Versailles, and your macaroons? But when you throw a girl with a garden obsession into a city with such otherworldly Parks and Gardens as Jardin de Luxembourg, Jardin des Tuileries, and Jardin des Plantes. . . you've left little to be desired. Below are images from the Jardin des Plantes, the main botanical garden in France.
Jardin des Plantes, row after row of flowers leading up to the Grande Galerie de l'evolution

A display of Stones from around France

Alice's Talking Flowers 

The flowers never ended 

Dahlias: "Rose des Sables"

Tree lined walking paths to the right and left of the "Squares of Perspective"

Bee house in the "Garden of Bees and Birds"

Lotus Flowers with their water-repellent leaves

As we approach the Greenhouses
The Greenhouse of Tropical Rainforests

The Greenhouse of Tropical Rainforests View

A view from a three tiered staircase behind the waterfall to observe the canopy 
The Greenhouse of Deserts and Arid Environments 

The Greenhouse of Deserts and Arid Environments

In the Greenhouse of the History of Plants
Petrified Wood in the Greenhouse of the History of Plants

Farewell, Paris! See you soon. From the Ferris Wheel at Jardin des Tuileries
If you stop by Paris this summer, make sure to move the gardens to the top of your list. Just a simple stroll can change your perspective. . . 'a few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.'

Keep Exploring!
The Bayou Botanist

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