Part 2 of our visit to the Tohono Chul Arboretum focuses on the plants, most of which are native to Southern Arizona.
After an entire lifetime of living in the east, life has dealt us a curveball, resulting in us relocating from Ohio to Arizona. We took the opportunity to take a bit extra time during the 2000 mile move to stop and see a few sights along the way. Some of the more extended stops will have their own posting.
Let’s start by leaving Columbus
Time to head west.
First state – Kentucky
Our first stretch break was south of Louisville at Bernheim Arboretum. In addition to the natural scenery there were many sculptures.
After a very long drive across much of Kentucky, we reached the Tennessee border in the far northwestern corner of the state.
It was on to Memphis for the night. We saw enough sights in our brief visit to Memphis to warrant it’s own posting.
The next day started with a drive across the Mississippi River into Arkansas
After extended stops in Little Rock and Hot Springs (postings follow this one), we found ourselves near the small town of Murfreesboro at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. This park is known for being an open diamond ‘mine’ where you pay $10 and are welcome to go dig around for diamonds.
The park has a sign detailing recent and records finds – each day someone find small diamonds, and every once in a while a big find is made.
We did not strike it rich so we continued west, passing Texarkana, which as the name suggests is on the Texas/Arkansas border.
Our last brief stop of the day was in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Their very nice courthouse square has a public restroom with one way mirrors, so you can ‘take care of business’ while watching the world go by 🙂
A couple more hours lead to a great sunset while arriving in Dallas.
The next morning started out across West Texas, passing the town of Cisco (must be where they got the name of the company)
Our first extended stop of the day was in Abilene (posting to follow).
Texans are very proud of their home.
The drive across Texas continued, passing wind turbines then oil derricks.
After 575 mile we were through Texas (or so we though…), arriving in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Eastern New Mexico was still oil country but it quickly transitioned to the mountains. The peak of our trip was in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
After dropping more than 4000 feet we arrived in Alamogordo, home to White Sands National Park (individual posting later).
The plan was to drive the 70 miles to Las Cruces for the night but there was a landslide, resulting in a detour adding an addition 50 miles, resulting us ending up back in Texas (briefly) again.
Eventually we made it to Las Cruces, and the next morning started on the literal home stretch.
After 2000 miles we have reached our new home state! With this move we have a fantastic opportunity for new sights and experiences, so stay tuned….
The United States National Arboretum is located a couple of miles away from the Capitol building in the northeastern section of the District of Columbia.
It is located on 446 acres of land, with numerous focus areas throughout.
One of the highlights however has nothing to do with trees, plants or flowers. It is instead the National Capitol Columns.
In 1958 an addition was made to the Capitol building, and the columns, which had been installed in 1828, were no longer required. For decades they sat unused, until in the 1980s they were relocated here.
The caps were retained as well, and show the great detail.
They surround the stone foundation, complete with a pool.
We moved on to the Herb Garden – which has a view of the columns in the distance.
The herb garden is well landscaped.
Numerous workers were hard at it, keeping the place looking good.
The previous evenings thunderstorm gave the entire area a fresh look.
The herb garden had numerous sections focusing on various uses including a section on dyes, such as these flowers.
The nearby visitor center had a mid century modern vibe to the design.
The azalea section lead up a hill, to a supposed view of the Capitol building
No view was found, but plenty of colorful bushes.
The Dogwood section was next…
The sunny morning highlighted the flowers and leaves.
The gardens were a perfect place for romance.
Our last stop for the morning was in the Asian Gardens.
These tall thin sculptures are made out of bamboo.
The Garden make a great stop away from the touristy areas of the city.
Keeping with the annual repeat visits this weekend, we stopped by the Franklin Park Conservatory for their Holiday Lights exhibit.
The professional division gingerbread house winner.
They have a mix of traditional holiday floral with the the permanent displays.
More floral close ups.
The center hall was all decked out for the season.
The other halls had interesting lighting on the plants.
Outside near the glass blowing studio were additional glass ‘trees’.
The Children’s Garden had the largest display of lights.
The glass block steps in the Palm House were lit.
Additional glass pieces outside on a courtyard.
Afterwards we made a brief stop at a park downtown for additional lights.
Our destination this day was Elkhart, Indiana – home of a collection of ‘Quilt Gardens’ and ‘Quilt Murals’. But first a quick stop at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.
Hammond is in Lake County, which is a mix of industrial, suburban and farming set along the south shore of Lake Michigan. Their welcome center is built to represent the waves, silos and steel mills of the county.
The movie A Christmas Story was set in Hammond (although filmed in Cleveland and Toronto). One of the famous scenes is where a little kid is talked into sticking his tongue on a freezing cold flag pole, thus getting stuck. It is recreated here in a statue.
Once we arrived in Elkhart we saw our first mural.
As well as the quilt garden. To us the gardens were somewhat of a bust – they are difficult to see because they are too flat to the ground, and just appear as a mix of flowers (albeit nice flowers)
The entire county did have a collection of decorated elk though.
We spent an hour at the Wellfield Arboretum, which has a nice collection of sculptures, plants and flowers.
A steel rodent?
There were also some water features along with a number of painted ‘sticks’.
The arboretum was well kept.
In nearby Middlebury is the ‘World’s Fair Gardens’. These gardens were first presented in the Chicago Century of Progress fair in the 1930s.
They were later moved to Middlebury where they have existed ever since.
The Middlebury site had a quilt gardens that was easier to see as it was on a small hill.
Our next stop of Long Island North Shore former estates is the Planting Fields Arboretum. As with the others it was an estate for a wealthy New York City resident – William Robertson Coe. William took an easier route to wealth, he married into it.
The Coe’s were avid gardeners, hiring renown landscape artists to design the estate. In the mid 1950s it became a temporary campus for the State University of New York, but finally in the mid 1960s it became an arboretum.
One of the more interesting features is a tunnel of evergreens.
Eventually we went into the greenhouses and were met with a nice collection of flowers and plants.
We left the greenhouses and made our way over to the Italian Gardens.
Nearby is the mansion, which in keeping with the theme of the day was closed to visitors.
As we returned to the Italian Gardens we first met the ‘running of the brides’. Apparently this is a very popular place for wedding photography, and for the rest of the afternoon we were dodging brides.
We saw about 10 different wedding groups (on a Tuesday afternoon)!
Finally we left the wedding parties and moved to another greenhouse.
Our wedding day complete, we went back into the town of Oyster Bay where we were greeted with a great statue of their favorite son, Teddy Roosevelt.
The Holden Arboretum is located outside of Cleveland, offering a collection of gardens as one of the largest arboretums in America. Recently they have added a couple of features, the Canopy Walk and the Observation Tower.
The Canopy Walk allows you to observe the forest from 65′ above the ground on suspension bridges between towers.
The Observation Tower, over 100′ high, offers views above the trees, as well as Lake Erie off in the distance.
After our tree top adventure, we toured the remainder of the gardens.