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.