Langtry, Texas – May 2019 – Judge Roy Bean and a Cactus Garden

In West Texas the story goes there are 3 types of people: Those who know Judge Roy Bean from a 1970s movie, those who know Judge Roy Bean from their Texas schoolbooks, and those who are ignorant to the most important person in the history of West Texas. I come from the first group.

Roy Bean was born in Kentucky in 1825, and lived an adventuresome life that eventually lead him to a small Texas town which he renamed after his favorite actress, Lily Langtry – and became the Justice of the Peace for the ‘Law West of the Pecos’

Today there isn’t much in Langtry except a visitor center with a fantastic cactus garden, as well as the original buildings the Judge built in the 1800s.










The cactus garden is very cool with numerous different types of cacti.





























The Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center & Museum, and Cactus Garden was a very unexpectedly nice stop in the desolation of West Texas.






Houston – May 2019 – McGovern Centennial Gardens

Just south of downtown Houston is Hermann Park, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens. It is a small, well thought out space with flowers, plants and statues.














The statues featured great Latin American leaders, as well as (strangely) Scottish poet Robert Burns!












Avery Island, Louisiana – May 2019 – Jungle Gardens

With Avery Island’s location in southern Louisiana the main agricultural business is sugar cane.



With the year round warm, wet weather it is the perfect climate for nature to grow. In the late 1800s the son of the founder of Tabasco sauce, Edward Avery McIlhenny, created the botanical gardens known as Jungle Gardens.



The gardens cover 170 acres of Avery Island.



There isn’t a large number of different plants, flowers and trees, but the gardens are well laid out, and immaculately kept up.



As with most of Louisiana, water is always nearby.



Including this nice pond, with a warning sign to not feed the alligators (which seems like anyone would know that).



We did NOT feed this alligator.



The turtles were safely out of harms way.



A few buildings remain from the early days of Tabasco pepper growing.




This drive is appropriately named Wisteria Lane, as you make your way under the Wisteria arch.



The highlight however is Bird City. In 1895 Edward raised eight egrets in captivity, releasing them in the fall for their migration. The next year they returned with more egrets.

Ever since then thousands of egrets return to Avery Island in the spring and reside there until late summer.

When we arrived for the Tabasco tour we were one of the few who opted to purchase combination tickets for the factory tour and the gardens. It was money well spent!








New Orleans – May 2019 – Botanical & Sculpture Gardens

City Park in New Orleans is a perfect place to escape the hustle of the city and relax. It is larger than Central Park in New York, with a number of attractions throughout, including the New Orleans Botanical Garden.



There is an impressive piazza just across the street.



The street itself is lined with Live Oaks, complete with Spanish Moss.



The Arrival Garden is colorful, with the flowers growing up the wall.



There is a nearby sculpture garden, as well as sculptures scattered throughout the gardens themselves.






The walkway was in full bloom.



Most of the gardens were destroyed by the flood waters from Hurricane Katrina, but with donations and volunteers from all over the country it has recovered nicely.



The Train Garden is designed to represent New Orleans in the early 1900s. It has over 1300′ of track, and on weekends they run the trains.




The Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Garden was completed by the Japanese Garden Society of New Orleans.



Throughout the gardens are well placed sculptures to accent the flowers and plants.



City Park is home to more Live Oaks than any other urban space in the country.



A view inside the Conservatory of the Two Sisters.



A final look back towards the gardens.



And the Arrival Garden becomes our Departure Garden.



As a spectacular bonus just across the street is the Casino Building, which is being restored. Just outside on this beautiful day was the Cafe du Monde beignet truck!

No need to fight the crowd in the French Quarter, we had wonderful, warm, powdery beignets in the relative calm (along with 30 4th graders on a field trip!) of the park.






Birmingham, Alabama – May 2019 – Early Morning Visit to the Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is located at the base of a large hill in the southern part of the city. Since it’s opening to this day there is no admission charge to the gardens, it is there for the pleasure of the residents (and visitors).


There are a few sculptures throughout the gardens.


By mid May the flowers in Alabama are in full bloom.







There are 30 different gardens on the 67 acres. The most interesting was the Asian gardens.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a nice place to spend a couple of hours in the cool of a May Alabama morning.








Huntsville, Alabama – May 2019 – Chinese Lanterns at the Botanical Gardens

On a recent road trip we found ourselves in Huntsville, Alabama for one night, with our hotel about a mile from the botanical gardens. While looking for something to do that evening we discovered that the Chinese Lanterns were in town at the aforementioned gardens.



We arrived about 45 minutes before sundown to check out the gardens. The fountain was catching the setting sun just right to make a rainbow.



The family of geese were heading home for the evening.



As the sun was setting we stopped by the stage to watch the martial arts demonstration.



Now that the sun had mostly set, the lanterns were vivid in their illumination.



The setting in the botanical garden provided a more interesting setting than we were used to, with ponds to display (and reflect) the lanterns.



There was a large display of one we hadn’t previously seen.



The main display on a pond was fantastic.



Huntsville is a much smaller city that Columbus, yet they put on a nice show.



We usually see the lanterns around Christmas in Ohio when it is very cold. It was nice to check them out in summer attire.