Montreal – July 2019 – Botanical Gardens

The Montreal Botanical Gardens is one of the finest, if not the finest, botanical gardens in North America. It has a large number of specialty gardens, such as a Chinese Gardens (covered in a separate posting), as well as numerous thematic gardens – including one dedicated to poisonous plants!

Overall the gardens are amazingly beautiful, and well kept.


























































Columbus – July 2019 – Bird Walk at Audubon Park

Audubon Park is located just south of downtown Columbus in a reclaimed ‘brown field’, aka – old industrial areas. The transformation to a nature preserve is amazing.



We were there on a Saturday morning for a ‘Beginning Birding Hike’. Our guide Erika was knowledgeable and enthusiastic.



We started out with the easy ones in the feeders.



While ostensibly we were there to check out the birds, the flowers and plants were interesting as well.



Not to mention twin turtles.



The bees were busy…



Of course I was too busy taking photos to pay attention to what type of bird this was!



As always wandering off from the crowd, who came away with more knowledge about birds than I did.



The boardwalk across the wetlands provided more flower and plant photo ops.




More birds..





The small, but passionate group was very focused.



An egret,



And a blue heron.



Despite the heat it was a great way to spend a couple of hours, thanks to the parks and our guide Erika.





Cleveland – July 2019 – The Garden Walk

A beautiful Saturday afternoon was the perfect time to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Only in this case we chose to go to the ‘Detroit Shoreway’ neighborhood in Cleveland for our walk.

Why – because this neighborhood, and many others in Cleveland, were participating in ‘GardenWalk Cleveland 2019’. We were fortunate enough to meet one of the founders of Cleveland’s, who said they go the idea from Buffalo, New York’s.

The Detroit Shoreway neighborhood is named so from Detroit Avenue, which is the original road from Cleveland to Detroit, and it is located along Lake Erie. Most of the homes in the neighborhood are over 100 years old, with many being exquisitely restored.

For the Garden Walk there were over 80 gardens to see, each with their own unique interpretation! Each had a sign indicating they were participating in the walk, and to guide us to which part of the yard was open (front, side, back)
































































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.