Another Wander

Again, I was given another two hours to wander in the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. I set off in the opposite direction from last week. I quickly came across an area filled with plants that had not yet been planted.

This surprised me! This is the time of year you are putting in new plants? Later, I learned from my husband (who learned it from his class) these were plants being transferred in the garden. Currently the garden constructing a new entrance, so these will be relocated after the construction.

I wandered down the path and came across the children’s garden. The gate was open, so I went in to explore the entrance as the actual children’s garden was closed. Doesn’t this look like a mess?

I was intrigued by the sign proclaiming this a scent garden. I sniffed (through the mask) and smelled popcorn. I inhaled again and this time it was cilantro. This was prairie dropseed and the odor is most prominent in the fall. I couldn’t believe how potent it was smelling through my mask!

My attention was grabbed by this plant: American Beautyberry. I loved the gradation of of the berry colors. This section of the garden had the purple berry, but later I found the white berry in another section of the gardens.

The path led me to the Center for Home Gardening where tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers filled the beds along with a few other interesting plants, such as this one – Okra. I could not believe the size of the okra!

I would have loved to walk under the arbor filled with hanging gourds, but I suppose it was safer to view it from the side.

As I left the garden area, I entered the Japanese garden. It was time for a little zen.

Just imagine creating a gravel garden. Using a special rake to create designs and lines in the gravel. Peace descends . . .

as you move the rake slowly through the gravel.

But sometimes there is a problem . . .

someone (something) can’t read the sign and respect the request. Sigh!

Another sign is often posted. Can you figure out what some people may be inclined to do when they see these trees?

Please do not climb the tree. But isn’t it a tempting idea? Can’t you imagine sitting in the crook of the branch with a book? I can.

Are you surprised to find sprinklers attached to hoses in the gardens? I was! I thought they had an in ground watering system. But no, there were sprinklers and hoses everywhere. Who knew?

Time was running short and I had to revisit a spot from last week to note a change. This week I passed a plant that made me stop and look closely.

This is a balloon flower. This is the flower I saw in images when I googled balloon flower. I could not believe this flower came from the plant I saw the week before also labeled balloon flower.

Last week
This week

So my conclusion is . . . there are two plants with the same name. I suppose their technical names are different, because I can’t believe the authority that names plants would give the same name to two totally different plants.

The pruning class is over, so it will be a new season when I return to the gardens and it will look very different.

Don’t you have a story to share?

A Gift of Time

How often do you get the chance to wander or leisurely stroll or stop, sit and observe in a botanical garden? What a gift! My husband was taking a pruning class for two hours, so I was on my own to wander or leisurely stroll or stop, sit and observe. I enjoyed every minute. Come with me for a few of the sights.

In the butterfly garden I discovered this balloon plant. The green balls are the bud, so I wonder if I will see flowers next week. (Yes, I get to go back next week too. 🙂 Stay tuned!) Butterflies like to lay their eggs on this plant and the larva love to eat it.

I didn’t see many butterflies hovering around the blossoms but I did spot

this enormous bumblebee! I was tempted to pet his fuzzy body, but reason took over and I only watched it and many more visiting the flowers.

After a wander through the hosta section of the gardens, I spent most of my time with water lilies.

This is a mosaic water lily. I love the way the little diamond shaped leaves join together to create a round shape.

The Victoria Water Lily looks like floating platters. The underside is covered with an arrangement of veins or ribs. Air becomes trapped between the ribs which allows it to float.

Yes, that is Chihuly glass in the water lily garden. Note that all leaves are not green.
Statue and tree reflection in the water, plus a quick water bug.

As I sat by the water lily gardens, I noticed movement. Water bugs were playing tag on the still water. A dragonfly landed on a bud and rested. All of a sudden bubbles rise to the top, pause, then pop. Ripples appear from nowhere. I have the time to discover all the action happening on the surface of the water.

One last water lily view –

The tag said Lycoris, but this is not the plant google finds when searching. When I saw the leaf, top left, I though perhaps the very hungry caterpillar had visited.

What does this look like to you? Does it look like a plant you might see in the spring? This is an autumn crocus! I had no idea there was such a plant.

Next week I will explore another section of the gardens. Wonder what I will find. Here is one final picture –

I have a Chihuly crown!
Don’t you have a story to share?

Learning

As a child, I devoured books. Trixie Belden, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and more lived in my head and heart. I followed their adventures with glee. Then in high school I fell in love with Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, D’Artagnan in The Three Muskateers, or anything by James Michner. The longer the book, the more I enjoyed being lost in this fictional world. Fiction ruled my reading world.

Nonfiction reading was for writing research papers. I didn’t really consider that “reading.” Where was the joy in facts? This reading had a purpose, meet the teacher’s request to research and spit back the information acquired.

Now I must admit, I did love reading nonfiction picture books. The combination of the pictures with the text opened my mind to an interesting natural world. They piqued my curiosity.

So that was the extent of my nonfiction reading, until I read a book by Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. A couple of friends were reading it and their conversations intrigued me to discover this book, too. Sy Montgomery has caught me in her web of books and I can’t stop reading and thinking about her ability to draw the reader into her world of discovery.

Currently, I am reading Birdology by Sy Montgomery. The sub title is Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur. Doesn’t that just make you want to know more?

I’ve always been interested in watching birds, but this book gives me a whole new perspective to consider. In the introduction she says,

“No matter where we live, birds live with us. Too many of us take them for granted. We don’t appreciate how very strange they are, how different. We don’t realize what otherworldly creatures birds are.”

All this is to say, that on my morning walk I passed a neighbor’s yard and saw this –

a yard shimmering with little spider webs. I stepped closer. There was a red dot in the first one. I looked at another one, same red dot.

I gently blew on the red dot. It scurried to the edge of the web. I was curious, I needed to know more. Probably Sy Montgomery would have a variety of protocols in place to help her learn more, however, I just used google when I got home. 🙂

According to my “research” they are probably black-tailed red sheetweavers also known as red grass spiders. They are only found in Mexico, the West Indies, and the United States. Should you want to know more about these spiders click here. During the day, the webs disappear. I will be looking tomorrow to see if they reappear.

What sparks your curiosity?

Don’t you have a story to share?

A Better Day, Tomorrow

In my desk drawer, I found a card that a dear friend made for me. I’m so glad I never sent it away.

I needed these words on Tuesday. I found these words Thursday. I will keep them front and center if I have a day like Tuesday again.

Last week was my birthday. I decided to celebrate all week long. Small moments each day filled my heart with joy. It continued through the weekend and then Tuesday arrived.

It was dreary, no sunshine to recharge my internal solar battery. I ached. I was out-of-sorts. I don’t usually have that kind of day. I hoped that in the morning I would wake up with a better attitude.

I did.

Don’t you have a story to share?