Sunday, August 2, 2015

Miami Beach Botanical Gardens

Located in Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Beach Botanical Gardens was originally created in 1962 on a vacant site opposite the Miami Beach Convention Center. Unfortunately, the "Garden Center" wasn't well-maintained, and slowly deteriorated. Hurricane Andrew finished it off in 1992. In 1996, a group of residents created the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy to restore the garden. 
Today, it is a beautiful four and a half acre garden which contains tropical and subtropical plants.

The garden can be seen as a self-guided tour, or as one led by a tour guide. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If you choose the guided tour, a $5.00 donation is requested.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Acorn Hall and Gardens

Acorn Hall, located in Morristown, New Jersey, Is an Italian mansion that was built in 1853. It is now the home of the Morris County Historical Society. The gardens around the building are quite nice. There is a rose garden that contains thirty varieties  of Victorian roses, a formal knot garden, and a lovely fern garden.

Tours of the property are given Wednesday and Thursday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and on Sunday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Admission for adults is $6.00. Children under twelve are admitted free.   

Sunday, July 5, 2015

East Texas Arboretum

Located in Athens, Texas, the East Texas  Arboretum is a relatively new place. It covers 100 acres and contains marshlands, dry pasture fields, and gardens, including an herb garden and wildflower restoration area.  There's a very nice nature trail that goes along streams and over a 115 foot suspension bridge. If you're lucky, you may see some deer or even a frog or two.  Also on the grounds is the Wofford House Museum. It was built in 1850, and gives a glimpse of what life was like at that time.

The arboretum is open from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM in the spring and summer, and from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the fall and winter. Admission is $4.00 for adults and $3.00 for children.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Swan Lake Iris Garden

Swan Lake Iris Garden is a 150 acre garden full of Japanese irises, camellias, lilies, azaleas, and magnolias. The 45 acre lake is home to eight species of swans.

The story surrounding the garden is rather interesting. It began in 1927 as a private fishing retreat for Hamilton Carr Bland, a local business man. He had attempted to landscape his home with irises, but failed miserably. Frustrated, he dug up all the iris bulbs and dumped them at the lake. The next spring, the irises came up and bloomed. They've been flourishing ever since. Mr. Bland deeded the gardens to the city in 1949.

The gardens are open from 7:30 AM until dusk. Admission is free. (The best time to view the irises is from mid-late May until early June.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summerville Azalea Park

Summerville Azalea Park, located in Summerville, South Carolina, is a 16 acre public park. Of course, it has many beautiful flowering azaleas. It also has dogwood, wisteria, and crepe myrtle, as well as five butterfly reflecting ponds, bronze sculptures, a gazebo, and ornamental bridges.

It's a lovely place to spend an afternoon wandering down the nature trails. Spring is the best time to view the colorful blooms.

The park is open from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Admission is free. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

South Carolina Botanical Garden

The South Carolina Botanical Garden is a 270 acre garden located in Clemson, South Carolina, near the Clemson University Campus. It has grown considerably from its original 40 acre size. There are many garden areas here, including the Class of '39 Caboose Garden, a butterfly garden, a conifer collection, and a very beautiful Meditation Garden which has a waterfall, gazebo, and pool.

There are a couple of other interesting things on the grounds, including a Geology Museum, and cabin built in 1716, known as the Hanover House.

The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission is free.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a 400 acre property that was founded in 1678 by the Drayton family. It is Charleston's most visited plantation, and it's easy to see why.  There's a lot there! It's home to America's oldest garden - The Barbados Tropical Garden. Other gardens on the property include a Biblical garden, topiary garden, a maze of camellias, and a swamp garden that spans 60 acres. Bald Eagles, egrets, otters, and of course, alligators, can be seen in the swamp garden. Visitors can enjoy a variety of bog plants, ornamental grasses, and wildflowers. 

Additional attractions include a petting zoo, Old African American Cabin, and conservatory.

The gardens are open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Cost of admission for adults is $15.00, and for children, $10.00. There is an additional cost for the plantation house tour, nature boat tour, and the Audubon Swamp Garden. All-inclusive tickets are available, but those are rather costly - $47.00 for adults, $43.00 for children.