20 September 2008

Preview: Chicks Outdoors!

Coming Soon - a report on the first day outside! (Really, I'm just checking how this image looks. I'm torn between uploading directly to Blogger, vs using Flickr... Bloggie techno decisions...) More later today, including video of the first venture outdoors!

15 September 2008

A Walkaround at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (Fayetteville)

Isn't it funny how we don't spend enough time visiting the really wonderful places in our own cities or regions? Can you say you've been to most of the landmarks in your town? If so, I think you have the right idea. I've moved away from areas before and realized I've never been to the places that the tourists travel hundreds or thousands of miles to see. For example, I lived in Asheville, NC for ten years and never visited the Biltmore Estate, I confess. It does, however, give me a reason to act like a tourist when I go back there to visit friends....

Anyway, I'm breaking that habit of mine now that I'm here in Northwest Arkansas. I want to be familiar with the places that make the place special. So when my Mother in law and Father in law visited the other weekend, we took them to the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, one of the loveliest spots in Fayetteville. (My other all-time favorites being the Farmer's Market on the Square on Saturday mornings and the Fayetteville Public Library.... And our realtor must have sensed this because once we saw those two things, we instantly chose Fayetteville over the other cities in the region.)

So join me on a walkaround at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, Arkansas:

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Shadow Art on the Great Lawn

The BGO is brand new, less than three years old. It's an amazing thing seeing a botanical garden begin, take root and grow where there was formerly just a lovely hay field! It's a series of named and themed gardens that radiate out around the central lawn. The Great Lawn is the site for festivals, concerts and other local happenings. (The whole place is the best spot to have a wedding in the whole region...)

We arrived in late afternoon on a Sunday and nearly had the whole place to ourselves. The angled light was splendid and depth shadows added to the drama.

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Artful Horse Apples Near the Event Hall

Now this is a clever use for the fruit from an Osage Orange! This decorative planting is outside the event hall. There must have been a wedding the day before because the tents were still up.

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My Favorite Fountain

Since I'm craving more water features here at Larrapin Garden, I gravitated to all the ponds, waterfalls and fountains -- and there are many. This one was my favorite. Made a great sound and the light just sparked off every drop.

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My Favorite mosaic of all time

The BGO is full of art. This mosaic is at the entrance to one garden -- a dragonfly of natural stone with shiny glass accents. The dragonfly is probably four foot long. What a beautiful piece!

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What a waterlily!

Like I said, water gardens everywhere. Is that an amazing color or what!

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If your veggie garden looks like this, who needs ornamentals?

Of course my favorite stop is the edible garden! Someday, I'd like my veggie garden to look this pretty!

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The Corn Sculpture in the Vegetable Garden. How can an artsy-farmer -wanna-be like me not love a six foot mosaic ear of corn?

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Black Eyed Susan Vine Among the Yard Long Beans

This picture doesn't do it justice, but the Black Eyed Susan vines were underplanted with the pole beans (the kind with pods a couple feet long!) and made the whole trellis look beautiful. Note to self: more flowers among the veggies next year!

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Cute Chicken Yard or What?

Now this is not your stuffy uptight botanical garden. You can tell because tucked behind the veggie garden is the cutest chicken yard you ever did see. With art --a bamboo star in this case -- among the chicks, of course. This is one happy bunch of bantie poultry.

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World's Cutest Chicken Coop?
And what's not to be happy about when you are a bantie living in a chicken coop that looks like a playhouse?

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The Chicken Coop Yard -- With Art. I noted they have straw, rye grass and amaranth growing in their yard. Nice! Ok, I want a bamboo star for my chicken yard. At Larrapin, it could be a good obstacle for running chickens to put between themselves and a hawk attack! (We've been lucky lately, but every morning the hawks fly around and call and call, reminding us that it's a wildlife garden, after all...)

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New Bridge in the Children's Garden. This splendid bridge, done up in my favorite blue, appeared since the last time I visited the garden.

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Adults Enjoying the Children's Garden
Caught these folks having fun on their way to the "Eagle's Nest" a concrete structure that lets you view the garden from on high.

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Secret Passage in the Children's Garden. I loved this mosaic tiny door in the chilcren's garden, leading to a big field...

Wow! What a place in my own town. Go Fayetteville! Go BGO!

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Afterwards, A Stroll by Lake Fayetteville. To finish up our Sunday outing, we walked a brief bit around Lake Fayetteville, which is back to back with the Botanical Gardens, and has 5 miles of walking trail through the forest around the lake. I love my home of three years now.

Thanks for visiting Fayetteville, Arkansas. I'd love to hear about some of the special places in your hometown backyard!