Monday, October 17, 2011

Huntsville Botanical Gardens Part One

Part one of my two part Huntsville Botanical Gardens starts us out at the very large visitor center. Right away we find a fabulous Japanese maple that was just beginning to show its fall color. I wish I had thought to write down the cultivar of this Japanese maple but did not. It was not a cultivar I was familiar with but I'd like to know it better. Look at how it glows!
Here is another view of the Japanese maple. To the right of it was a large pot that surrounded another tree. This is where we all had our group picture taken. I do not have a copy of the group picture though so this photo will have to suffice.
The next stop on our travels was to a miniature city complete with trains and ponds and streams. It almost looks as though this city is full sized depending on your vantage point.
The bonsai trees were a real treat in this area. That deciduous rounded leaved tree you see in the center of this picture is a gingko. It was miniaturized (bonsai) very meticulously. The Jimster has read my large bonsai book several times over. He is planning to attempt to bonsai a seedling Japanese maple next spring (or sooner if I can find a seedling in the garden).
Ponds were the word of the day in the gardens. This pond was actually inside of a screened butterfly house. I have a small bathtub pond in my garden but the more I see beautiful ponds like this the more I wish for a larger pond here. My friend Naomi says she'll come and help me build a pond but I have not committed to one yet. The work in maintaining one scares me. Plus, in my garden there are a lot of trees and tree roots. I have no idea where I could locate a pond like this. If I ever did get a pond I'd like one like this. I like that you can see the bottom of the pond. It seemed more natural than the deep dark ones that you usually see.
This pavilion would be a perfect spot to lounge around for like forever. It was so beautiful. 
This water lily pond was surrounded by a hedge of mature 'Emerald Green' arborvitae. I just read in a pond book that water lilies must have still water. I had no idea and am guessing this pond bears that out since there does not appear to be a pump in this water lily pond. 

I happen to be a big fan of arborvitae like those you see in the picture above. I really liked the way the hedge enclosed the pond area in a formal manner. The arborvitae were so green and so lush and so formal. Even if your garden leans more toward the natural like mine these arborvitaes have a spot in all gardens. I have a hedge like this and it is doing okay considering I moved my mature trees earlier this year.
Another shot inside of the butterfly house finds us in the 'Misty Cave'. It was a cool spot where Mr. Fix-it and I were able to relax. This butterfly house had mostly, if not all, native butterflies. Most butterfly houses I have visited seem to have exotic butterflies from other parts of the world. Not so here. We saw mostly frittilaries but there were other types fluttering about as well.
Outside in the gardens the monarchs were busy on the asters. The orange and purple color combination is an awesome combination.

There were many vignettes scattered about the grounds that included scarecrows and other Halloween related creatures. This spider was great. That handsome young man under it is my youngest son Jimmy. He had a fantastic time hanging out with his parents at the garden. We not only saw lots of cool plants, shrubs, and trees but we got lost in a sorghum maze. Have you ever seen sorghum growing? It looks like corn but without the ears and it is much much taller than corn. It grows kind of like Johnson grass. The maze was a lot of fun. I can't remember if I've ever done a maze before but I tell you that you can really get lost quite easily.

Lastly, since I am a tree person I had to show my dear husband looking at a neat tree. Trees are the stars of the show in my opinion because of their structure, their versatility, their interest and their wide variety of types. I am not sure what kind of tree this one was but look at that branching structure. Don't you just want to climb it? 

One more post will be coming on the Huntsville Botanical Gardens this Wednesday....

in the garden....

My nearly eight year old point and shoot camera has decided to stop working. I am interested in recommendations for a new camera. I am looking at the class of superzoom cameras. In particular I like Panasonic DMC-FZ100, Fujifilm HS20, or the Nikon CoolPix P500. I usually use my camera for blogging and family pictures and videos. Any suggestions? 

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Dear Tina, I have never heard of Huntsville, but I loved visiting the Botanical Gardens. I love my camera, it is a SLR Pentax K-x. But I find it a bit big to carry around so I mainly use it in the garden, and when on the road use a Lumix Panasonic DMC-FS15 that is more limited than the SLR but takes surprisingly good pics. cheers, catmint

  2. The gardens are beautiful! I need to get down there one of these days and see it for myself. As for camera I have a Nikon DSLR I like a lot. The CoolPix is supposed to be good but I've never used it.

  3. I love visiting botanical gardens--thanks for the tour, Tina. The bonsai Ginko tree is amazing! I'm always drawn to the ponds and would love to have one in my yard, too. But like you, it's a pretty daunting project, and I'd definitely need some expert help not only in building it, but also figuring out where to locate it.

    I'm interested in the camera recommendations you get--my point and shoot is still working, but I'd love to have a new one with more features...just not too pricey.

  4. Wow, on the Gingko tree! I have fond memories of the huge one I grew up with but have never seen one as a Bonsai before. How cool. I am excited that the Jimster is into this endeavor. It will be interesting to see how he does with it so hurry and find him a sapling girl…

    Your pond scenes have me wanting one in my gardens more then ever. But as you say, it would be a lot of work and I think a bit of a pricey thing on the electric bill with a pump running. I know the small pool we have ups the summer bill. Hum, I need a pool/pond all in one! Yea, like that will ever happen. LOL…

    The miniature town looks real if you hide the car and people out of sight! Looks like a view in Europe, Ah, the memories…

    Have a great day!

  5. Good morning all! Just back from errands and happened to stop by WalMart and looked at the cameras. I had no idea what I was missing.

    Catmint, Lumix is on my list too! It was actually one of the superzooms I had looked at. Very nice to hear good things about it.

    DSLRs are way to complicated and heavy for me. Any new camera at this point would be an improvement. I tried to take a pic of a caterpillar of a luna moth yesterday-can you say HUGE-but that is when I found out the camera was kaputt.

    Everyone enjoy this day. It is supposed to be our last warm one for a while and great rain is supposedly coming tomorrow-we need it badly.

  6. I love the village and in the first picture of the village I thought it was full size and you took the picture from a second or third floor of a building.

    I have always LOVED ponds and pond lilies and always wanted one but I have now accepted the fact that I will never have one. Just too much now at my age. Generally a pond in your yard lowers your homeowners insurance but since our fire department is so close we already have the discount for that.

    Look forward to what Jimmy comes up with. Go Jimmy!!!

  7. Oh darn I meant to say that I have a Nikon Coolpix and I like it but I think I broke the screen when out bouncing around in my wheelchair so now I need a new one also. I have been reading and checking the different ones in the sale flyers.

  8. What a great garden! Loved the little city. I bet that is a hit with the kids. And the ponds are all gorgeous. Love the gaura, and the arborvitae, and the waterfall! I laughed at the big spider - what silly eyes it has! Fun that your son would pose under it (must be a great kid). You really should build a bigger pond in your garden if you want it. As far as ponds go, the bigger the better!

  9. I do love that tree and all the ponds, but the whimsy of the miniature village was just awesome....

  10. What a nice escape here today! I wouldn't mind sitting behind that cool sheet of water.

    Loved the miniatures too- I did think they were a landscape at first!

  11. What a great visit, I look forward to the next installment. I was with some neighbors (going to a concert) and we went past fields and fields of sorghum. Mazes are fun, we had one on the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg.
    Love that sculpture of the heron with the fish is great!
    I have two cameras...a Canon xSi..with a couple lens, nice but always worry about the camera in the garden. The other one I have is a Panasonic Lumix that fits in my pocket and I use ALL the time.

  12. Loved the tour. The Jimster needs to look out. Halloween is coming & that big ole spider could carry him off. lol
    Oh my, the little village is so adorable. It looks real.
    Those trees do look pretty. Glad hubby was interested. He should see the ones we saw last evening just before dark {in a cemetery no less}.
    Strong oaks grown into a curve, leaning. Kids interested in headstones with military background. It did get spooky looking as darkness fell. Sure wish I had taken my camera.

  13. Mom, Total bummer on the camera breaking! Make sure you check out cameras before you buy a new one. I was in Walmart checking on some and wow on the options!

    Janet, Lumix is on the list for sure. Thanks!

    Lola, Sounds like fun!! Put that camera by the door so you'll have it near next time. I usually keep mine there as it really helps.

  14. What a great garden Tina! I love the miniature village, and the naturalistic look of the ponds.