Thursday, August 20, 2009

brookside gardens

For a lovely afternoon of botany try Brookside Gardens.
This 50-acre public display garden is situated within Wheaton Regional Park in Montgomery County, Maryland. There are two enclosed conservatories for year-round enjoyment. This summer, one building has a butterfly exhibit called "Wings of Fancy" which i'm sure is cool, but had an admission fee so we didn't go into it.
The other conservatory is free, so team members Felicia, Amy and I visited during lunch.
I visited here one other time -years ago- and it was nice to see features that i remembered, like a variety of non-indigenous plants.
I was impressed by the Bird of Paradise
that was taller than me until i realized the towering plant behind it
was also a Bird of Paradise -
i had no idea they could grow so large.
(i also have no idea why Felicia looks like she wants to throw herself off of this bridge; it must just be the picture cause we were having a great time)
 Speaking of bridges, there is water flowing through much of the building. This summer they are featuring an art exhibit called "The Vine of the Times"; Drs Seth Goldstein and Paula Stone created sculptures from invasive Oriental bittersweet that they pulled from local parks as part of the Weed Warriors program.
and my personal favorite, Cello
The outside gardens are divided into several distinct areas.
  We didn't have time to see all of them, but we trekked through what we could. The Trial Garden is where historically the staff has tried various plantings, hence the name. There was an amazing bed planted as a dragon that was too large to get a good picture of and a profusion of colors
Towards the entrance of the Trial Garden there is a large sundial with planted time lines
 How big is that gnomon? you ask.
Really big.
There was an expansive rose garden
that smelled so good in the summer heat. It was hard to pick a favorite rose, but i decided on this one.
The various gardens flowed from one to the other with walkways between the planted beds. I liked that they featured large planted pots, as well. There were lots of benches and places to rest with water features upon which to turn an introspective gaze

and even a gazebo
Did you know that i love gazebos?
We were walking down some steps when i noticed this little pine tree that was sloping in a cool way, almost like a house from Alice in Wonderland.
I was pointing it out when Amy and Felicia squealed Look at the baby bunny!
Holy crap!
 Have you ever seen anything as cute as that little bunny hiding in the pine tree house?
There was other fauna to be found around the gardens. Amy spotted this cool insect buzzing around several beds
It looked like a hummingbird/moth/lobster/crayfish and was super fast. After i finally got a good look at it i remembered that former team member Rob had photos of a similar creature on his site; it is a bee hawk moth.
Of course there were butterflies galore
  I thought they were mostly regular yellow swallowtails until i saw these great blue markings.
We didn't get to the children's garden, the Japanese garden or the smell garden, though there were several pots marked Smell Me
There was also this water fountain that was being slowly reclaimed by nature.
I dared the girls to try to get a drink from it, but when we got close we found
No kidding; thanks for the helpful sign.
I really want to go back when there is time to explore everything, maybe take a picnic lunch, maybe pay for the butterfly exhibit. And certainly i want to revisit my favorite plant of the day, Brugmansia - the Angel's Trumpet.

No comments: