that just feeds my soul. And the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh is always a glorious buffet. This summer’s exhibit is no exception. The conservatory is filled with many items made from recycled objects, which is right up my alley, as well as other “green”-inspired displays and decorations.
Archive for the ‘Flowers’ Category
The Cleveland Botanical Gardens is one of my very favorite places to visit in the area. And this summer, they’ve added to their appeal with a collection of 24 funky birdhouses placed throughout the gorgeous grounds. The kids and I were there today but only saw a couple of them because the kids spent all their time in the Children’s Garden. I swear that is a such a magical place I half expect to see little fairies flying around. I love it love it love it.
I’ve blogged before about how our family buys annual memberships to the zoo, etc. for $49-$70 then uses the heck out of them for fun and education. Here’s how we used our memberships in Cleveland:
Cleveland Botanical Garden - seeing the annual show of the gingerbread houses is one of our family traditions. You know the kids like it when they keep saying “Take my picture with this one” over and over. This year they also had some big topiary animals which were very cool. We also took a little hike outside through the snow-covered gardens. It’s such a lovely place.
Cleveland Zoo – For the two-week long “Winter Days” the weather was freezing cold but the rainforest was toasty warm — there we got to decorate and eat cookies. Outside we admired the ice sculptor at work and plodded up to the Northern Trek, where we posed for a picture with Santa and the kids made pinecone birdfeeders.
Another place to add to my growing list of places to go back and spend more time: Youngstown’s 4,400-acre Mill Creek Park. My husband and I, driving back from Pittsburgh last Saturday, stopped here for a very short time, though enough time for some inline skating and pedal boating. There are three lakes, boat rentals, fishing, 14 hiking trails, waterfalls, a formal garden, playgrounds with spray pools, a golf course, a working farm – it goes on and on. What a magnificent state we live in!
When I think of gargoyles, I think of the ones guarding Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. So I was very surprised that many of the displays in the Phipps Conservatory “Gorgeous Gargoyles” exhibit were based on Gothic-style buildings found in Pittsburgh. I never know what to expect from the Phipps’ special shows – they are always so clever the way they work art into the gardens. And although there were a few “wow” gardens this time around, overall my husband and I were a bit disappointed with the current show. The gargoyles were interesting — such unique expressions! — but in most cases the stones were just set into greenery, making it not very colorful or creative. Some rooms didn’t even have gargoyles at all, leaving my husband and I to worry if we had missed them. I’d say 20% of the show was really really good; the other 80% was average. But “average” at Phipps is still pretty good, and I look forward to their next show …
… but on a 90+ degree summer day, not so much. The good news is we got in free, thanks to our reciprocal Stan Hywet membership. And, the gardens were really big and lovely and featured a new canopy walk through the trees, an exhibit of glass sculptures of oversized fruits and vegetables scattered throughout the gardens, and fountains where the kids could cool off in the Children’s Garden (fortunately I knew about this and came prepared with their swimsuits). What a beautiful respite for Atlanta residents. Note: Walking from the Arts Center MARTA station provided a look at some gorgeous homes as well as a taste of Piedmont Park. However, this stroll would have been more enjoyable had we not been melting in the Hotlanta sun.
Artists can be as “green” as anyone else: for proof, check out the Artists Archives of the Western Reserves’ upcoming juried show, “Seeing Green: Creating Art in an Era of Sustainability.” Two of my new “FoUNd & Fresh” pieces were accepted into the show (yay!): That Girl and Missed Again, so my husband and I are planning to be at the opening reception this Friday, June 11 from 5-8 (regular gallery hours are W-F 10-4 and Saturdays 12-4, 1834 E. 123rd St.) The gallery is a stone’s throw away from the heart of University Circle, so before the opening, my husband and I are going to try to do the “A Little Afternoon Music” thing at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Every Friday until August 27 from 2-5 you can enjoy live music, made-to-order sushi (not for me, but my husband will be thrilled!) and a cash bar on the patio (unless it rains, then they’ll move the shindig indoors). I’m looking forward to it! Those outdoor gardens are a slice of heaven!
UPDATE: Yesterday my husband and I did get to catch “A little afternoon music” at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and it was a slice of heaven. The only problem was that we were only there a little more than an hour. My husband had never been to the outdoor gardens, and it was tough choosing between sitting on the patio listening to the fine sounds of Larry Hancock, or taking in the beauty of the gardens. We did both, not doing justice to either, but something is still better than nothing. I loved watching the people in the audience enjoy the music, the gardens, each other … and just being alive.
Afterward, my husband and I went to the opening reception of the “Seeing Green” exhibit. The show was really good and I was very proud to be a part of it. I met some of the other artists, and quickly became a fan of Tiffany Laufer, an author and award-winning filmmaker. She wrote a wonderful children’s book called “Porch Dreams” about a dog who lives his dreams and even learns to recycle — how could you not like her? (bellaboobooks.com)
just simplifying your life? I’ve always loved to plant annuals in pots in the spring, but since the kids I haven’t been very diligent in taking care of them. But I can’t stand not seeing color when I look out the window either. So coming across a bunch of different flowers in my Pat Catan’s mystery bags made me think … what if I put silk flowers outside?? Will it look really stupid? Do I care? I asked the woman who works in the floral department there and learned two things. First, tons of people “plant” silk flowers. Second, the easiest way to make the silk flowers look real is to buy some sturdy hard-to-kill green plants and “plant” seasonal silk flowers in the pot. That’s easy enough. She also told me that the silk flowers only last a season or two, but that’s still at least as long as annuals do (plus, you don’t have to wait 6 weeks until they start looking good). Since the grab bag flowers were practically free, I’m spending a lot less money to get a low-maintenance burst of color. (For $20 I bought 2 medium-sized green plants, 3 small ivys and a 40lb. bag of dirt from Marc’s.) This will be an interesting experiment!
Crocuses may be the first flower of spring, and daffodils are cheery, but to me, neither compares with the sheer beauty of a tulip. When the sunlight shines through them, causing patterns of light and dark, it’s simply perfection. No wonder tulips were worth more than gold in the early 17th century.