Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Favorite Planted Places

The Gardens of Summer

I love to stroll in gardens. Especially in the summer when they exude wonderful smells and are filled with insects. The critter noises, the bees and hummingbirds seeking nectar. They fill me with wonder and peace.

But all things planted are a complete mystery to me.

You see I am one of those people that loves gardens, yet kill anything I plant. A plant that I purchase is not an opportunity to nurture, it is a license to euthanize. I plant at the wrong time. I over and under water. I get the light wrong. It just is not in my nature.

Its a bit ironic since my lineage includes Golden Gate Park's master gardener John McLaren. He is the guy that did not give up on the idea of a huge urban park even when in 1876 Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, Collis Huntington, and Charles Crocker tried to acquire the land for a racetrack. He lobbied for the windmills that provided a water source for the park. He is the guy that kept at it when the fiesty Olmstead's threw in the towel. He is the one that carefully planted all of those rapidly growing vines to conceal nearly every sculpture in the park. He is the one that blew off San Francisco's law of forced retirement at age 60. And later, when he reached the age of 70, was rewarded by Council with a charter amendment to exempt him from any mandatory retirement.

He went on to daily manage the park, living in McLaren Lodge, till his death at the age of 96 in 1943.

Lore has it that sculptures continued to be discovered for decades after his death.

So this post simply identifies some of the parks I love. Not a complete list by any means, but visiting any on my list will provide hours of pleasure.

The Lions Gate Bridge
Stanley Park
Vancouver BC

Stanley Park. Oh how I adore Vancouver's most magnificent park. It alone can serve as an "only reason" to visit this incredible city. While in Vancouver try to make time to visit the Queen Elizabeth Gardens as well.

Veranda Gardens
The Banff Springs Hotel

In Summer sitting among the blooms at the Banff Springs Hotel cannot be beat.

The Butchart Garden's. Victoria's gem. Lovely by day. Magical at night. A more perfect night cannot be found than watching its Saturday evening fireworks display in the summer.

Forsyth Park
Savannah, GA

Forsyth Park in Savannah oozes slow southern charm.

Volunteer Park in Seattle offers breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline, the Olympic mountains. It also hosts summer plays, and is home to a spendid deco era museum.

The Borghese Gardens

The gardens of Rome (Borghese), or Paris (The Tuileries), or London (Kew).

Balboa Park
San Diego

Balboa Park in San Diego is one of the most complete parks in the Nation. It has arguably the world's best zoo, gardens, and a dazzling array of architecture and museums.

Manito Park on Spokane's South Hill. Its sunken gardens surround the timeless and beautiful Davenport fountain. A 90 acre gem.

Phillip's Park
Aurora, Illinois

Portland's Rose Garden. San Jose's Rose Garden. Filoli near San Francisco. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. The sunken garden in Phillips Park in Aurora Illinois. The Morton Arboretum near Chicago. Denver's Botanical Garden. Just about any major city in the will have wonderful parks and gardens to explore.

Many thanks to those that make the world bloom!

Roadboy's Travels © 2009

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