Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Charlotte Botanical Gardens-A Winter Wonderland

If you haven't figured it out yet, one of my favorite things to do is travel. And trust me I'm making 2011 the year of travel. Fall 2010 was just a warm up. One of my favorite places to visit in any region are botanical gardens. I know, I know, can't I see well groomed foliage at home? And yes, this is true...however, I've never been to any botanical garden (not to mention well flowered farmers markets or hopping local nurseries) without seeing a unique twist or regional specific species.

It goes without saying then when Abigail suggested we visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont NC (one of the neighboring regions of Charlotte) that I was more than game. And before you start questioning the fact that it is indeed winter and the fact that there was ice on the ground that morning, just have a little trust.  That and I was promised a "Holiday Lights at the Gardens" specular.

As I've also mentioned both Ab and I are quite the up and coming shutterbugs, so we were women on a mission. We wanted to capture the transition of the garden from lovely day to specular night. We arrived at 4pm and the very kind lady at the front desk let us pay one admission price, since the evening event was starting in just an hour. Thank you sweet lady, and thank you AAA discount that go us in for only $10! (Sadly no student or teacher discounts at only complaint about the facility).

So, enough with the jibba-jabba....let's look at some beautiful botany in action!

Winter Cabbage. 
I don't know what it is about this plant, but I just love them. 
So elegant and statuesque.

In the orchid house.

On the Orchid waterfall wall.

The biggest bird of paradise I've ever seen! 
(this picture does not do it justice, honest)

I'm not sure what this beast is, but it's very striking.

Orchids, Orchids everywhere.

These are miniature orchids. Use my fingernail as a size reference.

Edible plants! Banana and coffee.

Moving out to the grounds of the garden:

Both George and I just wanted to roll in this beautiful sorrel. 
So soft and inviting.
I had to be dragged away.

This red berry shot is my absolute favorite of the day. 

 Keep this pretty little dish garden in your memory'll see why once the sun goes down.

The drunken Christmas Tree, oh so charming.

 I call this next series the Billy Ray: Focused in the Front, Fuzzy in the Back

After doing a complete circuit of the grounds in the daylight we headed back into the main center to warm up and admire the Orchid Tree.

 Pictures do not do it justice....over 300 orchids and ferns. Breathtakingly beautiful.

A quick stop at the "coffee bar" was essential,too. 
Hot mulled apple cider and a divine little eggnog cupcake. 

Folks, I'm not a big cake eater unless it has the word "cheese" proceeding it. This modestly sized cupcake Most tender vanilla cake with a light, fluffy and just the right level of sweetness eggnog icing. Cuppie, darling, will you marry me? Sigh.

Oh wait, we are here to talk about plants. My b. The lights are out now (aka, the sun is set....for some reason I kept saying "when the lights turn off" as we walked about the garden in the sunlight. I'm so well versed in the English language. ha.)

I didn't take too many pictures, as the lights and my camera weren't playing very well together, but it was stunning and I can truly appreciate all the hard work that goes into setting up this holiday event.

Remember the dish-garden we inspected above. Hi you sexy, electric thing!

This is my favorite of the lighted images I was able to capture. This archway led down to the arched fountains I posed under with my trusty umbrella earlier in the day. Winter magic.

Love to all,
~the "yes, I'll get lost in a winter wonderland with you" gal, Jess


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful photos of the botanical garden. The red berry is my favorite as well -- GREAT depth of field, the color absolutely pops! I agree about winter cabbage; I've been drawn to photograph that plant as well -- elegant & statuesque is a perfect description. :)

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