Monday, July 03, 2006

Garvan Woodland Gardens

Another place that I can't believe I've missed! Garvan Woodland Gardens, just outside of Hot Springs on Lake Hamilton, is beautiful and is definitely my kind of "outdoorsy-ness"--well marked paths, a few hills, lots of shade, and water nearby. I'm not much of a gardener so I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did, but I'm looking forward to another visit soon.

1. July 3 is not the best time to visit the gardens. First, it's H-O-T! Second, the choices for flowering plants are a little limited. Third, I missed out on some of the scenery due to my vigilant watch for snakes. One sign warning that snakes lived there, too, was all it took. Every time I went on an off-road adventure I was looking for snakes. All I ever saw were lizards, koi, and gigantic squirrels. Thank goodness. I'm OK with hefty squirrels.


2. July 3 is still a good time to visit. Shady paths, cool breezes, ponds, lakes, and streams make this a nice visit. Yes, seeing the 50,000 tulips in April would be nice, but this was pretty great, too.


3. Lots of different things to see. The gardens include an Asian-inspired area with the Full Moon Bridge and koi pond, the fern glade, singing springs, and old brick hill.


4. Off Road Adventures. The gardens have very well marked paths and some paved areas, and then they have other paths (usually marked non-ADA) that take you to less accessible places (unless you are too afraid of snakes or slipping and falling to your death or at least severe injury/sprained ankle). I do not like snakes, but I wanted to go to these places more than I was afraid of snake bite, so I did a little extra climbing. Nothing very impressive, but pretty good for me. The whole sprained ankle thing was a very good possibility, but I can do that standing still in a paved parking lot, so I don't let that stop me.


5. Coming Attractions. I didn't get to see the Anthony Chapel (designed by E. Fay Jones, the same man who designed Thornecrown chapel) or the Smith Crescent (designed by P. Allen Smith, opening 2007), so I definitely plan to go back, hopefully in tulip season. Anybody else want to go?

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