Category Archives: plants

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Part I (Boston, MA)

Dates Of Visits: August 12, 13, 18, 19, 2018

Location: Various locations in Boston, MA

Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Cost: Free

Parking: there is some street parking available at some parts of the Greenway (particularly on Atlantic Ave) and several parking garages in the area.  There are also several MBTA train stations within walking distance to the Greenway such as South Station

Trail Size/Difficulty: 15 acres, 1.5 miles/easy

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: flowers,scenic,dog friendly, historic

Websites: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Overview

Good Historical Overview Of The Greenway Project

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Like it or not, the morning and evening temperatures are beginning to plummet and the days are growing shorter.  Since I only have a short window to visit some of the more interesting outdoor venues for this season, I finally made it out to Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

Named after the matriarch of the Kennedy family, the Greenway has a wide variety of attractions.  From a carousel to works of to the beautiful gardens and flowers along the trail, the Greenway has something for everyone.

Since there is so much to see and photograph along the Greenway, I decided to break up this blog series into three parts.  The first part, which I will post today, is going to include the gardens and flowers at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  Part 2 will include the art on the Greenway and Part 3 will include the entertainment along the Greenway.  And, of course, there will be dogs included in each post as well!

Once upon a time, specially from 1959 when the elevated John F Fitzgerald Kennedy-Central Artery construction ended and 1981 when the “Big Dig” (an underground tunnel project) began, an elevated highway spanned what is now the Greenway.  Fun fact: some of the dirt from the “Big Dig” tunnel project was used to resurface Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor.

The first thing you’ll notice on the Greenway, particularly during the spring and summer, are the bright, beautiful plants and flowers.

The gardens and flowers along the Greenway are all treated organically so people do not have to worry about their children and pets being affected by any pesticides and make the flowers look beautiful.

There are pollinators along the Greenway.  The pollinators, which were installed in 2016, are designed to attract and support pollinator species.  Since pollinating insects are important to all seed propagated plants, the pollinators provide an important role in the growth of the plants.

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The Greenway also has a garden where they grow edible fruits and vegetables such as bluberries.  The blueberries and other fruits and vegetables are a big hit with the birds.

I especially like how the buildings provide such a stark contrast to the beauty of the plants and flowers.

In fact, the buildings are so impressive I couldn’t help but take a few photos of the buildings as well.

Although it is only 1.5 miles long, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is full of surprises and special areas such as “Mothers’ Walk.”

Along the The Mothers’ Walk are engraved bricks with the names of loved ones.  For a measley $500 donation people could have names inscribed on bricks along the walk.

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Along the wall there is an inscription that reads, “To all who have cared, encouraged, inspired, laughed and loved, this Mothers’ Walk is dedicated to you and to those who have supported this beautiful Greenway.

There is also a park along the Greenway called The Carolyn Lynch Garden.  The garden was dedicated in Summer 2018 to Carolyn Hoff Lynch, an avid gardener and a leading philanthropist, who passed away in 2015.  The garden is bursting with colors in the spring and summer and has some scenic views.

Along Carolyn Lynch Park and other parts of the Greenway you will find historic events summarized on a timeline about the area.  The dates and events vary depending on where the timeline along the fences appear.  For instance in the part of the Greenway located in the North End, there are dates of events that took place in that area and quotes from people in the area.

The Greenway is a wonderful place to take your leashed pet.  Below are a few of the dogs I saw on the Greenway.

Tommy is a 6 year old Boxer, Labrador, Retriever, Beagle mix rescue dog.  Tommy is a social media star.  You can find him at bostondogtommy on Instagram.

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Jack is a 12 year old Pomeranian.

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Stayed Tuned for Part II coming soon!


Talcott Greenhouse At Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden (South Hadley, MA)

Date Of Visit: January 20, 2018

Location: 50 College St, South Hadley, MA

Hours: Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m, Sat & Sun 1 p.m. -4 p.m. (hours may vary depending on the season)

Cost: Free

Parking: There is a parking lot for about 40 cars

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Website: Talcott Greenhouse

Related Post: 2017 Spring Bulb Show At Smith College

Highlights: variety of plants in the Talcott Greenhouse at Mount Holyoke College

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It may seem a little early in the year for New Englanders to be talking about our gardens and plants, especially since we just received 3 inches of snow in the Boston area. But, the Talcott Greenhouse is a great place to go for a preview of the spring planting season that will soon be here.

The greenhouse has a wide variety of plants

There were a variety of plants and flowers that caught my attention like this huge cactus!

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The botanical garden is open all year. The plants are cared for by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. In fact, the person working there during my visit helped answer a few questions I had about some of the plants and flowers int eh garden.

This particular flower is an orchard. The banana-looking parts of he flower are actually where the plant stores water.

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Below are a few of the plants and flowers that caught my eye.

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Philodendron Erubescens (“Pink Princess”)

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Begonia Brevirimosa

Microsorum Thailandicum

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Sinning Bullata

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Begonia Silver Jewel Dibleys

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Cirita Keiko

and the rest…

I especially liked how the flowers were displayed throughout the botanical garden. The colors of the plants in each group seemed to blend so well with all of the other plants they were placed with.

The coolest part of the greenhouse was definitely this tree that was growing through a wall!


Spring Bulb Show (The Botanic Garden of Smith College, Northampton, MA)

Dates Of Event: March 4 – March 19, 2017 (photos taken March 4)

Location: The Botanic Garden of Smith College, 16 College Lane, Northampton, MA

Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday extended hours 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM (members get in earlier at 9 .a.m)

Cost: Free ( a $5 donation is suggested)

Parking: unmetered parking is available on College Lane and additional parking is available throughout Northampton

Handicapped Accessible: Yes, from their website: There is one designated handicapped parking space in front of the Lyman Plant House. Two of the three front entrances to the Lyman Plant House and Conservatory are wheelchair accessible and the restrooms are accessible. There is a lift in the front of the building that goes between the lower level Church Exhibition Gallery and the Reception area. All but one of the greenhouses (the Fern House) are accessible.

Highlights: Avariety of flowers such as crocuses, hyacinths, narcissi, irises, lilies and tulips in full bloom or nearly in bloom at the Botanic garden of Smith College

Web Site: The Botanic Garden of Smith College

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Believe it or not, spring, for most if us, is right around the corner.  Soon enough, drab, colorless soil and grass and dead flowers and plant life will be replaced with the vibrant colors of spring and summer.

As an early celebration of the spring season, the Botanic Garden of Smith College is showcasing a colorful array of flowers as part of their Spring Bulb Show (which ironically ends the day before the Vernal Spring buds, get it?) .

There were a wide variety of flowers of display and I won’t even try to name or describe all of them, except to sayy they were very pretty.

The gaarden used works of art such as paintings and statues to highlight the beauty of the flowers.  It was very well done and it brought out the colors of the flowers.

The people at the Botanic garden were kind enough to open the rest of the garden to us which showcased an impressive field of flowers and trees.

I also spotted a frog, fish and some other mysterious faces at the garden.

 

We also saw Kaezli, a beautiful 4 year old Burnese Mountain Dog, outside the Botanic garden.

Below is a video of a plant that closes when it feels pressure or weight and a video of a waterfall at the garden.


Dorrs Pond (Manchester, NH)

Date Visited: August 7, 2016

Location: Dorrs Pond is part of Livingston Park which is located at 244 Hookset Rd, Manchester, NH (off Daniel Webster Highway)

Hours: Open 24 hours (use your best judgment if you go at nighttime)

Cost: Free

Parking:  There are about 70 or so parking spots by Dorrs Pond.  There is also additional parking by the play area and field by Livingston Park.

Dog Friendly: Yes

Size: 1.2 mile loop with some short side trails.

Time To Allot For Visit: 1 or 2 hours

Fun For One: Yes

Highlights: abundant wildlife, popular trails for runner, cyclists and walkers, pretty views, very well maintained, benches for sitting, skating on the pond during the winter

Lowlights: short loop (only 1.2 mile) so many runners have to complete the loop several times to get a good workout, some side trails end abruptly at parking lots or just stop without going anywhere

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Once an artificial pond to serve the people of Manchester, Dorrs Pond now serves a scenic retreat for cyclists, runners, nature lovers and dogs.

“hidden gem” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot.  But, the photos below will show how this description is apt for Dorrs Pond.  In fact, I, and many people I talked to about it, had never been to this pond or ever even heard about before I went there.

One of the great things about Dorrs Pond is it is not a particularly difficult trail.  The trails are Dorrs Pond are pretty level with a few small inclines

The views at Dorrs Pond are beautiful.  Vivid greens and a variety of green, purple and other vibrant colors dot the landscape.

One of the best parts of Dorrs Pond is the wildlife.  There is a variety of birds, amphibians and other animals at the pond.

I also found this interesting shelter.  Unfortunately, no one was home.

During the winter, skating is allowed on the pond.  Also, there is a play area, playing field, restrooms and pool for children (and some adults) in addition to Dorrs Pond at Livingston Park.

Doors Pond is a great place to bring your dog.  The trail is not too long and the inclines are not very steep.  And it was a perfect day for taking your pooch out for a stroll.  I saw lots of dogs at Dorrs Pond.  Here are a few of the cute dogs at the park Sunday:

Katie, a 9 month old German Shepherd.

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Finley, a Cavachon who will be 2 in September

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Reagan, a 4 month old Golden Retriever

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and Jackson, a 2 year old Basenji Greyhound.

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Similar Places In New England I Have Visited:

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Ames Nowell State Park

cutler1

Cutler Park

 

 


Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary (Topsfield, MA)

Date Visited: July 16, 2016

Location: Mass Audubon, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA (about half an hour north of Boston, MA and an hour southeast of Manchester, NH) 978-887-9264

Hours: presently,  Tues–Fri, 9 am–4 pm
weekends & Mon holidays, 9 am–5 pm

November-April
Tues-Sun & Mon holidays, 9 am-4 pm

May-October
Tues–Fri, 9 am–4 pm
weekends & Mon holidays, 9 am–5 pm

Trails
Tues-Sun, & Mon holidays, dawn to dusk

Cost:

Members: Free
Nonmembers:
$4 Adults
$3 Children (2-12)
$3 Seniors (65+)

Parking: There are about 50 parking spots.  You shouldn’t have too much of a hard time finding parking unless there is an event or summer camp is in session

Size: 12 square miles

Time To Allot For Visit: I was there 5 hours and I still didn’t see everything but you can take in most of the best parts of the park in 2 to 3 hours

Dog Friendly: No, most Audubon parks are not dog friendly

Highlights: bodies of water, plentiful wildlife, pretty flowers and plants, observation tower, canoe rentals (if you’re a Mass Audubon member)

From the moment I walked to the visitor center at the Mass Audubon Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, I encountered wildlife.  In fact, I found this rabbit chewing on some greenery in the shrub by the office.

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That is the great thing about Ipswich River Sanctuary.  If you’re an animal lover, or even if you just like them a little, then you will love this place.

Not only are the animals abundant, they are also relatively friendly and not all that shy.  Well, most of them weren’t too shy.

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The well-fed red squirrel let me get very close to him or her, so long as I didn’t affect his or her food supply.  A lady who had been sitting there on the bridge wall before I arrived has been intentionally leaving seeds or some other type of food the squirrel was enjoying which allowed me to get some great shots.  Thanks, random lady!

There are also a wide variety of bugs and other insects at the park.  Bug spray and covering up are a must (I especially suggest a hat since one particular bug kept landing in my hair).  And most bug sprays don’t stop all bugs.  The black insect below was particularly menacing.  Also, I never saw so many dragon flies in one spot as I did at Ipswich River Sanctuary but they were pretty harmless.

There are some beautiful views and plant life at Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.  The colors of the flowers really pop out and the trails are well defined.  Many of these pretty features of the landscape were created 15,000 years ago by a glacier.

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You can also rent canoes, if you are a member, for $10/hour for a minimum of 2 hours.  So, the cost is $20 or more.  You pay for the canoes at the front office and then you have to lug the paddles and life vests along with a key to the where the canoes are locked up (about a half a mile or so away) at the canoe launch.  The canoe launch is right next to where the canoes are locked up.

One thing I have seen at other parks that is present at Ipswich are bat boxes.  These bat boxes are designed to give daytime roots for little brown bats.  Bats are important because they eat lots of mosquitoes and other insects, the plaque next to the boxes explains (then get more bats there please).  Little brown bats have been the victims of white nose syndrome,an illness which has been affecting brown bats while they hibernate during the winter.  The cause is not yet known.  So, the boxes are meant to give them a safe and convenient way for them to rest.  The boxes were constructed by Eagle Scout Sean Enos and Boy Scout Troop 48 of Lynnfield, MA.  The lumber was donate by a local business.

There is also an observation tower at Ipswich Wildlife Sanctuary.  The three story tower built of wood is a little shaky but safe.  The tower overlooks a swamp and meadow.  There wasn’t much wildlife except for the very occasional bird  (I included photos of the egret and other bird who landed in the water in the earlier slideshow).  I think that is you had unlimited time and a lot of patience as well as a good set of binoculars (I didn’t have any of those things) you could see a few grand birds.

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One of the things I noticed and I had not seen before my trip to Ipswich are pink water lilies.  I have seen white water lilies but never saw the pink water lilies until my visit there.

Like most Mass Audubon sanctuaries, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is well kept and family friendly.  The grounds are well manicured and there is even a play area for children.  They also have a summer camp program where they teach children about nature in a fun and exciting way.  All in all, the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is a fun and exciting place for people of all ages.

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Green Animals Topiary Garden (Portsmouth, RI)

Date Visited: June 25, 2016

Location: 380 Corys Ln, Portsmouth, RI (about 15 minutes north of Newport, RI and 1 hour south of Boston, MA)  (401) 683-1267 

Hours: Open everyday  10-5 seasonally (May 21 – Oct. 10 this year but the dates may change each year)

Cost: $15.99 for adults, $6.99 for youth (ages 6-17).  There are discounts available if you provide an AARP card (I’m not quite that old yet) and if you have AAA and possibly if you’re in the military.  Take note that the Green Gardens is considered part of the Newport Mansions and their prices are based on how many houses you visit.  In this case, the price was based on a one house tour because there is only one mansion on the premises (the Brayton House)

Parking: Free parking for 24 vehicles

Dog Friendly: No (service dogs may be allowed)

Highlights: shrubs and bushes cut into shapes of animals and other shapes, pretty flowers and gardens, mansion (Brayton House)

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If you think the grass is always greener on the other side, you’ve never been to the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Located adjacent to the Brayton house, the Green Animals display is the brainchild of gardener Joseph Carreiro.  Carreiro began the topiary in 1905 and the 80 pieces of topiary have been in place at the garden ever since.

The topiary may be the main  attraction.  But the flowers and plants are also very pretty.  In fact, as much as I loved the different shapes at the topiary, I found the flowers and the garden near the side of the topiary to be just as appealing.

The website states there are 80 different shapes sculpted into the greenery (although I don’t remember seeing that many).  I have included the most interesting of these 80.

The Damask Rose Garden is featured at the entrance of the topiary.

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The topiary has shapes of all kinds of animals. Like this giraffe.

DSC_0306DSC_0303with her/his baby giraffe (the black dot in this and some other photo is dirt on my sensor which I didn’t notice until after I got home unfortunately)

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And this duck.

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This is a growly bear (it is standing on its hind quarters)

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Not all of the shapes are made in the image of creatures that are presently with us.  This dinosaur was one of the scarier shapes in the garden.

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This colorful shape is of a yew rooster

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I don’t usually get this close to lions.

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This swan peaked her head out among the other green animals.

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This appears to be a bird

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It was a little warm for a polar bear

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Reindeers aren’t just in the North Pole.

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There are even human shapes cut into the greenery.  This human is riding a horse.

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This police officer helped direct traffic around the green garden.  I am not sure if he is affiliated with the Portsmouth department.

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There’s even a mythical unicorn

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This baby bear just wants a hug

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There are even inanimate objects cut into the greenery.  For instance, you can take a seat in this chair if you get tired (I am just kidding, you’re not allowed to climb and/or touch the greenery)

One of the few birds who actually sits still long enough for me to photograph him

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I looked like this elephant was going to charge!

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I don’t mean to boar you with this piece from the topiary.

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The handout I received did not have a description for this shape.  it appears to be a train.

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This mommy and baby bear were sitting outside the Brayton mansion.

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There is also a pet cemetery located at the topiary.  Four pets of the owners are buried there.  This section is very peaceful and decorative.  The cemetery has a bench for sitting and reflecting and gravestones with the names of the deceased friends.  It is very tranquil.

The flowers and garden are well kept and have some very vivid colors. I thought it was cute how they had “scarepeople” instead of scarecrows.  I also liked the different chairs and wind vane and other decor around the grounds.

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There is also a fish pond with goldfish in it.

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I also liked the Brayton House.  They do not allow flash photography in the house (although you can take photos with your cellphone).  I don’t like how photos look on my cellphone so I didn’t take any photos in the house but it is a must see on the tour.

 

 

 


Mom’s House (Western MA)

As the year draws to an end I thought I would share some of the photos  taken from my mother’s house throughout the year.  Since she lives in an area that used to be farmland there are a lot of wooded areas that attract a variety of wildlife.  She also has a couple of bird feeders that attract birds of all types.  There are many other animals in the area over the years that I have heard or seen but not photographed such as deer, a horse, cows, mountain lions and reportedly even bears.

Check out the slideshow below to see some of the friends that have visited us this past year.  My cat, Bailey, is included in the slideshow.  I always bring her when I visit.

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I always like investigating the area when I visit for the holidays and long weekends.  I’ve always thought it would be a great place to retire.  The storms and sunsets can be jaw dropping.

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There are also a variety of plants, flowers and trees in her yard.

Have a happy, healthy and productive 2016!

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