Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Winter Visit to the Botanical Center: Thinking of the Thaw

February in Iowa is a month of conflicting feelings. One one hand, you are full of hope for spring, and growing things, and the warm weather to come. On the other hand, if you have to look at one more darn pile of flipping snow or one more pair of soggy snowpants, you're going to SCREAM. So, February is a good time to go to the Botanical Center and get some Vitamin D therapy. We don't go there a lot, usually once or twice a year, which is enough time that it is a little bit different.

My favorite part is the gardener's showcase room.  The botanical center usually has a theme, and the plants are arranged in collections according to that theme.  I found this fantastic orchid there, obviously in the 'yellow' section. 

The pictures above and below are of the same row of plants, looking in two different directions.  These are ALL different kinds of coleus.  Each one of these is a different variety.  I find it fascinating how many kinds there are.  This collections belongs to a individual, and is one of the largest known collections. 

When we were walking through the dome section, I found a gnome!  I have seen these particular gnomes before, at Reiman Gardens in Ames, IA, last summer.  I did a post about those gnomes after we visited.  The botanical center must have brought their gnome back home to live out his days.

My son is old enough to participate in the scavenger hunt activities the botanical center does for kids.  He walks around clutching the paper in his fists and demands that I help him find all the things.  He really has a thing for turtles, and here he is trying his hardest to look through the cracks in the bridge to see the turtle that just swam under it. 

This is another grouping of yellow plants.  I don't remember what the theme was, besides the color, but there was a treasure chest.  My son would have liked to help himself to some. 

He settled for a 'rock on' and 'peace' pose for the camera.  I don't know where he learned that.  He just did it when I asked him to stand up for the picture.

It was so nice to spend a few hours inside a tropical world, and feel the humidity.  I'm one of those people that doesn't really mind heat and humidity at all.  I'd take that over cold and snow ANY day.  I wish the botanical center was closer.  I'd love to come over with a book and park myself on a bench on a regular basis.  But since I can't do that, I just enjoyed it for the day, and used the time to dream about spring.  What do you do to help you get through the winter?


  1. It looks like a great place to visit, especially during winter days. And scavenger hunt sounds better than electronic games, for me! The variety of coleus is amazinh! Thank you for sharing. What do I do to go through the winter? I go to the real winter, with great snow, blue sky and mountains - and skiing! Sounds strange? Our winter is wet and grey, so the real beautiful winter is better!

  2. Those yellow orchids are awesome.

    Your son looks JUST like his daddy in that picture with the "rock on" pose. It's eerie.

    Nick saw the pictures of the flowers and said, "I want to go there. I want to see them flowers!"


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