Categories
Texas US travel

Fort Worth Botanic Garden

To honor the 13th anniversary of Rich’s passing (on September 8, 2022) I wanted to go to a place I thought he would enjoy. Since I have moved to Texas, visiting the Northern California coast was not an option.

Instead, I decided to visit a botanic garden – an activity that we had enjoyed together, most notably in Santa Cruz and in Amsterdam.

(And nine years ago, while traveling in New Zealand, I visited the most spectacular garden in Dunedin! It’s my absolute favorite, and I think Rich would have loved it too!)

Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin, Texas

Earlier this year, while a California friend was visiting, we went to Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden. It’s a lovely garden, but I wanted to get out and explore a little further from home.

So I decided to travel north and check out Fort Worth Botanic Garden. It was the perfect place to honor Rich’s memory.

(Note: Unless otherwise noted, the following information – in italic type – is from the Fort Worth Botanic Garden website.)

A Little Garden History

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden was established in 1934 and is the oldest major botanic garden in Texas. It contains a collection of more than 2,500 species of plants. Long celebrated for its beautiful rose, perennial and Japanese gardens, the FWBG is composed of twenty-three specialty gardens, including a tropical conservatory, a forest boardwalk, and a water conservation garden.

The Garden’s 10,000 square foot conservatory contains plants from tropical rainforests all over the world and an on-site greenhouse is home to the largest begonia collection in North America.

(I failed to visit the greenhouse conservatory. Obviously I need to go back – probably next spring!)

The Educational Side of the Gardens

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT®) began in 1987 as a nonprofit overseeing the former Southern Methodist University 450,000-specimen herbarium and 75,000-volume botanical library relocated to a 20th century warehouse in downtown Fort Worth. The nonprofit eventually built and moved to a Platinum LEED-certified building on grounds adjacent to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

Since that time, BRIT has grown into a renowned scientific research, education, and conservation center with a state-of-the-art molecular and structural lab, conservation seed bank, an established press and 1.5 million-specimen herbarium.

Joint Missions Become One Nonprofit

On October 1, 2020, after two years of successful partnership initiatives (involving Education, Volunteer and Membership programs) the two organizations with similar plant-based missions combined to become a single nonprofit.

Japanese Garden | Rose Garden

Spend the day strolling through the Japanese Garden with its koi-filled pools, landscaped hillsides, crafted stonework and dramatic waterfalls.

Waterfall in Japanese Garden
Koi pond at the Japanese Garden
Apparently it was perfect weather for sunning beside the pond!

I did just that, and found that this garden to be a favorite spot, both for reflection and photography!

Nearby, visit the iconic and historic Rose Garden, which includes a terraced ramp featuring walks that border colorful rose beds amidst a cascade of water down the center.

Terraced rose garden, with view of the reflecting pool

Unfortunately, there was no cascade of water when I visited. Another reason to return!

The September heat had faded the roses, yet they were still lovely!

Wheelchair Accessibility

I found most of the garden to be wheelchair accessible. There was a detour around the Native Forest Boardwalk, and the path became packed mulch rather than pavement. A motorized wheelchair or scooter could have navigated it easily; a manual wheelchair might have a bit of trouble.

A warning along the detour pathway, and a good reminder to stay on the path!

Manual wheelchairs are available free to our guests on a first-come, first-served basis. These mobility aids are not available by reservation.

Electric scooters may be rented for $30 per day, with no in/out privileges. This rental fee is not eligible for a member discount. Scooter maximum carrying capacity is 400 pounds per person. Scooters are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are not available by reservation.

There were wide paved and, mostly, level pathways throughout the garden.

Wide, level paved paths throughout most of the garden

Frequently when I encountered stairs I also found an alternate route that was wheelchair accessible.

The Gardens Through My Lens

Of course I spent most of the day wandering and taking photos.

At the Horseshoe Garden

I think Rich would have enjoyed this botanical gem. I certainly did!

Do you have a favorite botanical garden? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

(All photos: ©Jeri Murphy Photography)

Categories
US travel

Almost Heaven

Editor’s Note:
In honor of West Virginia Day – 3-22-2020 – I am reposting this piece from October 2012. There are two new photos, and the web links have been updated. Enjoy!

Almost Heaven, West Virginia

Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River….

Categories
US travel

Arizona Desert Spiritual Retreat

The sky in the northern Arizona desert is beautiful and ever changing.

Landscape view of dramatic clouds over desert vista.By day, the clouds are pushed around by the wind, sometimes briefly bringing a rain shower or offering a respite from the sun. However, the sun soon regains dominance until it sets in brilliance.

Brilliant, colorful sunset over Arizona desert.

Categories
US travel

The Alamo | Remembering Texas History

My history-loving son recently moved to Austin, Texas, which gives me a new travel destination! As we discussed things to do during my recent visit, he suggested going to San Antonio to see The Alamo.

He told me of his first visit there, and how much it moved him. He described the battle and the loss of lives, and spoke of the bullet holes still visible in the chapel.

He remembered standing next to his buddy, a veteran who became so filled with emotion that he had to leave the building.

Categories
California travel US travel

Native American Heritage | Southeast Alaska

In the United States November is recognized as National Native American Heritage Month, and November 23rd is recognized as Native American Heritage Day.

It is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Alaska Native and American Indian people.

Categories
US travel

Zion National Park | Utah

My First Visit to Zion

Although I grew up in Utah, my first visit to Zion National Park did not occur until I was in my early 60’s.

We were an outdoorsy family, and our vacations usually revolved around camping, fishing and boating. But our destination was always in the north and/or northeast part of the state, and it wasn’t until October of 2017 that I finally visited Utah’s first national park.

Categories
US travel

Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site

During a recent visit to Boise, Idaho for a wedding I had an extra day available for site-seeing. So I asked my daughter, Amanda, if she would be willing to go on a tour of the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site. “Yes! I love that sort of thing” was her enthusiastic reply. And on a very warm Sunday we took the tour of the “Old Pen.”

Old Idaho Penitentiary | Idaho State Historical Society | prison | Boise | Idaho | wheelchair accessible | Images by RJM

Categories
US travel

Alaskan Train Excursion – White Pass Scenic Railway

I love trains. Not in the way Sheldon Cooper (of The Big Bang Theory) loves trains, but I love them. I love the haunting sound of their whistle in the distance and the promise of adventure they represent.

Categories
California travel International travel US travel

Seven Years | A Tribute to Rich

(A personal tribute to my heart’s companion in travel and in love.)

Travel | love | photography | tribute | adventure | Olympus | Nikon | camera | Images by RJMIt’s been seven years since Rich died.

As I recently told a friend, in some ways it feels like an eternity ago; in other ways, just yesterday.

Categories
US travel

Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show | A Rowdy Good Time!

After two days at sea our first port of call was Ketchikan, Alaska, where we were greeted by enthusiastic short excursion guides – and clear skies! (Ketchikan is known for its rainy weather.)

After Carrieanna and I enjoyed our “private tour” of the Saxman Village Totem Park, we returned to the main part of town for another, more rowdy experience – the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show!