Daffodills Woodward Park Pink Orchards Blue flower

Gardens and Parks

One of the things we like to do is find local gardens and parks. Below you'll find pictures of just some of the gardens we've found.

Illinois Gardens and Parks

Bird Haven Greenhouse & Conservatory

Many of us live out our lives in a location without ever seeing the beautiful and wonderful sites that are in our own back yards. Bird Haven Greenhouse and Conservatory is one of those places for me. My wife and I do a lot of local site seeing no matter where we live, but sometimes we miss one. We lived about 15 miles from Bird Haven Greenhouse for almost 15 years, never visiting it, although we drove past it many times. On a recent trip to the area this past spring to visit our granddaughter we made an effort to finally visit Bird Haven Greenhouse.

Bird Haven Greenhouse and Conservatory sits on the edge of Pilcher Park and Higginbotham Woods, a 660 acre park and trail system in Joliet, Illinois. I was pleasantly surprised the instant we walked through the front door of the greenhouse. For a small greenhouse it has a large Varity of flowers, some I hadn´t seen before. I quickly understood why there are so many wedding parties visiting the greenhouse.

The Greenhouse has a Show House, Cacti room and Tropical House with a Koi pond and waterfall. If you have an hour or two this one is well worth the time for a quick visit. For more information about the greenhouse and surrounding parks you can go to Joliet Park District´s Web site.


Garfield Park Conservatory

Located within the 184 acre Garfield Park on Chicago´s west side, the Garfield Park Conservatory is a stunning work of art in glass. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the largest Conservatories in the country.

For more information about the Conservatory just go to www.garfieldconservatory.org.


Missouri Gardens and Parks

Nathanael Greene Park/Close Memorial Park

I use to live east of Springfield, Missouri and I visit the area several times a year. Last year I stumbled upon one of those gems of a place that I´m always looking for. It was Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, a 113 acre park located on the south side of Springfield. It was spring when I visited, the roses and Day Lilies were in full bloom. I have to say, I´ve never seen such a collection of beautiful Day Lilies in my life. I was only able to visit a small corner of the park the day I was there and I only scratched the surface with the Day Lily and Rose gardens.

The park has a Japanese Stroll Garden; regretfully I was unable to visit it, open shelters, picnic tables with grills, physical fitness course, horseshoes and access to a large Springfield area trail system that interconnects a lot of the Springfield area trails. There are also the beginnings of a Botanical Garden and Arboretum at the park.

If you would like additional information you can go to the, Springfield Greene Country Park Board Web Site for more information. Another source of information about the park is BOTANICAL GARDENS AT CLOSE MEMORIAL PARK; it has a lot of pictures of the park.

If you´re ever in the Branson area you ought to go up to Springfield and visit this park, I think it would be worth the side trip. Below are some of the pictures I took that day.


Roaring River State Park

Roaring River State Park is a beautiful park located in a narrow valley just southeast of Cassville, Mo. in the southwest corner of Missouri. The park is known for its deep blue spring and trout fishing. It also has a trout hatchery and 7 trails totaling over 10 miles.

The Park has camping, fishing, cabins and an Inn. For more details you can go to the MISSOURI DNR web site. The pictures below were taken about one to two weeks after the peak of 2010 fall color display.


North Carolina Gardens and Parks

Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

A 902­acre nature preserve located in Pinehurst, NC. The preserve has a vistor center with several miles of hiking and bridle trails winding through a longleaf pine forest. The preserve is home to 3 endangered species, the red-cockaded woodpecker, pine barrens tree frog and the bog spicebush.

The preserve only offers hiking trails and a history of the pine barrens longleaf pine forest. It is well worth a visit if you´re in the area. For more information go to: http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/wewo/main.php Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

Oklahoma Gardens and Parks

Beavers Bend State Park, OK

Beavers Bend State Park is located on the shore of Broken Bow Lake in Southeastern Oklahoma on the Mountain Fork River just north of Broken Bow, Ok. The lake offers some of the best bass fishing in Oklahoma and trout fishing below the dam on the Mountain Fork. The park has RV and Tent campsites, cabins, golf, hiking, biking, float trips, horseback riding and many other activities. The area is absolutely beautiful.

For more information you can visit Oklahoma State Park website at StateParks.com


Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, Oklahoma City, OK

The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory is part of Myriad Botanical Gardens located in Oklahoma City, Ok. The Conservatory has a great collection of orchids. Most of the orchids you see here were taken towards the end of October. If you would like more information about the gardens and conservatory check out their home page at: Myriad Botanical Gardens

Honor Heights Park, Muskogee, OK

Honor Heights is a 132-acre park in the northwest corner of Muskogee, behind the VA Hospital. The park has 3 nature trails, 5 fishing lakes and ponds, picnic shelters, and playgrounds. If you would like more information about the park and its location, or the city of Muskogee, you can just click on this link; City of Muskogee, Parks and Recreation.

The city holds an annual Azalea festival every spring. Most of the pictures here were taken over the last 3 years between mid March and Mid-April, before and during the festival. Under 2007 I have placed a few pictures taken in late May to give you an idea of what the park looks like during the summer months. They also have a light show around Christmas time that is worth seeing.

Flowering Tree

The Azalea festival is usually in early April. What most people don't know is that the park can be very beautiful from mid-March through the Azalea festival, not just during the festival. The flowering tree to the right was taken in 2004, along with the daffodils in the first slide show, about two weeks before the festival. Unfortunately, the area suffered a pretty severe ice storm in the spring of 2007, and this tree was one of about 250 within the park that are no longer there. That said, the park is still beautiful during the festival. It is a 132-acre park, and besides, the Azalea's survived pretty well. If you're in Oklahoma in early April this park is just one of several gardens and parks that are a must see.


Lendonwood Gardens

Lendonwood Gardens is a six-acre botanical garden near Grand Lake in northerastern Oklahoma just outside Grove, OK. It is a collection of six differant gardens that include: a Display Garden, Oriental Garden, Japanese Pavilion Garden, Koi Pond, English terrace Garden, American Backyard Garden and the Angel of Hope Garden. The garden boast the largest collection of rhododendrons in the Southwest, 500 varieties of daylilies and 25 varieties of dogwoods. For additionalinformation you can visit the Lendonwood Gardens Website


Linnaeus Teaching Gardens

Linnaeus Teaching Gardens is a series of small gardens and a Koi pond located on the South East corner of Woodward Park, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is staffed with gardeners who are willing to answer your questions concerning the garden and the flowers within the various gardens. There is something blooming most of the spring and all summer; a very peaceful and beautiful place.


Oklahoma Gardening TV Show Garden

Oklahoma Gardening is a TV show produced at Oklahoma State University in the OSU Botanical Gardens just west of the main campus in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The show airs every Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. on OETA stations. The Gardening show covers landscaping design, maintenance, tree care, lawn care and gardening.

My wife and I were in Stillwater one Saturday last year after the spring floods; actually they were still flooding some of the roads. We spent a couple of hours walking through the studio gardens and taking pictures. They´ve packed a lot into a few acres; the studio gardens contain a Japanese Tea Garden, Rock Garden, Water Garden and over 7 yearly Theme Gardens. It was kind of neat seeing where the TV show is made and looking at all of the different gardens.

If you would like more information on the Oklahoma Gardening studio gardens you can to the OSU gardening web site. Enjoy the pictures.


Robbers Cave State Park, OK

Robbers Cave State Park is located in the San Bois Mountains in Southeast Oklahoma a few miles north of Wilburton, OK on Hwy 2. The park offers trout fishing, boating, hunting, trails to hike on, rappelling, camping; both tent and RV, swimming and picnicking. When visiting the park you have to see the cave where outlaws used to hideout.

For more information you can visit Oklahoma State Park website at StateParks.com


Tulsa Garden Center, Tulsa, OK

The Tulsa Garden Center is located on the south side of Woodward Park and consists of a gift shop, two arboretums and the Rose Garden. There are usually at least one or two varieties of orchards blooming in the main arboretum year round, at least I´ve always found them blooming when I visit. The Rose Garden is large and has several levels, each with a small pool or fountain and what seems like an endless verity of roses in bloom for most of the spring and summer. If you like orchards or roses it is worth the visit. For more information about the Garden Center you can visit their home page, Tulsa Garden Center.


Woodward Park, Tulsa, OK

Woodward Park is located at the corner of 21st and Utica in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The park is 34 acres with parking, bathrooms, park benches, swings and walking trails. In my opinion during the spring this is the crown jewel of Tulsa's parks in the spring and one of the nicer parks year round. During the months of March and April this park really shines with the dogwood and azalea bloom.

The Tulsa Garden Center, Rose Garden and Linnaeus Teaching Gardens are located on the south side of the park. This park is well worth seeing year round and is a must see between mid March through mid April. These pictures were taken during the spring of 2007.

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