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Posts tagged ‘field trips’

In Search of a Rhodi

When I moved into my house last year it was the end of June and I had a lot to do. My back yard was starting to bloom and overrun with weeds but I had no idea what anything was out there and not much time to find out. We had a garden in California, much different from here in the Pacific Northwest and very little grew at our home in the mountains of Arizona. Our seasons on the mountain were snow, wind, fire and rain.

Mine bloomed just before the visit to the gardens

Mine bloomed just before the visit to the gardens

Can you see the big fat bumble bee in this one. It boomed after my trip. Who knew they could be so pretty.

Can you see the big fat bumble bee in this one. It boomed after my trip. Who knew they could be so pretty.

There were 4 or 5 bushes that did not that had no appeal for me. Turns out they were rhododendrons and peonies and they must have bloomed before I moved in. This year they finally bloomed so I could see what they looked like. Just in time, at least for a couple of them, for my field trip to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens.

 

In all the years I have come up to visit my sister, who incidentally lived within a couple of miles of this place, I had not known it was there. Thank goodness for our wonderful Senior Center. It was fun this way as we had a tour guide with a lovely German accent. She was 82 and a volunteer at the garden. She walked that entire garden with us and there was a LOT of walking.

All the gardeners are volunteers as well. According to Wikipedia, so I don’t get my facts incorrect:

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens are botanical gardens located between Reed College and the Eastmoreland Golf Course in southeastern Portland in the U.S. state of Oregon. The gardens, at Southeast 28th Avenue and Woodstock Boulevard, cover 9.49 acres (3.84 ha), and are named for Crystal Springs Creek, which flows along its western side. Crystal Springs Gardens feature more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants in a setting of small lakes, paved and unpaved paths, fountains, and small waterfalls.[1]

In addition to the manicured areas that make up most of the gardens, patches of less orderly shrubs, upland forest, marsh vegetation, and submerged logs attract wildlife, especially waterfowl, most prevalent in winter. The Rhododendron Society has counted 94 species in the garden, including grebes, herons, ducks, Canada geese, wigeons, gulls, thrushes, nuthatches, hummingbirds, and others.[2]

 

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In addition to the lovely walk through the gardens, we stopped for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. I had a nice salad and then we were sent to wander the streets of nearby Sellwood in search of antique shops. Me, I found the craft store instead. Oh dear.

One last view of the water for that peaceful feel. Come for another visit anytime.

One last view of the water for that peaceful feel. Come for another visit anytime.

Do you have Rhodri’s in your garden and what’s your favorite of the colors? Have you taken any fun field trips lately?

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.”
Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Bison

I’ve been taking field trips with the Senior Center for a while with my neighbor, Shirlee and sometimes by myself. The one I took a few weeks ago was to Jackson Bottoms Wetlands Wildlife Preserve followed by visit to a Bison Ranch.

Our little bus and driver.

Our little bus and driver.

It’s good to see that seniors, no matter our physical limitations, have not given up on experiencing life. Some of us were in only slightly better shape and health than others but we each enjoyed something of the day.

Several were hanging back from the wind and chill

Several were hanging back from the wind and chill

I would never know about these places nor get to see them other than going with our little shuttle bus from the Senior Center. Getting to know more of my community is important to me since I’m not native to the area. We always have a stop for lunch and it’s a good chance to visit with people I would not otherwise meet.

There have been several trips I have not had time to write about yet but we’ll catch up soon, I hope. This trip was extra interesting as I love all animals but Bison are almost like dinosaurs. They have been walking this earth about that long and have adapted to their environment since then. According to our hostess, the Bison has reduced its size as its environment reduced. These animals were stunning to see but we were kept at a good distance. They are not cuddly animals that allow petting. They can be quite dangerous if you get to close and especially in calf season. Bison herds will surround the calves until they are mature. Our hostess had a large number of stitches in her leg to prove it.

Bits of bright but no fuzzies or flutterbys

Bits of bright but no fuzzies or flutterbys

Our hostess had so much to say about the Bison that I just couldn’t remember everything. Next time, I’ll bring a notebook or a tape recorder.

Another pretty find on mt walk around the preserve.

Another pretty find on mt walk around the preserve.

These were raised primarily for their meat which is supposed to be more nutritious than beef. Also because of the limited availability, more expensive. But they are majestic animals and it’s sad to see them dwindling because there is no room for them to roam. Boy, do I know how they feel. Those big guys have knocked down every tree in their enclosure scratching against them. That’s some muscle

For a number of years there were Bison on a ranch near my home in the mountains of Arizona. They were a gimmick to bring attention to new summer homes for Phoenix/Tucson snowbirds. By the time I moved away, the Bison were gone too. Not sure why. Maybe they went in search of greener pastures. There numbers are finally coming back up but who knows for how long.

bison close

What animals do you find fascinating in our ever declining animal world? Any interesting field trips on your list?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself