Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Birthday Trip: Part 2

For the second part of our mysterious adventure we went to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Conservatory.  It was amazing.

The conservatory was really a hunormous greenhouse with all sorts of tropical and exotic plants in it.  They also had some plants that you could grow in pots or in your backyard... but these were 3-5 times the size!
There were pineapple plants, with precious little tiny baby pineapples growing on them.
There was a "chocolate tree" with absolutely huge cocoa pods on it.
And near the back was a tree with ready to pick, larger-than-softball, grapefruit.
Then there was this tree with the very appropriate label of "Sausage Tree".  For there suspended on its thin branches, were these massive sausage shaped clubs.  I have no idea what they were used for.  I wonder if you could eat them!?  :)  All of these, and many, many more, were in the first 2/3rds of the building.  The back section was full of desert plants.  Magnificent desert plants.
There was a Agave plant, with a snake like aspect to it, towering a good 8-10 feet in the air.
One little Cactus had the most tempting little white fuzz down beneath its spines, but if you tried to reach it you would be cruelly poked by the little barbs.
Some of the Cactus reached way up towards the ceiling, exceeding 15 feet at least.
And others were small in stature resting in the rock bed provided for them.

 Some looked rather like something else other then a cactus.  Like this coral reef like plant,

 and this little cactus that had the appropriate name of Bishop's Cap.

 And there was of course the Texan cowboy Cactus. :)
Most of the plants were painful to touch,
And some uniquely beautiful to look at.
After we had our fill of the Cactus gardens we went outside to the herb and perennial gardens.
A beautiful knot garden was at the center of the herbs.
There was also a children's garden, which was very fascinating and I am sure would be more so in the summer.
Some of us were a little large for a few of the structures in the children's garden. ;)
We perused through the "gated gardens" which had a beautiful display of daffodils and grape hyacinth, and was dotted with small fountains and ponds.
In one of the ponds, we found a little baby painted turtle.  He was about the size of a half dollar, and very inquisitive.
We left the gated gardens, and went down one of the many paths that traversed the 200 or more acres that the Matthaei botanical gardens were made of.
We saw some wildlife (mostly of the feathered variety),
and lots of pretty flowers and trees.

The path we took went a total of 2-3 miles, and when we returned we had tea in the gated garden, before one last trip through the Conservatory.
It was a lovely Birthday adventure, and we all would love to visit these places again!

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