Sunday, October 25, 2009

Smith College Botanical Gardens

Today I would like to leave the garden and view of the Mount Holyoke range, to follow the flight of a young Red-tailed Hawk down into the valley and visit Smith College's Botanical Gardens. The Plant House is quite spectacular and I will take you there another day. Though the flower borders and systematics gardens are lovely, it is the old trees that interest me most. One I especially love was planted back in 1901 as part of Fredrick Law Olmsted's Landscape Plan. It is a majestic Ginkgo biloba or Maidenhair Tree. I also favor the grafted Camperdown Elm and often will go beneath its weeping canopy to admire the texture of its graft and trunks... it is like being in a hideaway ... hidden from all the other visitors. There is a fine rock garden which also has interesting trees such as the Weeping Norway Spruce. A small pond next to the plant house is skirted with iris and grasses and is home to a bronze Great Blue Heron by the artist Elliot Offner. Across the way a larger body of water... named 'Paradise Pond' by the famous Swedish singer Jenny Lind during one of her visits to Northampton ... sits along side a lovely walk beneath Sugar Maples, White Pines and other stately trees. This path at the waters edge leads one to a Japanese Tea Hut and Woodland gardens ... all I will post at another date. For now if you would like to know more you may visit the grounds here.  The entire campus is a gem of an arboretum and each tree is tagged making it a walk with a education in mind. The Autumn Crocus and Rose are my TODAYS FLOWERS.   CAMERA CRITTERS entry too.
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