The Bronx Zoo in December

A Rhino Statue at The Bronx Zoo in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A festive Rhino Statue greets you at The Bronx Zoo (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I turned sixty this month, for me a monumental date that had me pondering ways to celebrate such a special day. After all, it’s December in New England. Certainly not the best time for outdoor activities of interest to a passionate gardener like myself. After some thought, I decided that if I couldn’t see dazzling plants and flowers I’d settle for the next best thing; animals! And the nearest location chock-full of all sorts of critters is the Bronx Zoo, less than two hours away in Bronx, N.Y. 

A handsome gorilla poses for me at The Bronx Zoo in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

A handsome gorilla poses for me (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

One of the largest zoos in the United States, the Bronx Zoo was created when the City of New York allotted 250 acres of the Bronx Park to the New York Zoological Society with the express purpose of creating a park to preserve animals and promote zoology. Within a year, the New York Zoological Park (now known as the Bronx Zoo) opened its doors to the public on November 8, 1899, featuring 843 animals in 22 exhibits. The present day Bronx Zoo encompasses 265 acres, houses more than 4,000 animals of 650 species, many that are endangered or threatened, and is visited by over 2.15 million people each year.  (To find out more about the Bronx Zoo and their extensive conservation efforts, visit: www.bronxzoo.com)  [Read more…]

Opus 40 Sculpture Park

Opus 40 Sculpture Park in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Entrance to Opus 40 Sculpture Park (Photo by: Kathy Diemer)

In this one life that we have, it is important to do the things that feed our soul. To make time and take time to spend with those you love and do the things that make you feel happy. The things where time simply slips away because you are so entranced with what you are doing or seeing or experiencing. There are many things that feed my soul, from long quiet walks in the woods to having lunch with a friend or playing with my grand daughters. This year I even went up in a hot air ballon for the first time! But one of my very favorite soul feeders is visiting new places where I can explore, with camera in hand, for hours on end. This year, I found another great place to visit, a sculpture park called Opus 40. (www.opus40.org)

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All Things Maple

Collection Tubes into Holding Tank in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Collection Tubes into Holding Tank (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Those in the Northeastern U.S. during February and March may be wondering: “What are those tubes winding through the woods from tree to tree?”  As part of a quintessential New England tradition, the tubes are collecting sap from maple trees to create a series of treats; such as maple syrup, maple candy and maple cream.  From February through March, if temperatures cooperate (freezing nights, warmer days), the clear liquid will flow freely, providing an ample supply for all of our local sugarmakers.  Our native sugar maple, Acer saccharum, is the tree of choice in New England, and they must have adequate girth (11 inch diameter, approximately a 40 year old tree) to be suitable for collecting.  Because the opportunity to collect sap is such a short period, efficiency is the key to receiving a good quantity of this precious liquid. [Read more…]

New York Botanical Garden

Japanese Maple at NYBG in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Japanese Maple (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Black Friday, and the weeks before, are often spent indoors shopping for bargains . . . but I have a better idea! November is a month that can grace us with unseasonably mild temperatures and crisp blue skies; in other words, perfect conditions for strolling through a garden.  So, for the folks at the mall waiting in line for a new flat screen: count me out! Instead, color me green and blue, ’cause this girl’s headed for the New York Botanical Garden . . . [Read more…]

Harkness Memorial State Park

The mansion roof peeks from above the treetops in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The mansion roof peeks from above the treetops (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

In celebration of our anniversary, my husband, Ged, and I visited a gorgeous park overlooking the ocean in Waterford, Connecticut. Well worth the visit, my post will hardly be able to cover all the wonderful aspects worthy of mention on this beautiful estate. Between the stands of ancient beeches, maples and chestnuts, the expansive and lushly planted grounds and the breathtaking views, I hardly know where to start. Did I mention the mansion was being prepared for a wedding that day . . . [Read more…]

Innisfree

Beauty & Sound of Water In A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Water features abound at Innisfree (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Imagine a garden designed to delight us visually and sensually, as well as addressing the often neglected sense of sound.  Using a story high fountain, rambling brooks tumbling over carefully placed stones and a gorgeous forty acre lake; the sound of water soothes visitors, while the reflective surfaces incorporate the sky and surrounding hillside into this breathtaking atmosphere.  [Read more…]

Connecticut Flower & Garden Show 2015

Sir Peacock at CT Garden Show in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Sir Peacock greets everyone at the entryway (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

There’s only one way to fight a seemingly endless winter; enlist some serious flower power! In my neck of the woods this entailed taking a much needed break from the snow and frigid temps to attend the 34th annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, just an hour away at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. If you didn’t have a chance to visit, there are other flower shows across the east coast such as Vermont Flower Show from February 27 through March 1, the Boston Flower and Garden Show from March 11 through 15, and the oldest, Philadelphia Flower Show, which premiered in 1829 and will be open from February 28 through March 8. (Please check your area for other local listings). [Read more…]

Storm King

Overlooking the South Fields in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Overlooking the South Fields (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I was never all that interested in modern art; growing up in a rock ‘n roll and (well done) meat and potatoes environment will do that to you. Admittedly, I didn’t understand modernistic techniques either. All that stark white and sharp edges was too much for my curvy, colorful mind to comprehend. That is, until I went to Storm King Art Center, where towering chunks of metal unite peacefully amongst majestic trees and rolling pastures. The simplicity of natural meadows somehow balances these complex structures so they become one with their surroundings. At Storm King I discovered that gardeners are not so different from artists, we simply use a different medium to create our masterpieces. [Read more…]

Wethersfield Garden

The view from Wethersfield Garden in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Picture yourself sitting here! (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

I’ve visited some wonderful gardens this year; a few with magnificent ocean or river views, others with incredible landscapes flush with foliage and flowers.  And just when I thought the season was winding down, I found one more on my “must see” list, whose last open day (other than special events) was September 28.  As karma would have it, I happened to look up Wethersfield Garden that very morning, and was able to squeeze in by the skin of my teeth!  Lady Luck continued to have my back, providing crystal clear skies and toasty temperatures, as I drove along the quiet dirt road that wound its way to this new adventure. And what an unexpected, but thrilling surprise awaited me at the top of this remote mountain in Amenia, N.Y.; a property offering a treasure trove of gardens tucked in amongst beautifully manicured grounds, all wrapped in the most spectacular vistas imaginable. Believe me when I say, you won’t know which way to look first . . .

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The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge under construction in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The Brooklyn Bridge, originally called the East River Bridge, under construction.

When the Brooklyn Bridge, originally called the East River Bridge, opened to the public on May 24,1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. On its first day, approximately 1,800 vehicles and 150,000 people crossed the 1.1 mile span between Manhattan and Brooklyn, with Emily Warren Roebling (wife of Washington Roebling) as the first to ride over the completed bridge. Today the Brooklyn Bridge’s pedestrian walkway, a wooden boardwalk 11 feet above the lanes traveled by automobiles, caters to more than 4,000 pedestrians and 3,000 cyclists each day, while over 150,000 cars whiz by below. And though there were serious doubts as to the stability of this bridge (probably because so many other bridges had collapsed prior to its construction), the Brooklyn Bridge has remained a dependable means of crossing the East River, and was designated as a National Historic & Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972. [Read more…]

A Garden for All