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Alabama Adventures: Longleaf Pine Treasure Forest

After hearing about Pinus palustris from several southern botanist friends, I had to see the trees for myself! I had the great pleasure of ...

30 December 2014

Whimsical Winter Adventure

Two Saturdays ago Steve whisked me away on a whimsical winter adventure. Our day started very early with cups of warm, delicious coffee. There were no other patrons present in the restaurant, probably because we were the only ones crazy enough to be at IHOP at 4am. 

After two hours of caffeine guzzling, Steve and I hopped (HAHAHA PUN INTENDED) into the car and aimlessly drove southward. We ended up at Rosewood Park. Most of it is under construction but that did not deter us.

 Closer to the lake was a quaint beach, but it was closed off during the restoration process. The horizon was hardly visible, as fog crept over the gray-blue water and blended into the winter sky. The sand and tree silhouettes made a great contrast. I felt like we could sit there forever, had it not been so chilly!

Thanks to the restoration, the beach will be better protected and the ecosystem will be better off. They planted native grasses and flowers to control erosion, as well as using permeable pavers in the lot to reduce runoff, and much more. I look forward to visiting again in the spring and summer to see the bluffs restored to their full glory. There will be bee balm, bottlebrush grass, sedges, sunflowers, and more!

After the cold nipped at us plenty, we returned to the warmth of the car. Steve told me he had some surprises for me, so off we went to Chicago.

We pulled up to a familiar sight: Garfield Park Conservatory! The last time I visited was in August. I was so excited to check out their holiday display

The Fern Room and Arid House were still closed, and the outdoor gardens didn't have much (It was tragic to compare the summer Monet Garden to its winter version!) but there was still so much to take in.

Click here for more photos of Garfield Park Conservatory.

After spending an eternity oohing and aahing at virtually every plant I came across, Steve shuffled me out the door and back to the car. There was still more to the surprise! After a short drive, another familiar sight came into view: Oak Park Conservatory, which we had visited during our honeymoon.

Amaryllis and Paperwhites were in bloom, and I fell in love with them.

The shop was selling some Paperwhites for less than $5 but I decided I have too many plants at the moment! We have a decent-sized apartment, but there's only so many places I can cram full of plants.

Click here for more photos of Oak Park Conservatory.

After getting my fill of botanic goodness, Steve treated me to an afternoon at the movies! We saw Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. We're huge Tolkien nerds and thoroughly enjoyed watching the last 3D on the Ultrascreen!

For dinner, we met up with a friend at a Mexican restaurant and gobbled up some tacos. When we got home we slept very well, after such a day full of fun!

I can't believe it is already the end of 2014! I would like to make one more post for the year, reflecting on everything I've learned this year. Stay tuned!