Browsing Tag

places to visit

Travel

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

August 1, 2012

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from homeHow many days does it take you to unwind when you take a break?

Two, three, more? This trip it was five before I felt fully relaxed and it was on this day we chose to visit Albuquerque Botanical Gardens.

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

I was curious to see how a garden could grow in the middle of a New Mexican city that’s surrounded by brown and red scrubby dirt, dotted with occasional Juniper bushes and river beds run dry.

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

I couldn’t have been more surprised and delighted. In temperatures up in the high thirties, the gardens were green, colourful, interesting and buzzing with wildlife, which can only be due to an amazing (hidden) irrigation system and dedicated staff, many of whom were volunteers.

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

There were several themes around the trail from Mediterranean to north African but the two that had me completely enthralled were the pollination and Japanese gardens.

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

Initially I was reminded of home in the pollination garden, recognising several of the flowers – Rudbeckia, Buddleia, Lilium to name a few and was barely conscious of any insect life. After a short while of quietly peeking into the flower beds, it became clear there was a different hidden world, teeming with life – hummingbirds, butterflies, crickets and beetles, wasps, bees, lizards and dragonflies, all were quietly going about their business while the visitors passed them by.

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

The Japanese garden was entirely different, a welcome oasis in the searing heat.

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

Here was tranquility, a garden designed as one should be with twists and turns, hidden paths and trails leading to exciting places – stepping-stones in shallow rivers, waterfalls that enticed you to step behind them. I loved the way the occasional splashes of red weren’t provided by wooden bridges and pergolas, but in the subtle planting schemes.

Flora & Fauna 5,000 miles from home

Dare I say this was my first trip to a Botanical Garden and if anyone’s thinking of visiting this one in Albuquerque I’d highly recommend it. A trip to the Botanical Gardens in Dublin is now top of my priority list when we return home and I’m curious to see how it differs given our very different climatic conditions.