The Beautiful Rotary Botanical Gardens

Travel

The Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful gardens I have visited. Full of interesting plants, colorful flowers, and fun sculptures, it is well worth the trip. Let me give you a tour…

kaleidoscope to view flowers – so cool!

The Rotary Botanical Gardens is developed into 26 garden spaces on over 20 acres of land. Some of my favorite garden spaces are the French Formal Rose Garden, the Sunken Garden, the Shade Garden, and the Japanese Garden. I also was delighted by the interactive kaleidoscope sculpture that allows you to look at flower petals through a kaleidoscope.

A view of the Japanese Garden

I went in the summer, however, the Gardens would be wonderful to see in other seasons as well. The plants are changed out for different seasons so there is always something new to see. Along with different seasons come different hours of operation. Be sure to check the hours and days they are open before making your trip.

The Gardens are a photographer’s dream. Tons of beautiful flowers, interesting backdrops, sculptures, and insects make it well worth the trip. Charge your batteries before going and be sure to allow time to take in the gardens. There are plenty of benches throughout the garden to sit and enjoy nature or to take a break.

The admission to The Rotary Botanical Gardens is reasonable and they have events and classes throughout the year , so be sure to check-out their calendar. One can also have meetings or weddings held at the Gardens. How nice that would be! On the way out, do not forget to stop in the gift shop. A nice selection of garden merchandise is available for purchase.

So, if you like gardens and find yourself in Wisconsin, be sure to stop by Janesville and enjoy an afternoon at the Rotary Botanical Gardens. You can bring a lunch and have an enjoyable meal on their terrace. Remember to stop and smell the roses.

Where the Buffalo Roam

Travel

Hoping to see buffalo on your trip to Yellowstone National Park? You need not worry. I would say it would be difficult not to see buffalo at Yellowstone National Park.

Buffalo tend to roam the park in herds, however, can be found in smaller groups or even solo. Of the three days in the park, we saw buffalo every day. We visited Yellowstone at the end of June and there were a lot of baby buffalo. These little guys were a lighter caramel color and resembled baby cows. Terribly cute!

When visiting Yellowstone, allow extra time to get around the park. Why? Traffic jams occur, of which we were part of on more than one occasion. These traffic jams can cause cars to back-up for over an hour for sure. What causes these traffic jams? Animal sightings by people wanting to snap a photo and buffalo crossing the roads or standing in the road.

The really long traffic jams are most likely due to buffalo crossing the roads. Be especially carefully of the baby buffalo when they are walking along the road. They obviously do not have as much experience at crossing roads and while they tend to stick pretty close to their mother, will run a bit more sporadically into traffic.

We spotted one buffalo on his journey swimming across a body of water. He then approached two other buffalo and kicked up some dirt and made some vocals to the other buffalo. They eventually all settled down and seemed cordial to each other. Very interesting to see.

Buffalo are a huge animal. They are also a wild animal. Having said that, when you are in the park, be sure to give them their distance for a safe viewing experience. Enjoy nature at it’s best in Yellowstone National Park!

Visiting the Popular John Moulton Barn

Travel

Anyone enjoying photography may be familiar with the sight of the John Moulton Barn, one of the most photographed barns around. This barn is located in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. There you will find it nestled with the mountains for it’s backdrop. The perfect setting for an absolutely beautiful photograph.

The barn is part of what is called Mormon Row. Mormons established this farming community near the turn of the 19th century. Here they shared the farm labor with their community. The Mormons dug ditches to irrigate their crops. Today, Mormon Row is part of the Grand Teton National Park.

Visitors from all over the world come to see and photograph this barn and the other buildings on the property. There is a small lot for parking your vehicle. Watch your step when walking around the buildings as there are some pretty large holes you will want to avoid. The holes were made by the current residents of the property, the Prairie Dog. You will see many of these little guys scurrying about.

Take some time to picture life without electricity at this beautiful Wyoming homestead. Have camera in hand and hope for beautiful skies. Venture further into the park and perhaps be lucky enough to see a moose as we did. Happy travels!

Borrego Springs

Travel
Big-Horned Sheep
The Badlands
Desert Wild Flowers

The small town of Borrego Springs, California is located in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This makes a nice day trip for So Cal residents. There is plenty to see and do in the park.

While driving down into the desert valley below, be sure to be on the lookout for big-horn sheep. I was told there were big-horn sheep in the Anza-Borrego Desert, however, I was beginning to question this as I had never seen any in all my years of visiting the park. Then, on my latest trip, I decided to really look as we drove down the steep grade and into the desert below. To my delight, I spotted not one but two big-horn sheep blending in with the rocks on the side of the mountain. I shouted “sheep” and my husband pulled over and we all got out and watched the sheep and took pictures. Then we were even more surprised to see that there were actually four sheep grazing on the mountainside. This indeed was our coolest trip ever to Borrego Springs.

In Borrego, there is a visitor center with trails and a small town with some shops and restaurants. There is also The Art Institute that exhibits artwork that you can purchase. The Art Institute always puts on a nice exhibit. If you are an artist, you can have your work exhibited there if selected in one of their artist calls. We like to bring a lunch and eat at the picnic tables at the round-a-bout in the center of the town. On occasion, there are craft festivals and such at the round-a-bout park.

A trip to the desert wouldn’t be complete without a hike. There are many places to hike in the dessert. Check out the park’s website to find one that suits your needs. I also, recommend visiting the Borregeo Badlands. This section of the desert will make you feel tiny and is amazing to see. The formations were created by water of which they were submerged a long time ago.

Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit the desert, especially if it has been a rainy season. Rain brings wildflowers to the desert. This year the wildflowers were at their best. Yellow and purple carpets of flowers sprinkled over the desert for all to enjoy. Even if the flowers are not in bloom, the desert is amazing and beautiful at any season.

Tips for a pleasant trip to Borrego Springs…Pack plenty of water. Remember it is a desert and while the town itself is small, the desert is quite large, so you don’t want to be caught without enough water. Pack a lunch or snacks. Don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. If you plan to hike, wear hiking boots. Binoculars could come in handy if you are a bird watcher or want to see animals such as the big-horn sheep. Remember, animals blend in with their surroundings. A big-horn sheep could be out there, you just have to find it. Borrego Springs is close to The Salton Sea. (See my previous blog.) Start early and see a bit of both or make a weekend of it.

The Salton Sea

Travel

Planning a day trip in Southern California? The Salton Sea may be a destination to consider if you enjoy photography, bananas, and don’t mind the smell of rotting fish.

Actually, I rather enjoyed my trip to the Salton Sea, which was a resort town in the 50’s but was basically deserted because of the condition of the sea. I was skeptical considering what I had read about walking on fish bones and the polluted water. However, I really enjoyed the sea, which was quite beautiful. It was sort of like a treasure hunt. What would be found at the next location? The run down, deserted graffiti filled buildings, the skeleton of a ship, a lounge chair, fish bones, birds nesting in trees in the water….. I did not run out of subjects for my photographs.

Another surprise was the International Banana Museum. Apparently, they are in the Guiness Book of World Records. It is a tiny little building loaded with banana memoribilla. My kids enjoyed it and as I collect banana stickers, I found it amusing. They do make and sell banana drinks there as well.

A bit of advice if you are planning to go…there are not a lot of places to eat so you may want to pack a lunch. There are picnic tables at the Yaht Club that made for a nice place to stop and look around as well as have lunch. Go with an open mind and you will return with a new appreciation for a place abandoned by many.