Category Archives: Farms and Gardens

Acton Nature Center

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I suspect I visited the Acton Nature Center when it wasn’t at its best. The weather was that special hot that it gets in Texas in the summer and many of the plants were suffering from a long dry spell. But it was still great! The Acton Nature Center is located at 6900 Smoky Hill Ct., Granbury, TX 76049 and has been around for more than a decade. Because of the heat, I didn’t explore the entire center, but I did venture to the butterfly gardens which was lovely. There were a couple of butterflies and a huge lizard, as well as an air conditioned structure used to view birds (that day it was cardinals and hummingbirds).

The volunteer was very welcoming and informative and suggested walking the loop down near the pond, which was wooded and a tad cooler. Sadly the pond wasn’t there! I’m sure it will be back after some rain.

I’d love to go visit in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming and it is cooler. The volunteers that have created this center should be very proud of their efforts.

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Lake Granbury Master Gardens Demonstration Garden

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The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden is a lovely blooming oasis even though the Texas heat wasn’t offering the most hospital environment. Those clever gardeners are well aware of their climate and have adapted to it. I was greeted by a cheerful volunteer who let me know that there was beauty to be had, even though the sun was drying everything up. And I did find beauty. There were some huge red flowers, a hobbit hole, a water feature, butterfly bushes with butterflies, a very wonderful arbor with squash (I guess it was squash) hanging from the top, plenty of honeybees, a cardinal, lots of art and darling walking paths. The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners work with  the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. I’d like to go back for a springtime visit!

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Purple Geranium Greenhouse

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When I went on the University Place Garden Tour one of the volunteers gave me a list of some of the local gardening centers. One of these centers was the Purple Geranium Greenhouse at 12615 47th Ave E, Tacoma, proximate to Canyon Road and 120th Street. Although it is close to my house (about 20 minutes away) it felt like a drive in the country. I was pleased to see that it was a well stocked professionally run gardening center on a lovely site. Their prices were righteous and my IMG_7391questions were answered right away.  Of course it is less extensive than the big centers (Watson’s, Molbak’s, etc.) and there is almost none of the decorative items, but really that just makes it easier. I toured the place, took some photos, got some advice and purchased some plants in about 30 minutes. When I stopped for an iced coffee afterward the cashier asked me what I was up to today and I told her I went to the Purple Geranium. She gushed that it was the best place around to buy plants!

Do be aware that they have a limited season (April 1st to August 1st) and limited hours, so check out their Facebook Page before going.

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The University Place Garden Tour 2016

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Most years I manage to go to the University Place Garden Tour which is spearheaded by The University Place Historical Society (UPHS). This year the theme was “Spring into Summer,” and there were five gardens and the Curran House. Each garden had several docents that were amiable and  knowledgeable. The gardens varied significantly. One was a farm like setting, one was packed with flowers, one had hidden art and a stunning view, one had 100+ rhododendrons and one was a reclaimed barren lot. It was really a delight to visit each one with my friends and daughter. Lunch was an unexpected bonus.

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PowellsWood Gardens, Federal Way

imagePowellwoods Gardens is a wonderful garden that you have to know about to find. The three acre park is located at 430 South Dash Point Road, Federal Way, WA.  My first reaction was that the air felt oxygen rich and it was so green, gardens surrounded by tall pines. There are seven separate gardens and a lovely little pond. There is a private house and an open to the public garden room with chairs to rest, a bathroom and a table with a honor pay box ($5 per those over 12).

The variety of flowers so late in the season was a nice surprise and the little rabbit made me smile.  Monte Powell purchase the site which is 40 acres altogether in 1993 and after much work the gardens were first opened to the public in 1999. I plan to go visit again at other times of the year to see what additional treasure I can find. More information can be found here.

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The Dahlia Trial Gardens at Point Defiance

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When I think of large displays of dahlias I usually think of the Connell’s Dahlia or perhaps the Washington State Fair. But Point Defiance Park also has a large display, the Dahlia Trial Gardens, which is right next door to the Rose Gardens and everything seemed to be in bloom!  I had gone to join my good friends at a picnic and really enjoyed my time with them. Afterwards I wandered all the gardens, enjoying the sunshine and snapping away. This Dahlia Trial Garden is one of eight in the entire United States that is sanctioned by the American Dahlia Society. It is managed by the Washington State Dahlia Society. Post Defiance has an excellent article on the gardens.

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Texas Longhorn

imageI was on my way to get milkshakes at Sonic (1/2 price after 8 pm) when I came upon this handsome fellow. He let me snap a couple of photos and then moseyed along to find better plants to nibble on. The Texas Longhorn can have horns that go up to 7′ across.

I went on to see if there was a nice sunset and found a crane. And that was my night.

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Granville Island, Vancouver BC

During our last Vancouver visit many years ago, we explored Granville Island, so I was eager to return and see if it is as wonderful as I remembered. It was even better. We took the SkyTrain into the city and then caught the bus to the market entrance.

19919280216_d4d7793528_k The first thing we did was go to the market building to grab some lunch, which we enjoyed along with the stunning view of the harbor and city.  Dear husband and I shared the mushroom pot pie.

19379968373_1c47338dce_o(1)19993094492_21c5710e37_oLater we strolled through the busy market with its many buildings, enjoying the unusual produce, delis and gift items. It is a foodie mecca. In 1915 the island was created from reclaimed land and became home to industrial uses and in the late 1970s it developed into its current mixed use.

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Federal Way Farmer’s Market

imageFederal Way has a pretty righteous farmer’s market located in the parking lot next to Sears at the Federal Way Commons. It has a nice mix of farmers and crafts people and this Saturday there was also a safety fair going on with a fire truck and police dogs.  I enjoyed some delicious fish tacos (2 tacos for $8) and homemade lemonade from The Frying Dutchman and bought two pair of earrings (2 pair for $5!). For more information, check out their website.

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