Tyler Arboretum

It’s bloody hot here in Sabbaticalville. Humid, too. I’m not liking it at all. Nope, not at all.

Yesterday M and I went to the Tyler Arboretum (where we sweated off about 10 lbs. or so). It was one of those 101 things we wanted to do while we’re here and it’s getting too close to the end of our sabbatical adventure for me to be a wuss about the heat and humidity. It was time to suck it up and get out there (and sweat like crazy).

(Entrance to the Arboretum. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

Except for some kids and counselors at a day camp on the grounds, some workers/volunteers, and those three French people to the right in the above photo (you may not be able to see them because of the way my blog theme cuts off the right side of photos), we had the place pretty much to ourselves. The day camp kids were being kept indoors because of the heat (I assume that’s the reason) and I don’t know where the French people disappeared to once inside the park because we didn’t see them again after we all paid to get in.

Side note: One of the things I find interesting about visiting Longwood Gardens (and now the arboretum) is that most of the people who visit are foreigners. Not many Americans at all, except for the volunteers and workers.

(Bee on echinacea. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

There were four areas of the arboretum that I wanted to visit: The Butterfly House & Garden, the Stopford Family Meadow Maze (a misnomer as it’s not a maze at all, but a labyrinth), Pink Hill, and the Painter Trees. M wanted to see the Painter Trees and the Pinetum. We did pretty well. The only area we didn’t see was Pink Hill and that was because it was too damn hot to be trudging up a bare hill with no shade to be found anywhere. We did a good job of staying in shady areas, except for the Meadow Maze.

(Small stream running through the arboretum. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

There weren’t many things in bloom except for around the Meadow Maze and in the Butterfly House. I was amazed at the number of beautiful butterflies flitting around the grounds.

(Flowers in the meadow. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

The trees were impressive, especially the Painter Trees, a collection of trees planted by the Painter brothers in the mid-1800’s. One of my favorites was the giant sequoia. Sequoias are known for their huge single trunks growing straight up, but the sequoia at the Tyler Arboretum has a double trunk due to a Christmas tree thief cutting off its top in 1895.

(Top of the sequoia. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

(Bottom of the sequoia. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

We managed to get a little lost somewhere after the sequoia, trying to find a path that went partially through the Pinetum and then back to the Meadow Maze. We had a map, but it wasn’t very helpful. Or we weren’t very good at reading it. Take your pick. Actually, I think the problem is the confusing way the trails that come together are marked.

(Somewhere in the Pinetum. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

(Bunny eating lunch on the trail. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

Eventually we found traced our way back to the trail we wanted to be on and entered the Meadow Maze.

(Meadow Maze. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

It’s a nice little labyrinth, about the right size for our meadow in the Bogs. There are four standing stones around the outside of the maze, marking the directions (North, East, South and West), and one in the middle.

(Stone in Meadow Maze. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

I’d like to take my granddaughter to visit the Tyler Arboretum someday, while she’s still small enough to appreciate some of the childlike touches throughout the park.

(Butterfly chair. Photo by Robin. June 2007)

(Flowers blooming in the meadow. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

(Butterfly spotted near Butterfly River. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

I’ll be back with more tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s another view of the giant sequoia which we saw when leaving the Meadow Maze.

(Giant sequoia from the meadow. Photo by Robin. July 2007)

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