Travel Journal: Spring at Smith College Botanic Garden

There’s one botanic garden that I’ve been meaning to visit for sometime. Smith College Botanic Garden is part of Smith College, a liberal arts college for women located in Northampton in Western Massachusetts. Now that spring is here, visiting this garden seems to be the perfect way to enjoy the season. The botanic garden is situated inside Smith College campus. This college was founded in 1871 through the endowment from Sophia Smith who wanted to use her inheritance to give better education for women and that of equal to what men receive. Smith College Botanic Garden was established in 1895 to provide teaching, public education, scientific research and also the beauty of the place. There are glass houses in the garden built in 1895 and they’re fascinating and I will talk about them in another post specifically. These glass houses is what attracted me to visit the garden.

On my way toward the garden, to my delight, I saw several saucer magnolia trees in bloom. The sound of trickling fountain from a nearby pond with a beautiful female bronze statue was heard mixing with the sound of the birds. On the side of the pathway toward the glass houses lay a beautiful rock garden. This first rock garden in North America was established in 1897 copying the rock garden at the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew in London. I stayed there for the longest time admiring the lay out of the garden that resembles the environments of high altitude area and the tundra. Some of the plants have small and succulent leaves to conserve water, rather large flowers to attract pollinators, or roots that go deeper into the underground stream. Some have short life cycle adapting to the drought season. It is a remarkable beauty to see some of the plants nestled between the rocks. It’s sort of beauty and the beast inspired.

Being in any garden, for that matter in Smith College Botanic Garden was a wonderful experience for me. Not only because I needed to take a break from the busy sometime mundane days, but also to learn about the garden. I always love learning about botany, you see. After admiring the Rock Garden, I went to the glass houses and astonished by the collections of plants being cared there. A lot of them are tropical plants and they thrive beautifully. I know some of the tropical plants having seen and planted them in my mother’s yard. She would’ve loved to come to the glass houses and probably would be amused seeing her plants are growing in a four-season country. When one of the gardener informed me that the garden would be closed at 4PM, I then headed to the garden office. I met a nice lady there who told me about another garden on the other side of campus and I’d love to visit it in June when the roses are in bloom because they have rose arches there. I ended my visit with sitting on a bench near the perennial border just relaxing even though the wind became pretty strong and chilly, waiting until the time for me to go to meet my daughter to see her orchestra concert in nextdoor city. 

The saucer magnolia trees in bloom.
The glass houses at Smith College Botanic Garden.
Smith College Botanic Garden was set up in 1895.
The statue with writing: In Memory of A Beautiful Life, was dedicated in 1911 to remember Mary Tomelson Lanning. It is the work of Jean Gautherin.
The Lyman Conservatory at Smith College Botanic Garden.
Spiraea Thunbergii – Spirea flowers.
Smith College Botanic Garden arboretum has magnificent tree collection.
Fritillaria Meleagris – Checkered Lily flower.
The Rock Garden at Smith College Botanical Garden is copying the one at the Royal Botanic Garden in London.
The Rock Garden was created in 1897 and is one of the oldest in United States.
Creeping Phlox
The Rock Garden at Smith College Botanic Garden.
Penstemon Hirsutus – the beard-tongue flowers.
Smith College Botanic Garden consists of the Rock Garden and Lyman Conservatory.
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The Study of Cyclamens

It’s the third month already in 2016 and I realized I haven’t been writing or posting any journal on this blog. I just started Instagram and I enjoy it so much. Through Instagram I know a couple of watercolor artists. I adore their artworks that involve so many details and brilliant colors. These watercolor artists often painting one particular object, such as a flower, and study it meticulously. I was inspired by their watercolor study that I call this journal “the Study of Cyclamens”. Cyclamen is a very unique flower. Its petals open up upward just like a swan lifting its wings. Cyclamens only available during winter and they are among the perfect flowers to lift up your spirit especially when winter feels too long. I got a pot of cyclamens from our market recently and I chose the white ones with frilly petals. I love them a lot and so far the cyclamens keep on blooming and I hope they will thrive for another season (I actually read how to take care of cyclamen after the blooming passes, so let’s see how it’ll turn out).

 

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cyclamen1

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The Buckets of Flowers at Farmers Market

The buckets were merely simple buckets. The plain-white-plastic kind of buckets. There’s no significant whatsoever that made these buckets spectacular. If they stood by themselves, they were just buckets at the farmer’s market. But how simple it was for some zinnias, goldenrods, asters and dahlias could make these buckets into something worth to look at. How their pinks, purples, yellows, reds and whites could splash some colors unto these undistinguished white buckets, like a blank canvas being painted on. Flowers amazingly are meant to beautify the containers they’re in.

Buckets of Flowers

Buckets of Flowers

Buckets of Flowers

Buckets of Flowers

Buckets of Flowers

Buckets of Flowers

Finding My Inner Peace

There’s so many thoughts that have been racing in my mind. It feels as if I became stoic, senseless and hopeless. I was angry with my self for letting some people or things got a hold of me. Nobody could snap me out of it! I was in a whirlwind of thoughts, lost of purpose and I forgot to exhale. I forgot to read between the lines and see the beauty within. My friends told me to take it easy, but I refused. I put more burdens on my shoulders and I said to my self to keep on moving. I know that I’m at war with my self. My anxiety builds up and I found my self had a hard time to breath. But then there’s a voice that keeps nagging, telling me to calm down. Maybe things are not as bad as I think they would turn out. So I found a chair and sat, opened up my laptop and started to type. One word, two words, and several sentences along the way, while I listened to some of old songs. Songs that have been in my library since I was a teenager. Songs that helped me preparing for the hardest tests. There I sat, swaying my head, mimicking the lyrics and tapping my foot on the ground. I’ve found what I missed lately, a time to be by my self and find my inner peace.

NYC Conservatory Garden