Tag Archives: greenhouse

USA 2019 – 15 United States Botanic Garden in Washington DC (2019-10-27) Nature and Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 23 MAR 2021

Situated on the grounds of the United States Capitol, near Garfield Circle, lies the oldest continually-operated botanic garden in the United States – the United States Botanic Garden. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the botanic garden houses an incredible variety of both local and exotic plants, including specimens and seeds that can be dated back all the way to the South Seas exploration of the Wilkes Expedition.

The striking glass and aluminum curves of the gigantic Lord & Burnham greenhouse demands attention, and while you can enter the United States Botanic Garden through the imposing stone facade of the the main conservatory, a lot of people end up in the botanic garden by following the green (and associated tranquility) of the National Garden, which lies on the Botanic Garden’s west border. In addition to the odd sculpture or two that finds itself exhibited in this space, this outside garden includes a regional garden of plants native to the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Piedmont, a rose garden, a butterfly garden, and the First Ladies Water Garden, a water garden in memory of the First Ladies of the United States.

Then there is the Conservatory itself. Housed in the stunning, aforementioned greenhouse, the Conservatory is divided into separate rooms, each simulating a different habitat. Rooms included in this list are The Garden Court, Rare and Endangered Plants, Plant Exploration, Orchid House, Medicinal Plants, Desert, Hawaii, Garden Primeval, Plant Adaptation, Jungle (which is by far the largest room, featuring an elevated catwalk to walk above the jungle canopy), Children’s Garden, and Southern Exposure. The end result is a wide array of many small collections of interesting plants, and I have to be honest, I did break out in a broad smile when I stumbled across the small collection of our local fynbos on display.

The United States Botanic Garden is a wondrous space. Compact enough that it doesn’t take too long to wander through, but filled with so much colour and with such varied plant species (with the odd sculpture and mural thrown in) that you can’t but help meander through with a peaceful mind and even broader smile on your face. Easy to recommend if you are looking for a little break from exploring all that history that is housed along the National Mall!

The Vegetable and Fruit Garden of Babylonstoren in Simondium (2018-06-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 22 JAN 2019

A visit to Babylonstoren is always a treat for the senses. Tucked away in Simondium (on your way to Paarl), this historic homestead is home to one of the best food gardens that you’ll ever come across.

Babylonstoren is a hive of commercial activity, hosting a hotel, spa, wine tasting centre, two restaurants, a deli, decor and scent shops, and even a butcher – but it is of course the magnificent garden which is the focal point for any visitor to the farm.

I have written about this enchanting Cape Dutch farm before, and just like our previous visit, this stroll around the grounds a) took forever and b) yielded an absolute bucket load of photos for me to sort through.

Plus, I finally learned how pineapples are grown.

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The place is like heaven for foodies – no wonder then that Chantelle always lights up whenever I mention that we should pay a visit.

Related Link: Babylonstoren

Exploring the Food Garden of Babylonstoren in Simondium (2017-02-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 NOV 2017

Dating back to 1692 and boasting one of the best preserved farmyards the Cape, the historic Babylonstoren stands as one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms currently accessible in the Cape Winelands.

As a thriving hub of commercial activity these days, Babylonstoren (situated in Simondium – just outside Paarl) is home to a hotel, a spa, multiple restaurants, a cellar (naturally), and a farm shop, not to mention the fact that it also hosts a variety of functions and workshops.

However, if you need one reason, and only one reason, to visit Babylonstoren then it should most definitely be to wander through their amazing food garden.

Inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town, which supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia, the Babylonstoren garden was commissioned in 2007 and handed over to French architect Patrice Taravella to bring to this 3.5 hectare marvel to life.

The resulting, carefully crafted garden consists of 15 clusters covering things like vegetables, stone and pome fruits, citrus, berries and even a prickly pear maze. Dispersed in among the grid layout is a variety of mosaic and other art pieces, and the fruit and vegetable garden as a whole is kept watered by a series of lotus, lily and waterblommetjie covered streams and channels that are fed via gravity from the nearby stream.

Although you are welcome to wander about the huge garden on  your own (and if you’re any good, identify the multitude of plants being grown while you are at it), but given that there are over 300 varieties of plants (all either edible or of medicinal value), a guided tour is by far the best option if you want to get the most out of the experience!

Given the beautiful weather on the day of our particular visit, we opted to grab some light refreshments from the popular outdoor Greenhouse restaurant, but as I mentioned at the start of the piece there are other options available, like the Babel restaurant (housed in a re-purposed old cow shed) or The Bakery perhaps.

In addition to the food garden, Babylonstoren also sports an unexpected Cycad section, featuring a large selection of these ancient, digitally chipped fossil plants, as well as a tranquil river walk that is home to an immense number of clivia plants (best viewed in September).

There is also the visually interesting, shaded walk known as The Puff Adder to wander through, with this slatted tunnel often playing home to an interesting plant exhibition or two – in our case its was succulents (and an impressive bonsai!).

We had the girls with us on our visit, but truthfully this is a place best enjoyed by adults, and more importantly, by adults with a keen interest in either gardening or food preparation.

In other words, Chantelle can’t wait to make a return without the kids in tow! ;)

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Definitely worth a visit or two.

Related Link: Babylonstoren