Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

DeHart Botanical Gardens, Meadows of Dan, Va.

DeHart Botanical Gardens, Meadows of Dan, Va., is one of the recent trails we’ve explored. (There are several more that I’ll write about in later posts.)

Located off of U.S. 58 in Patrick County, this garden is a beautiful piece of land to explore. But, warning, if you have asthma or other respiratory problems, please take an emergency inhaler and listen to your body. I had trouble from the beginning with tightness in my chest. Luckily, there were no problems but it concerned me. It was a very hot spring day, so pollen in the air and heat was an issue.

This is a private garden, but the owners allow visitors on the property. They just ask that you sign the guest register located in the mailbox by the gate so they’ll know that you were there. If you don’t sign in, you’re trespassing.

You have to park on the road side and walk up a very steep driveway to the trail head. There, you can begin a 2.8 mile loop down and up the side of  the mountain.

Along the trail you can spot all kinds of wildflowers — from showy orchis to wild columbine. (Please leave wild flowers where you find them!) The path also passes by a waterfall and a fallen down old homestead.

It’s very beautiful through the park, but very strenuous. On the accent back up the mountain we had to walk up the path holding onto trees and resting every few feet.

So, again, if you’ve got asthma or other problems, use caution and take an inhaler. Also, a bottle or two of water is very useful.

You can see a map and get directions to the garden here.

Sunken Gardens, St. Pete, Fla.

While in Florida, Chris and I made a trip to St. Petersburg to see the Salvador Dali Museum, the downtown district and Sunken Gardens.

Since the Dali Museum is only $5 on Thursday evenings, we decided to head to St. Pete later in the day. (Regular admission is $17.) Taking advantage of the discount, however, meant we were joined by a bunch of other cheapskates, so it was loud and crowded. Not the best viewing atmosphere, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

My favorite Dali pieces were the jewelry and silverware. I thought I’d enjoy the paintings more, but fell in love with his other work. The exhibit was “Dali: Gems” and featured pieces selected by “celebrated friends of the Dali,” a.k.a. famous celebrities such as Susan Sarandon and Alice Cooper.

There was also an “Alice in Wonderland” exhibit of water colors. I wondered if it was on display because of the new Tim Burton movie, but nothing indicated that it was.

I picked up a set of salt and pepper shakers in the shape of the melting clock in “The Persistence of Memory” as a gift for my grandma. Chris didn’t think she’d know what it was — and she didn’t. She thought it was a shoe. But who else will ever go to the Dali Museum and bring her back a new set for her collection? (Note: To be fair, I also got her a more conventional set in Savannah.)

I was tempted to buy one of the silk scarves that have various Dali paintings on them, but resisted.

Before stopping by the museum, we walked around downtown and grabbed a bite to eat. The streets weren’t busy while we were in the city, though it was a workday afternoon. I was amazed there wasn’t more traffic. In fact, I wondered where everybody was.

It also sounded like a drag race was happening near downtown too. It appears, following a link from the city’s website, the Honda Grand Prix was held the day after we were there. I guess drivers were practicing?

Chris wanted to check out Sunken Gardens, a botanical garden created by a plumber in the1920s in the middle of the city. St. Pete now owns and operates it. So we headed there after supper and before visiting the Dali.

I loved walking around trying to memorize the different types of palm trees throughout the walled garden, checking out the koi fish and birds (including flamingos and parrots), and checking out the tropical plants, flowers and bromeliads.

My favorite palm is the triangle palm:

Here’s an overview shot of the garden. Pretty, huh?

And, here’s some shots of flowers. The last is a powder puff tree bloom:


I’m proud to announce that I’ve seen my first wild orchids!

Here’s a showy orchis that Chris snapped:

All photos by E.A. Seagraves or Christopher Brooke/Do not use without permission.

Gorgeous, huh?

For over a week we kept an eye on the beauty, waiting for it to bloom. I’ve always wanted to see a lady slipper but I was frightened that a mid-April frost claimed it and ruined my chances for seeing one. Luckily it survived.

Chris and I tried several shots before we could finally snap this lady slipper. I’m proud to say this is my very own wildflower shot. Chris was jealous, but not for long. I reminded him that he gets to take all kinds of beautiful flower photos and should be happy that I actually caught one on camera.

Here’s some of the beauties Chris has taken recently. The first three are trilliums and the last is a wild dwarf iris: