Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dolliver State Park in Fort Dodge, IA

Earlier in the year, I visited Dolliver State Park up near Fort Dodge. It's a park similar to Ledges State Park in that it has sandstone bluffs. Dolliver's bluffs are composed of a slightly different mineral mixture than Ledges, called copperas. The park is pretty large and there are a lot of trails to explore.
 It was kind of rainy when I went, so there were some snails out and about. Here's one that was hanging out on a tree trunk. He was pretty large.
 This is where the creek that flows through the park meets part of the road so you can walk right up to it. It wasn't very high that day but it rained a lot afterwards so it might have gotten higher after I left.
 Here are some of the bluffs. There's a spot where you can get very close to the copperas and even see some petrified wood sticking out. It's very cool.
 Another view of the creek further off one of the trails. This is near the spot where you can get close to the copperas bluff.
Walking past the bridge, you end up in this forest area. There are lots of little green shoots in the area. Apparently they have a very high silica content and were used by early pioneers to make broom bristles. They're very stiff and unyielding. I had never seen them before so this was very interesting to me.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I grew a couple of kinds of poppies this year as nice ornamental spring flowers. I had seeds for Mother of Pearl poppies and seeds labeled Double Pink poppies that I had gotten from a seed trade.
 These are the Mother of Pearl poppies. They're supposed to come in a variety of pearlescent colors, but mine were all white for the most part. They are very pretty and delicate. The blooms don't stay super long, but the seeds are easy to collect.
These are the Double Pink poppies. I think they're more red than pink, personally, so I'll call them Double Reds from now on. They are double blooms and were very prolific. Their seeds are also super easy to collect so you can save seed every year.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Olbrich Botanical Gardens: Outdoor Gardens

I'm late to this post, but here are the photos from the outdoor portion of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. It was raining for part of this so I didn't get to spend as much time there as I wanted.
 Pretty allium flowers. They make the loveliest globes of purple blossoms. So nice!

 They had a lot of potted arrangements that were pretty. Lots of petunias and coleus.

 These are Nasturtium leaves! Nasturtium makes pretty flowers and are edible too!

 Here's a view of one of the fountain areas. You can see it was kind of grey and cloudy.

 It's hard to see but this was a field full of different kinds of tulips! There were a lot of colors.
 As it started raining hard, we saw this pagoda in the distance...and so we ran for it!
 But here's some closer pictures of those neat tulips first! See how pretty they are?
 Oh, and here are some snowdrops! These are so delicate and pretty too. I want to grow them.
 And another arrangement, including some decorative kale and pansies. Very colorful.
 Here's the inside of the pagoda! We took shelter for the rain here until it let up.
 The view from inside the pagoda. It was very beautiful inside and out.

 Lily of the valley!!! I think these are just beautiful and I want to grow them so badly!

 Here's more of those tulips. The whole field was just grass and tulips. It was pretty cool.
 There was a little waterfall up here. No koi in the pond here, though!
 This is a Redbud tree. I had never seen these until I moved to Iowa. They are so pretty and flower pretty early in spring, so they're kind of a harbinger that winter is really over.

I forget if these were bluebells or a flower called Dutchman's breeches or pantaloons or something like that, but they are blue and very pretty too.

Now that I've gotten all my pictures from May up, I'll start slogging through my summer pictures. They're mostly on my phone, so it might be a pain for me to upload them. We'll see.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Olbrich Botanical Gardens: Orchids, Tillandsias, Carnivores

These pictures are of some of the tillandsias, orchids, and carnivorous plants at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. These are some of my favorite plants because they're weird! I like unusual plants.
 To start things off, here's a Tillandsia that is blooming. You can see the whitish blooms near the bottom of the picture.
 Here's another Tillandsia bunch. They're related to bromeliads and make pups. If they aren't separated, then they grow in a big clump like this one!
 There's a couple of tillandsias up here as well as some orchid blooms. This was a very pretty display.
 Orchid blooms on the left, succulents in the middle!
 Here's one more beautiful Tillandsia blooming.
 This is a cute little orchid flower! It's from the genus Maxillaria.
 Okay, this is just a tropical plant that I like. It's a Brugmansia, also called an Angel's Trumpet.
 Up close and personal with an orchid bloom! There is such a huge variety of orchid flowers that I feel like I always see a new one at every botanical garden I visit. This one was new to me!
 Here's the plant these beautiful flowers are attached to. The root ball is so weird and the flowers hang below the leaves. It's very different and very cool.
 A view from below the Brugmansia straight up at the flowers. I have a Brugmansia that I've been growing since January from seed. It hasn't flowered this year but I look forward to when it does!
 Here's a bromeliad flowering. Much like tillandsias, bromeliads usually don't require much soil, if any. They reproduce by making pups and after the plant flowers, it dies.
 This was a really neat part of the garden that I haven't seen at any other botanical garden yet. It's a carnivorous plant display! In this picture, you can see a lot of Venus flytraps. I'd love to have some carnivorous plants someday but I don't have the money to put together a nice terrarium for them right now. They need a lot of humidity to thrive.
 Here's a sundew. These are really neat close up. The little sticky droplets are where the insects get stuck so it can eat them.
And lastly, here are several pitcher plants. They look like different types of lettuce, but they're all little pitchers. Bugs fall into them and drown, and then the plant digests them. 

Next time, I'll start showing some photos from the outdoor gardens!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Olbrich Botanical Gardens Part 1

So like I mentioned in my last post, back in May I went with my family to Madison, Wisconsin and we went to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. They are enormous and have both indoor and outdoor gardens, so I've broken up all the pictures into several posts. This post is some of the indoor plants!
 So I'm pretty sure this is a hibiscus. I took a photo because of the crazy double bloom! I'd never seen a flower like this before.
 I also forget what species this is, but I thought the flower looked cool, especially with the hot pink bits sticking out above the reddish orange puffs.
 I know this is either a bromeliad or an orchid. I'm thinking orchid, maybe a dendrobium? Either way the flowers are pretty.
 I thought this flower was pretty interesting because of the tips poking out like wheel spokes.
 This is the Chenille Plant! I really like these. They are very soft and do feel like a chenille sweater. I always sneak a little touch even though you probably aren't supposed to. My local nursery had some of these a couple of weeks ago. I'd like to get one someday but I'm on a plant no-buy right now.
 Another very neat flower. I thought the way they clustered was cool.
 This is an orchid, although I don't remember what kind. It's a big flower.
 This flower is so cute and dainty!
 This is the flower on a succulent, I think it's a Kalanchoe. The leaves are fuzzy and they're covered with these little purple flowers.
 This isn't the clearest picture, but it is a flower on a Rhipsalis. I have a Rhipsalis but it's never flowered, and I'd never seen one flower before.
 Here's what looks like a close relative of a Rhipsalis. It's a Hetiora from Brazil.
 Like the label says, this is a Taffeta plant. They look and feel kind of like taffeta! It's hard to tell from a picture but the leaves are almost metallic looking in the sunshine.
 Here's the ceiling of the geodesic dome that comprises the indoor portion of the gardens. You can see all the palm and banana plants in this picture.

 Here's a flowering Epiphyllum! I have three different kinds of these but none of them have flowered yet. Epiphyllum are tropical cacti.

 In the indoor gardens there were quail! They were moving around a lot so it was hard to take a picture of them. They are so cute! When I was in elementary school we tried hatching quail eggs as a class project but none of them ever hatched. I've always liked quail since then even though our experiment didn't work.
 Here's another pretty flower!
 There's always a waterfall in the geodesic domes! And you can see that Epiphyllum on the left.
 Here's another picture of the quail! They are actually pretty small.
 Every time I see a pineapple growing, I have to giggle a bit. They just look so goofy popping out of the top of a bromeliad. They're adorable when they're that tiny though!
 Here's some pitchers from a Nepenthes. This is another plant I would love to grow, but I don't have an area with enough humidity for them.
This is a really weird orchid. Apparently it's in the genus Gongora. Those huge bottoms are so different from other orchids. 

That's the first part of the Olbrich Botanical Gardens! Next time I'll finish up the indoor portion, which includes more orchids, tillandsias, and some carnivorous plants. Then we'll move on to the outdoor gardens!