Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Orleans Botanical Garden

My gracious hosts in New Orleans were nice enough to indulge my inner garden nerd yet again and took me to the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park.

City Park has been around since 1854, making it one of the nation's oldest urban parks and the botanical garden has been open since the 1930's.

The main building with oaks.

View to the Conservatory of the Two Sisters
As kids (Alison and Alan) spent a lot of time in City Park, especially the adjacent Storyland. Storyland is a nursery rhyme/fairy tale themed park for little kids with slides and other amusements. Its where parents take little kids in hopes they will play themselves into a coma. It's a little trippy to visit as an adult with no kids.

Entrance to Storyland
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated City Park, leaving 95% of the park under one to eight feet of water for weeks. The park has since been brought back to life largely through public support in volunteers and donations. The botanical garden reopened March 4th, 2006. 

This 1,300 acre botanical garden contains more than 2,000 plants, many native to Louisiana - think
magnolias, oaks, swamp iris.

There are a variety of garden types here to see. I may be a little out of order with my pictures and exactly which garden they belong to, but you'll get the idea.   

The Zemurray Azalea and Camellia Garden is a formal garden with a manicured lawn and azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias. We were a little late in the season to see the azaleas blooming.

Oak with Spanish moss.
Iris 'Willa Mae'
Iris 'Laura Louise'

The Conservatory of Two Sisters has a small rainforest collection in the right wing as well as a Living Fossils garden in the left wing. The Living Fossil exhibit includes a variety of prehistoric plants like ferns, cycads and mosses.

View to the Conservatory of the Two Sisters.

A lovely Bottlebrush.
Entering the rainforest.

Iwanagara 'Appleblossom'?
Cochliostema odoratissimum
The Living Fossils - There is an Alligator Gar in the pond!

Pyrrosia hastata (Felt Fern)
Aglaomorpha coronans (Santa Rosa Fern)
There is a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden planted with plants that support butterflies well as plant hosts for caterpillars.The hummingbirds get to enjoy nearby nectar producing flowers.

The Yakumo Nihon Teien Japanese Garden is small but quaint. It's easy to miss too if you don't notice the entrance while wondering around.

八云日本庭园 (Eight Cloud Japanese Garden)

The Stove House was a hot house packed to the gills with cactus and succulents. It was also teaming with little local reptiles just hanging out amongst the plants in the sunny warmth. I will cover this in another separate post as there were so many nice specimens to see.

An Agave in front of The Stove House
I would be happy to take all this home!
Euphorbia decaryi
Gasteria armstrongii
Adenium obesa

Hello little friend!
 Edible Garden filled with vegetables and herbs. There was a quaint little pavilion to hide from the sun in and have a rest.

A sugar kettle water garden.

The is a formal Rose Garden. However roses don't like the heat and humidity of New Orleans and require a lot of care and have to be replaced every few years.

The Lily Pond has a variety of hardy and tropical water lilies and a lovely statue of a girl riding a fish . Adjacent to the ponds are beds of roses.

The Southern Shade Garden was an area of tree ferns, hydrangeas, azaleas, caladiums, aroids and varieties of Japanese maples.

Voodoo lilies
Rumohra adiantiformis (Leather Leaf Fern)

The New Orleans Historic Train Garden is a model train area laided out to approximate the city. There are miniature buildings that represent typical house styles of New Orleans.

If you have a chance, please check out this jewel in City Park.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Shedteau Yvette

With the removal of my big veggie garden this year and the patio replacing it, it was also time for a new garden shed. The old rusted aluminum shed needed to go. It was looking pretty bad.

One rainy Sunday morning, with the help of some friends and a few loud "hulk smashes", the old shed was a goner.
The Old Shed
What I discovered emptying and removing the old shed was that I didn't really have all that much garden stuff and some of the stuff that I did have, I really didn't need. The mower and gas can still needs a home however, but I will figure that out later.

I opted for a pre-fab 8'x12' shed made by a local company. I went to their lot and looked around one rainy day and then went to their showroom later on to talk with a sales person. I basically knew the features I wanted before I purchased and opted for the 12-months same as cash deal.

I added some extra features to the shed, nice windows, one wall with five little transom lights, and a roof with a different style (which made installing the wood inside a pain in the a$$).

It only took a few weeks for them to pre-fab it and then they pulled up in their truck on the scheduled day and installed it in one day.
Exterior painted to match the big house.
"Shedteau Yvette" with Yvette.
After spending some time inside the empty shed, mostly sitting on the plywood floor daydreaming, I decided that what I really needed was a "man-shed" or as we decided to call it - a "shedteau" (like a château, but really a shed, get it?!?). My personal Chenonceau.  

It would be my garden oasis to hang out in and get away. A place for a Sunday nap after hanging out in the sun on the patio.

I did some more thinking about the interior and the feel of it. I decided that I also wanted to insulate and enclose the walls with either drywall, paneling or wood, but I wasn't sure what exactly just yet.

Starting the insulation and testing the tongue and groove pine.
A nice window detail.
Progress on the pine.
Making a mess insulating!
Tools are basically unknown to me, so it had to be something I could actually do or do with the help of a friend. My friend James volunteered to help do it.

We took some exploratory trips to my local big box hardware stores to look at paneling and wall board. I decided on tongue and grove pine. It was fairly inexpensive, but would give the shedteau a nice mini cabin look and feel.
The tricky part of the ceiling! The roof style I chose made this more difficult to install.

I borrowed some basic tools (two kinds of saws, a compressor, a nail gun, etc.) from some coworkers and we started buying wood. We had to hand select all the boards. It was sometimes hard for the two of us to always agree on a particular board. It took probably nine more trips to the store before we got everything.

It took us about two and a half weeks to finish the inside. We had some really hot sunny weather that made it impossible to work as it was just too hot. My volunteer labor went on strike basically!

But we finally managed to get it all done.

I still have some decorating to do, but I think it turned out great for someone who's never done a project like this before.

Now I can sit in the shedteau and watch netflix movies on my iPad or take a well deserved nap. I even slept for a week in the shedteau, when relatives visited and took my bedroom.

It was awesome!
The Bar.
The day bed.
One of these things is not like the other...
Yvee's baby picture on the left.
Some of my cute "Frenchie" art.

My new summer paradise.