Angie Visits 2 Minneapolis Parks

About a week and a half ago, I decided that for our next “Angie Adventure” we would go to William Berry Park. (An Angie Adventure is when I take her for a car ride and then let her explore a neighborhood or park she hasn’t been to. )Berry_Park_Map

William Berry Park is one of those parks that people in Minneapolis have a hard time placing. It’s a small wooded, hilly area between the very popular Lake Calhoun Park and Lake Harriet Park.  What remains  of the Como-Harriet Streetcar track runs through the park.



After pulling me down a hill, Angie is now adamant that we find out what is up these stairs. She had an easier time getting under the chain blocking access from the top than I did.

The only people we saw in the park were people with dogs and we met them all: one dog was only 4 months old, one was 7 years old and one was 17. Angie didn’t stay still enough for me to even attempt to take another picture until…


After over a half hour of following Angie around, we ended up coming back through the trolley tracks  and were very close to the car. Angie wouldn’t budge. She didn’t pull but she made it clear that she  wasn’t going to willingly move unless we went the opposite direction. We headed south into Lake Harriet Park and I’m very glad we did.


I never would have seen this very rare Minneapolis occurrence, flowers blooming in November, if we had gone the way I had wanted.

Angie@Lake Harriet
Angie stopped one last time and we watched the fishing boat out on the lake. Lake_Harriet

I decided to check out one of my seldom used apps, Artista Impresso, and see if any of my blurry photos could be improved enough to include. Not quite “stroke-filled Impressionist masterpieces” but not bad.

Artista Impresso #1


Artista Impresso #2




Camera Critters

Click on this image to view other Camera Critters and here for Saturday’s Critters.


Botanic Gardens

As pretty much all of you know, my A-Z challenge theme last year was “Things to do when visiting Washington DC” (and showing off my vacation pictures).   There was so much to see at the United States Botanic Garden I was able to use my pictures for 3 letters.  (Click here for a virtual tour of the US Botanic Garden)

For the letter B – Botanic Garden

For the letter O – Orchids at the Botanic Garden

And for the letter Y – Yucca and Other Ethno-Botanical Plants

Decompression Zone at the Wynn Resort

A custom-designed hot air balloon and carousel  at Wynn Las Vegas

Over 110,000 flowers adorn the hot air balloon and carousel that were installed in the Wynn atrium last December. I’m not sure where I  read about theses sculptures, but seeing them ended up on my list of things to do when we went to Las Vegas this spring. I had never heard the term “decompression zone” until I read this press release.

The effect is probably very different if you approach it from the main entrance as intended.  We entered the casino from the Self Parking garage. Since I couldn’t find the exact location of the atrium on any map, I wandered around until I found them. Luckily they are almost on the casino floor.

Estimated location of hot air balloon and carousel shown in purple.
Image cropped from lower right of photo in top left of collage above.
Detail from hot air balloon.

I’m linking this post to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House.

Washington DC, A to Z: Yucca and Other Ethno-Botanical Plants

While in the Garden Court of the United States Botanical Garden Conservatory, I was so entranced by the Orchid Symphony that I barely looked at the other plants in the room.  As of yesterday,  the 2014 Orchid Symphony only exists in photographs and videos.

The other plants in the Garden Court are ethno-botanical plants, plants used in products such as fibers, food, beverages, cosmetics, wood, spices and others. One example (with very limited use) is the yucca rostrata.

Yucca rostrata (Beaked Yucca)

Yucca rostrata is almost always grown  as an ornamental plant. Yucca fruit can be cooked and eaten, but rarely is.    The root of the yucca rostrata is inedible.  Yucca is often confused with yuca, the root portion of the  manihot esculenta (Cassava).

The only other ethno-botanical plant I took a picture of far is more useful. If you’ve been reading this since  Washington DC, A to Z: Botanic Garden you will recognize this photo of theobroma cacao (cacao tree).  The fruit, called a cacao pod, contains 20 to 60 seeds, usually called “beans”, embedded in a white pulp. These seeds are the main ingredient of chocolate.

Theobroma cacao  (Cacao Tree) 

Washington DC, A to Z: Orchids at the Botanic Garden

Fifteen days ago, for the letter B,  I wrote about the United States Botanic Garden . I included some pictures I took of the Orchid Symphony, the seasonal exhibit we saw while we were in DC. Even after that exhibit is removed in a couple of weeks, you can still see many different types of orchids at the Botanic Garden Conservatory.

You will just have to go to the back corner to see an “ever-blooming, ever-changing display of these mythic plants”.

Conservatory Map from the Visitors Guide

The U.S. Botanic Garden has around 5,000 specimens of orchids in its collection and, at any given time, around 200 are on display in  the room labeled Orchids. This collage shows a small sample of the orchids we saw.

Botanic Garden Orchids – March 2014

To take a virtual tour of the room with orchids (this is the same virtual tour linked to in the B post):

  • Click here
  • In the middle of the bottom of the page, there is a row of small pictures. Click on the third picture from the left.
Additional tips for visiting that were not included in Washington DC, A to Z: Botanic Garden
  • The Conservatory, National Garden and Bartholdi Park are open every day of the year.
  • The Conservatory is totally accessible and the Garden loans wheelchairs to visitors as a courtesy on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Washington DC, A to Z: Botanic Garden

When Jimmy and I visited the Conservatory of the United States Botanic Garden  the seasonal exhibit was Orchid Symphony.  

The Website for the Botanic Garden describes the Orchid Symphony as
“Exuberant Displays of Orchids Nestled Among Whimsical Topiaries”

The seasonal exhibit is a very small part of what you can see at the Conservatory. When I noticed the very tall tree pictured below, I had to walk all the back across the Conservatory to find out what it was.

With all the chocolate I eat, I really should have recognized this tree.
Theobroma cacao aka the cacao tree

Click here to see pages and pages of pictures of plants that are currently in bloom. The Botanic Garden also includes 2 outside gardens. Since there was snow on the ground the day we stopped by, we didn’t even check to see if they were open for the season.

If you go to DC, the Botanic Garden is conveniently located just southwest of the Capital and admission is free.  There isn’t a restaurant or a gift shop but there are restrooms and a water fountain.

Click here to take virtual tours of  the various rooms in the Conservatory and the outdoor gardens (as they are in the summertime).