Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oh The Places I Don't Go

Mom has been leaving me a lot this summer to visit this place. You read that right - leaving me. Can you believe that? Here I sit, with my angry disc and bad leg and Mom goes off traipsing through some crazy garden! What's a pug to do?

Mom once again left me on Monday to visit this garden place. It's really not one garden but many gardens. There are even some statues in the garden like this one of a very famous guy that I instantly recognized as Carl Linnaeous, the Father of Taxonomy. He developed a system for naming, ranking, and classifying organisms that is still used today, some 232 years after his death. This cool statue is located in the Heritage Garden section which showcases flowers from every continent.
Mom visits the Garden to commune with nature but also to get exercise. There are great walking paths throughout the garden that wind through pine forests, waterways, and even an apple orchard but Mom's favorite place to hang out is Dixon Prairie. She has a thing for prairies and after viewing her pictures I can see why she loves them.
This is not a very good picture of milkweed but you get the picture, right? There are milkweed plants all over Dixon Prairie because milkweed is essential to a healthy prairie ecosystem. If you biggify the picture you will see a Monarch butterfly on one of the plants. Monarchs couldn't survive without milkweed because they lay their eggs on them. Once the eggs hatch revealing the beautiful yellow, black, and white striped caterpillars, the caterpillars go to work feeding voraciously on the milkweed, growing to 2,700 times their original size in just two weeks. How cool is that? Mom always sees lots of Monarchs all over the Garden and I sometimes even see them in my backyard.

It was super hot and humid on Monday, even for Mom. She was drawn to this sign on the Prairie because it so clearly described how prairie plants survive the heat. There are several educational signs like this one scattered all over the Prairie so there's a lot to learn at every turn.

The Garden is not only a great place to learn about plants but to learn about science as well. Bags like this one were placed over several plants on the Prairie months ago in an effort to learn about seed production. The Garden has a brand new science center where research is conducted year round on various plants from all over the world. One of the mottos of the Garden is "Plant science will save the planet" and I couldn't agree more.

Just as we need plants and animals, we need to understand the relationships that exist between them. Neither exists by itself and it's the work of plant scientists all over the world to determine how best to save what can still be saved. This is big picture stuff people and it's not so easy for a pug to understand but Mom dumbs it down for me. Anyone walking through the Prairie who sees the plants with the bags on them can read exactly why the bags are there. This gets people thinking, asking questions of themselves and of others, questions like "Who are the pollinators of this plant? Why are we comparing seed production? What type of results are we looking for? They're growing plants on the roof?" Things that get people thinking often lead to people acting and that's when positive change occurs.

Ahhh, the pretty Prairie. Can't you just heard the wind whistling through the petals of the regal sunflowers? The Prairie is never crowded because there's no shade, but Mom loves all the native plants and animals that call it home. This picture is reminiscent of what the entire area used to look like a few hundred years ago. Groups around the area are working hard to restore the prairies that still remain to their natural habitats and places like the Garden encourage people to plant native species in their gardens.

At the end/beginning of the Prairie trail are the water gardens. A little bridge brings you to the perfect place to rest your feet, sip some delicious water, and admire the lotus floating in the ponds. It's all nice and peaceful until

this guy shows up! Mom was just sitting there enjoying the silence when this guy decided to get out of the water and walk right up to her. It's hard to see in the picture but this is a male mallard, otherwise known as a drake. He's very drab, having lost his beautiful teal head feathers with the rest of his breeding plumage. He's done breeding for the year and is looking for a new woman. Or maybe he's just hungry. Mom thinks it's the latter.

I secretly downloaded an app onto Mom's phone so I could listen to her conversations. The app lets me listen to everything she says whether she's talking on the phone or not. I wasn't really surprised to hear her talking to the drake, but I was a little surprise at what she said:

"Now listen Mr. Drake, it's very nice of you to come visit me here but I don't have anything for you. No treats, no nothing. All my treats are for Stubby because he's getting very skinny. I think he may be starving and if I give you his treats he will surely perish. Please run along and find your own food just like your friends are doing." I love my mom!
Just on the other side of the water gardens is Evening Island. It's full of beautiful flowers like this hibiscus. The blossoms are as big as plates and so very colorful. They look very cheery, don't they? You can't be in a bad mood when you visit the Garden because it brings out the best in everyone.

Evening Island is also home to the Carillon. You can hear it's bells ring on the hour no matter where you are in the Garden. The sound is loud and powerful but soothing.

The Carillon is only open for tours on Monday evenings and Mom had to get home to me so no tour for her. She swears she's going to get a tour this summer or else!

The rose garden is pretty but not Mom's favorite because she just doesn't like roses that much. She loves the fountain in the garden and likes to walk through but that's it. There's also an english walled garden and a couple of weeks ago someone had their wedding reception in it.

But this is one of the biggest reasons Mom loves the Garden. You don't need to biggify the picture to get the message - they don't sell bottled water! Yahoo! Yippee! They stopped selling it a few years ago and Mom wishes more places would take the same stand against it.

There are water fountains throughout the Garden where you can fill up your reusable bottle and Mom knows where all of them are because she fills up quite frequently. Isn't it hard to believe that it takes 3 liters of fresh water to produce 1 liter of bottled water? What a waste of water and energy. What a waste of money, too! Save your money, save our precious resources and choose tap water. It does a body good!

I think I would love visiting the Garden but if I want to visit I have to wait until October 30 because that's the date of the Spooky Pooch Parade. Yes, for 2 hours once a year, dogs wearing Halloween costumes are allowed in the Garden. There's even a costume contest with awards. If I go I will be entered in the "Best Senior in Costume" which is for dogs over 10 years of age. I'm betting I could win this contest if I wear my Frankenpug costume!


Sequoia & Petunia said...

Oh Stubby your Mom sure has fun adventures. By the way where did you get that App for your Moms phone...we need one!

Sequoia n Tuni

dw said...

What a great set of pictures! I really hope you get to go in October, Stubby. That would be so cool and I know you'd like it. I'll have to get in touch with your mom when the humidity is a little less and maybe we can meet up and go walking there!

agent99 said...

Now that the Foo had so much trouble with the heat, mom leaves us alone more too. I be there was alot to sniff at that garden.... Ooooh, Stubby, if you goto the Spooky Pooch Parade, we gotta go too!

Benny and Lily said...

she is obviously visiting Mr. Ducky. Hmm..the bnerve
Benny & Lily

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!

oh what gorgeous gardens your mom visited!

you will totally win the costume contest if you decide to go to the halloween party!!! FrankenStubby!

m & e

Pugs2Luv said...

What a beautiful, wonderful place to spend a day. If you & your Mom are ever in San Francisco, there are several places like that to enjoy in SF & all around the Bay Area. The best part you could meet up with all of your SF Bay Area fans like us & Puglet & more.
Thanks for sharing such a special spot with us.
Luv, Zoey & Phoebe

THE PUGLET said...

Stubbs, you have the best human ever. She turns away cute wildlife looking for food --- mine just gives my cookies away.


Phoebe + Zoey just taught me something too - I didn't know we had stuff like that here . I mean, there are ducks at the park we go to, but that's about it. I wonder why we haven't gone to the gardens??

Nancy Medina said...

Dear Stubs, this here is your good pal, Howie. Them flower pictures was real pretty, but mostly I want to learn more about this biggify thing. How does a puggy biggify, for instance, their dog food bowl?
please tell.
Your good pal,
H. Pee

Tweedles -- that's me said...

My sweetest Stubby
Please sit by me and listen to a few words that I must say to you.
I just came back from the forest and now I know why your mom spends so much time with nature.
She has been talking to the trees and flowers and the butterflys about you. And now the nature is talking to her. She is getting strength and love from mother earth, to share with you.
Her heart is being filled to the brim, and when she comes home,,,, well everytime she touches your sweet face, and every kiss she gives you,,, it has been passed on from mother earth on these nature walks.
Your mama loves you so much, and she wants every ounce of you to feel nature too. So that is what is happening.
The trees just told me
nitey nite

Anonymous said...
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Stubby said...

Hi Sequoia & Tuni! Mom does have fun, doesn't she? She loves the summer and doesn't mind the heat at all.

I can't tell you where I got the app because someone is looking over my shoulder but I can send it to you. I'm sure you'll use it wisely to get lots of info on your peeps!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi dw! I hope I get to go in October, too. I feel okay and hopefully I'll continue to make progress.

Mom would love to go hiking with you. She goes several times a week and even the humidity doesn't stop her.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Gen & Lefty! I don't mind staying home when it's hot and humid outside. It's nice and cool in the house because I demand that the ac gets turned way down low!

I would love to go to the Spooky Pooch Parade with you guys. I know that there will be lots of treats and that we'll get lots of pets!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Benny & Lily! I couldn't believe it when that ducky walked up to Mom. What nerve is right! I need to have a talk with that guy and tell him to stay away from her!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! I totally love my Frankenpug costume and that's why I wear it every year. If I go to the parade I will wear it and hopefully win.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Zoey & Phoebe! I keep telling Mom that I need to get to SF! You guys have such cool places that you go and you get to go everywhere. Puglet goes to The Planet and even to the grocery store. I get to go to the vet and to Popeyes. I need to get a life!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! Mom didn't give away any food because she didn't have any. That duck was very disappointed and even had some words for Mom. As if!

I can't believe your human has never taken to you to a garden place. I mean, you go everywhere. Maybe she's not taking you there for a reason.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Howie! I can't biggify anything but pictures! I sure wish I could biggify food, though. Maybe you and I can come up with a way to biggify food since we are so smart!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! I can't believe you've been in the forest talking to the trees. You are so smart! I think you are right that she is getting strength and love from them and bringing it home to me. And it's working because I'm feeling better every day. I may be slow but I can still move and I can thank Mother Nature for that!

Stubby xoxo

Hank said...

Stubman.....that's a perty garden, but yeah....I'd be a little honked, too if my mom went to a cool place an' dint take me.

Wait a minute! She went to the KPR festival tuhday an' dint take me!!!