Tag Archives: gardens

Denver Zoo

Free Day at the Denver Zoo - ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Free Day at the Denver Zoo – ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Denver Zoo
~ Denver, Colorado ~

Not a fan of Zoos, but when discussing great zoos that are in existence, Denver Zoo is pretty spectacular. I’ve been here a few times, the most recent was the free zoo day in October 2016. The Denver Zoo is located in a City Park, near downtown Denver, and is owned by the City and County of Denver. It is just behind the Museum of Natural History and Science. It consists of 80 acres of well maintained grounds housing an assortment of animals from around the world. It was founded in 1896 with the donation of an orphaned American Black Bear. To house the orphan, it became the first zoo in the United States to use naturalistic zoo enclosures rather than cages and bars. The zoo is accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, with ISO 14001 certification granted in 2009 and named the Greenest Zoo in the Country in 2012.

Free Day at the Denver Zoo - ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Free Day at the Denver Zoo – ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Australian National Botanical Gardens

Australian National Botanical Gardens
* GPO Box 1777 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory * 2601 * Australia * +61 2 6250 9599 * http://www.anbg.gov.au/ *

In the heart of Australia’s Capital Territory and City of Canberra is the Nation’s most exquisite National Botanical Gardens. Radiating like a gem in the midland plains, this fabulous collection of Eucalypti, plants, trees, shrubs, vines, orchids, and botany is any garden lover’s paradise. It is operated by the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage. The park encompasses the largest living collection of native Australian flora in the world. The goal of the center is to understand, study, and promote Australia’s flora locally, regionally, and around the world; hosting a variety of botanical resources for researchers while protecting and cultivating endangered native plants. The Garden was first conceived in Canberra’s development plans of the 1930’s when the Advisory Council set up a framework for its development, planning a large site on Black Mountain. The first trees were planted in September 1949, though not opening its gates until October of 1970. The Gardens encompass over 90 hectares on Black Mountain, of which 40 is currently developed and embracing thematic sections in the park housing plants with shared taxonomy of over 5,500 cultivated species. The Gardens have a Rainforest Gully, a Rocky Garden, A Sydney Region Flora area, A Mallee Plants section, Banksias, waratahs, grevilleas, Callistemon, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, A Eucalypt Lawn, Wattles, and a Research facility, gift shop, and cafe. The National Herbarium is also on site housing the largest collection of dried, pressed, and recorded plant specimens in Australia. The facility manages several large plant databases of Australian plants based on its collections. For any botanist or plant enthusiast, the Botanical Gardens is a must see while in Canberra. “Extroadinary”. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited on April 24, 2011 by Thomas Baurley.

Australian National Botanical Gardens: Botanical Resource Center

sign at the gardens: “Botanica Resource Center: Plant identification at your fingertips
The Botanical resource center is a learning place for visitors to discover, identify, and explore flor of the A.C.T. and southeastern N.S.W. This self help collection is available for use by students, plant surveyors, and people who want to learn more about plants. To explore this library of pressed plant specimens and computer plant identification resources contact the Australian National Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre.”

    Bibliography & Recommended Reading:

  • Australian National Botanical Gardens. ~ About Us. referenced in 2011 from website; ANBG: http://www.anbg.gov.au.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. ~ “Autralian Nationa
    l Botanical Gardens
    ; referenced in 2011 from website; author unknown. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org.

Plants, Species, Photos, and more information: Continue reading Australian National Botanical Gardens


Vermijo Community Garden (Old Colorado City)

Vermijo Community Garden
* http://www.ppugardens.org/community_gardens * Vermijo Park on Vermijo Ave and 26th Stree, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs, Colorado * To rent: info@ppugardens.org *

A beautiful community garden, on the edge of Vermijo Park, downtown Old Colorado City where residents teamed up with the PPUG and funded by the Colorado Home and Garden Show/Care and Share have developed this small unused parcel for a community growing space. It was founded by community member Larry Stebbins who put it all together. Residents in the area can rent plots up to 400 square feet where they can garden and grow vegetables. Community gardens take more committment than a garden in one’s own yard, as the gardener has to visit a couple of times a week with their own tools and supplies rather than step out their back door. However, a perfect solution for the green-thumb types that want a garden but lack yard space to have one. I had the pleasure of seeing this nice space when I visited the wonderful garden as one of the resident Garden Faeries gave a deluxe tour of the plots and invited wanderers from the 2010 Colorado Faerie Festival to come in and offer the nature spirits a rock that they could paint. Very creative constructive idea that added blessings to the garden as well as the festival. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Vermijo Garden

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06.28.10: CSTL: WPP: Day 24 – Kissing the Blarney, The Rock of Cashel

The Blarney Castle

Early to rise in the Cork youth hostel, the adventurers began to prepare for their quest to seek out the Blarney Stone for a kiss to endow the gift of gab and luck, as well as to petition to the Blarney Witch blessings for Sir Thomas Leaf’s next life adventure. The balefire is to be lit. The delvers went down to the self-make kitchen and prepared breakfast together then off to the Blarney Castle in Blarney, Ireland. A short jaunt in their carriage, they were soon on their quest. They crawled through the caves of the dungeon, up the tower, where Sir Thomas Leaf kissed the Blarney stone, there in effect kissing millions of other people by proxy, including Princess Diana, Winston Churchill, Madonna, and a host of others. Lady Vanessa and Sir Sven of the Rhine would not kiss the stone. Rumor has it locals do nasty things to the stone. Sir Thomas Leaf begged to differ for anyone who has ever been to the Blarney Castle would know immediately upon the trecherous climb up many stories through the narrow tower, fighting off guards, jumping security fences, and risking entrapment – there is no possible way for such an urban legend to be true unless it be the guards. Sir Thomas even googled the urban legend beforehand as Lady Bonefinder strongly advised against it. Upon the mythical kiss, Sir Thomas Leaf felt endowed. The explorers then ventured down to the poison garden, usurping knowledge of potents, potions, poisons, cures, and curses. Some of the world’s most vile poisons growing in the gardens. Then Lady Vanessa and Sir Thomas ventured off into the Badger Caves, and on to the Rock Close garden to visit the Druid Circle, to prepare an offering for the Blarney Witch, to walk backwards with eyes closed up the Wishing Steps for the granting of her wish. Venturing into the Witches Kitchen and adding offering to the wishing well. A tromp through the Faerie Garden and a brief hangout in the Druids Cave. A venture past the dolmen and onwards towards the Blarney house. After meeting back up with Sir Sven of the Rhine, the adventurers got back into the carriage and headed off for Dublin. The adventurers stopped off at the Hore Abbey ruins and to visit the sacred Rock of Cashel. Took the tour and did another charm as they hugged Christ so that toothaches begone for good. A brief lunch at the pub and a drive back to Dublin to check back into the Dublin Hostel. The evening was capped with a night on the town with dinner and Irish music and lots of Cider while sharing travelling pictures.

Hanging upside down kissing the Blarney stone

Continue reading 06.28.10: CSTL: WPP: Day 24 – Kissing the Blarney, The Rock of Cashel


The Blarney Castle


Blarney Castle
* http://www.blarneycastle.ie * Blarney, Ireland * 021-438 5252 *

The Blarney Castle and its estate is an amazing magical playground of myths and legends, faeries, and fantastical beliefs. It is one of Ireland’s most infamous hot spots and tourist locations which is most notorious for The Blarney Stone. Even the grounds in its gardens have their attractions and history, as small caves and structures in the Rock Close garden may have neolithic habitation possibilities, and potentially the home to a mythical witch that was trapped in a rock. The Blarney Witch is said to have servitude to the Castle to grant wishes for those walking up and down the Wishing Steps backwards with their eyes closed focusing on only their wish. The Close also has a Dolmen, Fairy Circle, as well as a Druid’s cave and ceremonial circle. The Martin River that runs through the estate is believed to be possessed by ghosts of salmons leaping for ghosts of flies. Enchanted cows walk from the depths of the lake to graze on the meadows below the castle. There is also a glade where Faeries are believed to be at play. The famous castle itself was built in 1446 and has ever since become one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations and is located in Blarney Village, just 8 kilometers from Cork City in Southern Ireland. The castle stands at around 90 feet high boldly overlooking the castle estate, grounds, and gardens. Of course the biggest draw for tourists to the castle is the magical act of hanging upside down and kissing the Blarney Stone … the action of which will endow the kisser with the gift of gab according to the legend. It is documented that more than 300,000 visitors come to kiss the stone every year. It is recorded that Queen Elizabeth I required the Irish chiefs to agree to occupy their own lands under her title. The current castle’s builder, Cormac Teige MacCarthy, the Lord of Blarneys, built this third castle incarnation in 1446 C.E. (common era) he abided by Queen Elizabeth I’s request without actually “giving in” by promising loyalty to her and handling every royal request with subtle diplomacy, just as kissing the Blarney Stone afforded him. The Queen was said to remark on McCarthy that he was giving her “a lot of Blarney” which gave rise to the saying.

The history of the land and place stretches back over two centuries before the current castle’s construction. There are remains of prehistoric sites and Druid ceremonial remains. No one knows for sure when the Blarney Stone came to the grounds, but it was believed to have arrived sometime around 1602 C.E. It is believed that the Blarney Stone, was a magical stone that was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to create the water for the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Another myth states it was part of Jacob’s pillow and that the prophet Jeremiah brought it to Ireland on this very plot of land. Others say its the stone of Ezel behind which David hid when fleeing from King Saul and was brought to Ireland during the Crusades. The most popular myth was it being a portion of the Stone of Scone which was used by St. Columba as a traveling altar during his missionary quests in Scotland. Upon his death it was believed to have returned to this place in Ireland to serve as the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny atop Tara.

The first castle to be built on the land was a wooden one manifested around 950 C.E. This was replaced by a stone construction in 1210 C.E. but was torn down because of foundation problems.

The current castle is the third structure to be built on site built by Dermot McCarthy in 1446 C.E. The castle was then occupied by Cormac McCarthy, the King of Munster, who sent 4,000 men to hold Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn – and it was there that he a legend rumors that he received half of the stone of Scone from Robert the Bruce in gratitude and was then incorporated into the Castle as the “Blarney Stone“. Queen Elizabeth the I in 1586 C.E. began confiscating land in Ireland. She wanted the Blarney Castle and its ground thereby commanding the Earl of Leicester to take the Castle as she was tired of all the Blarney, and these attempts were always defeated by Cormac’s gift of gab, distracting the take-over with a feast or party, never successfully taken. A reputed treasure of a golden plate was believed to be held within the castle. The castle was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars. In 1646 C.E. Cromwell’s General Lord Broghill broke into the Blarney Castle’s walls by placing a large gun atop Card Hill opposite and above the lake below the current castle. When they attacked and entered the keep, they discovered the main garrison had fled through the three passages known as the Badger’s Caves – one passage led to Cork, the other to the lake, and the third to Kerry. His men were not able to retrieve the legendary treasures such as the golden plate. A later landowner drained the lake thinking it was sunk within. It was not found. The Estate was then forfeited by Donogh Mccarthy, the 4th Earl of Clancarthy and the McCarthy’s reinhabited the castle in 1661 C.E. The Property was then passed to the Hollow Sword Blade Company who eventually sold it in 1688 C.E. to Sir James St. John Jefferyes, the Governor of Cork and by the 1690’s the MacCarthy’s left the castle for good.

Near the Castle is the Georgian Gothic styled Blarney House and the Rock Close was built at the beginning of the 18th century by St. James St. John Jefferyes in 1703 C.E. The court was built by 1739 C.E. and the model estate village of Blarney in 1765 C.E. The Rock Close was landscaped around the ancient Druid remains in 1767 C.E. The house was destroyed by fire in 1820. In 1825 Sir Walter Scott came to kiss the blarney stone. Father Prout in 1837 spread word of the wonders of the Blarney Stone making it even more of an attraction amongst the nobility and curious. The Irish Famine took place from 1845 and 1852. In 1846 the Jefferyes family married into the Colthurst family. The house was rebuilt in Scottish baronial style in 1874 and is still occupied by the family lineage, though through the inter-married line of the Colthurst family. In 1883 the future President William H. Taft of the United States came to kiss the Blarney Stone. By 1887 the new railway into Blarney afforded many travelers the opportunity to kiss the stone, including boxing legend John L Sullivan, at that time the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. In 1893 during the World’s Fair in Chicago the Blarney Castle and stone was mimicked with the promoters billing that it was the real stone people were kissing, this of course was false. In 1912 Winston Churchill came to kiss the stone. In 1938 American businessmen offered the Colthurst family a million dollars to allow the stone to go on tour in the U.S. but the offer was rejected. The House’s wings were reformed in the 1980’s for a better view of the castle and grounds. In 1984 Ronald Reagan claimed to have kissed the stone.

Beneath the castle lies the Badger Cave and dungeons, in its courtyard is the infamous The Blarney Poison Garden, and within the grounds are the magical fantasy land known as The Rock Close. The castle is open daily except Christmas Day and Eve. Adults are €10.00; Child €3.50; Student/OAP €8.00; Family €23.50; and newly weds wanting pictures at the Castle are admitted free. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


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The Rock Close:

Rock Close

Rock Close
* Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * www.blarneycastle.ie *

A mystical portal in the heart of the castle grounds of Blarney Castle is Rock Close, a place where faeries dance, Witches’ bless and answer wishes, Druids weave magic, stone monuments made, and magic is alive. The Rock Close garden is not only a site of myths and legends, but of romance and art. A dolmen greets you as you walk along the river after walking through a weaved willow tunnel, with misty meadows, moss covered rocks, and waterfalls. As you walk up the Witches Wishing steps to the Witches Kitchen and where the Witch is trapped in the stone, overlooked by the Druid Cave and by the Druid Ceremonial circle where you can walk around where the faeries play. This is one of the most fun and condensed folklore heavy sites I’ve encountered in Ireland – of course its history is a mystery in of itself. It is also a great romantic getaway from the tourist heavy section of Blarney Castle. Prehistoric dwellings adapted by 10th, 13th, and 19th century adaptations lead a lot to the imagination in this garden. In 1824, Croften Croker wrote in his “Researches in the South of Ireland” about the mysteries of this spot.

    “In this romantic spot nature and art (a combination rather uncommon in pleasure grounds) have gone hand in hand. Advantage has been taken of accidental circumstances to form tasteful and characteristic combinations; and it is really a matter of difficulty at first to determine what is primitive, and what the produce of design. The delusion is even heightened by the present total neglect. You come most unexpectedly into this little shaded nook, and stand upon a natural terrace above the river, which glides as calmly as possible beneath. Here, if you feel inclined for contemplation, a rustic couch of rock, all festooned with moss and ivy, is at your service; but if adventurous feelings urge you to explore farther, a discovery is made of an almost concealed, irregularly excavated passage through the solid rock, which is descended by a rude flight of stone steps, called the “Wishing Steps,” and you emerge sul margine d’un rio, over which depend some light and graceful trees. It is indeed a fairy scene, and I know of no place where I could sooner imagine these little elves holding their moon-light revelry. ~ Croften Croker, 1824


It was a highly popular in the early 19th century with antiquarians. The mysteries of the Blarney Witch, the Fairies, the Druids, and the Dolmen are sure to enchant you. Blarney Castle does document that this was a place for Druidic worship. The sacrificial altar of course is hearsay, the Druid’s circle is probably, the hermit’s cave or Druid’s cave is a mystery as is the Witches’ kitchen and wishing steps. It has been documented that in the late 1700’s C.E. (Common Era) that the Rock Close was made into the garden area upon which foundations are walked upon today. Apparently the castle owners landscaped around already existing prehistoric dwellings, stone monuments, and Druid circles to make the magical faerie glen it is today.


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The Blarney Poison Garden

The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

The Poison Garden:
Blarney Castle, Ireland * 021-4385252 * vwww.blarneycastle.ie *

One of the most intriguing features of the castle grounds of Blarney Castle for a botanist, scientist, or herbalist is the castle’s “Poison Garden”. A collection of plants embracing the world’s most deadliest toxins, one can walk amongst danger and see, smell, and view from close proximity what plants take the lives of hundreds of thousands of human lives annually. The garden has been active since the 18th century and a popular tourist attraction along with the other gardens on the grounds as the estate extends to over 1,000 acres of gardens (the poison garden is just a small tiny yard). The garden is located hidden behind the Castle’s battlements. Some of the more toxic or illegal of substances are located within large black conical iron cages to protect them from the tourist and the viewer from their toxicity. Some of the garden’s plants are controlled substances and therefore heavily monitored. During my 2010 and 2012 visits, many of the caged plants were empty, including the cannabis specimen. This specimen was Taken by the local gardai in 2010. Upon a visit in 2013, the Cannabis plant is not only present but enormous.

Cannabis plant, Blarney Castle’s Poison Garden, Ireland

Of the ones I photographed and wrote about below, are:

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Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden
* http://www.kylemoreabbey.com/ * Kylemore, Ireland
“Mainistir na Coille Móire” is one of Connemara’s famous attractions, the Kylemore Abbey with its Victorian Walled Garden is a highlight of history in the area. Nestled in an area of old oakwoods which terrace the mountainside, within the mountainous valley of Kylemore Pass with woodlands and a lake, sits the Abbey as a home to the Benedictine nuns since the 1920’s. The Abbey was built in 1868 by Mitchell Henry in memory of his late wife Margaret in a neo-gothic style as a castle by architects James Franklin Fuller and Ussher Roberts with the aid of 100 men a day. Margaret died of dysentry that she caught while on an expedition to Egypt. The castle took 4 years to complete. It covers over 40,000 square feet with over 70 rooms. There were 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, a billard room, a library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room, and various offices and domestic staff residences for the butler, cook, housekeeper, and other servants. Mitchell Henry was a wealthy politician from Manchester, England who was also the MP for Galway Country from 1871-1885. A Gothic Church built by Mitchell Henry and designed by Architect James Franklin Fuller was constructed as a miniature cathedral on the estate. The house was purchased by the Benedictine nuns in 1920 after fleeing from their convent in war-torn Belgium in 1914. They replicated here the same boarding school they were running in Belgium for over 300 years, still schooling to this day. It became one of the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The community of nuns who have resided here for 189 years. The south transept has beautiful stained glass tracery windows depicting Fortitude, Faith, Charity, Hope, and Chastity. In front of the altar was a trap door through which coffins were lowered to the vaults below. Due to erosion, the church began to decay. The nuns began restorations in 1991. A mile west of the main Abbey is the 6 acre Victorian Walled Gardens that Mitchell built during the construction of the Castle. This garden was one of the last walled gardens built during the Victorian period in Ireland and the only garden in Ireland that is built in the middle of a bog. The gardens are maintained with 21 huge glasshouses that were originally built to house exotic fruits and plants that were heated by three boilers, one of which doubled as a limekiln.
The Gardens fell into disrepair through the years until the Nuns found grants to repair them. The Gardens were re-opened in 1999. The Garden houses only plants and vegetables that grew in the Victorian era. In the back of the gardens is a tea room providing refreshments for the guests.

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Wall Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel * 1088 Burrard Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 2R9 * 604-331-1000

I can only compliment the architectural design of this building as I didn’t stay here during my visit to Canada, nor have I ever. But for those who enjoy architectural design and monuments, the Wall center is some eye candy in that arena. Its located within walking distance from the fashion and commerce districts of Vancouver possessing a dynamic view of the ethereal supernatural beauty that Vancouver is well known for – from the heights of its uppermost floors one can see all of Vancouver, the Bay, the harbour, Canada Place, Grouse and Cypress mountain. This building is a monument of mirrored glass windowns with a soothing courtyard holding spectacular gardens, cascading water, and Roman-styled hand-laid paving stones mixing modern architecture with classical beauty. From the outside, this looks like a plush and comfortable place to stay. For more information, see www.sheratonvancouver.com. Rating of architectural design: 4 out of 5; Rating of Hotel: Unknown. Viewed 3/22/08.