Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham, Part Two.

I always feel so bad about disappointing my blog readers. You, the faithful ones, who enjoy reading what I have to say, are often left hanging until I gather my absentminded self together and actually churn out a post. I was talking to my sweet Grandma Pat on speakerphone with my family the other evening and she told me she hadn't seen anything come through on my blog for a while... and with a cringe, I realized that the blog posts I've been planning in my head hadn't actually gotten written yet. :P 

Sometimes I just need a little motivation! :D 

Without further ado, I bring you... the pictures from our delightful afternoon at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. 
I think this was the first photo I took after hopping out of the car. These are the main buildings of the garden center.

The gardens are completely free of charge to visit, which we greatly appreciated - and they're really close to the zoo, which I heard is also free. Be sure to check these places out if you're ever visiting Birmingham!

I love my parents. :D Daddy pushed Mama in her wheelchair so that she wouldn't have to tire out her joints... "Besides," he joked, "I can use the exercise!" This picture is just outside the gift shop, which we saved for last, touring the gardens first.

There was still frost and ice lingering in the shady nooks and crannies from the snow that had fallen 2 days before we'd arrived in Alabama.

I was photographing ice on a  bench when I happened to spot this tiny plaque. It tugged at my heartstrings. How precious to be always remembered as "A devoted wife"!

I loved the architecture of the buildings!

You walk under this bridge to enter the gardens proper. 

I walked around the back of this fountain to get better light for this shot - the sculpture was so cool. Water trickled down the textured stone sides from the tops of these curvy pillars.
I would love to come back to see these English rose gardens in full bloom... one could only imagine the profusion of flowers! 

These pretty flowers hide their faces, growing in a drooping position.

Much of the plants in the gardens were dormant for the winter, but I found hidden beauties here and there to photograph. It was like my own private treasure hunt. 

I stooped down to catch a glimpse of the 'freckled' petals on this flower.

There was so much to explore! Paths led in every direction. 

Each one led to new discoveries. 

We stopped at a very pretty sage-green gazebo for a quick photoshoot. :)

Don't my mommy and daddy make an adorable couple?

Winter-blooming camellias added pops of color here and there!

They were lovely.
It was a very peaceful place with benches everywhere in case you wanted to sit and relax.

The entrance to the Japanese rock gardens! (It looked JUST like the one on the computer game we used to play called Zoo Tycoon, where you could create your own zoo and landscape it...) Lol!

Early blooming cherry trees!

Daddy taking a picture with his iPhone of the stream. 

This part of the gardens looked the best for the wintry season, because even though the trees were bare, the sculptural beauty of the rocks still showed. 

A large rock slab made a natural bridge across this little streambed!

It was really gorgeous.

Tucked inside the gardens was a large pond.

One of several bridges that connected different sections of the garden.

The pond. Enormous Koi fish swam in the jade-green water. 

A long zig-zag bridge spanned the center of the pond. 

So picturesque!

These rocks stood like little floating islands in the middle of the water.

I think this might have been my favorite part of the place. Oh, except for the blooming camellias... more on those later!

Bamboo arched overhead.

The trees were all so graceful, despite being barren of foliage. 

Annnnd back to the rock slab. :D

This fuzzy grass-like plant was so much prettier in real life...  In the background you can see yet another gazebo, still  with a little snow on the mossy roof. 

This might be my favorite photo of the day. I love the soft shading of the background...

Tiny hemlock pinecones! They were doll-sized! So cute.

No idea what this was. Some kind of mutant pussywillow? Cool though!

More blooming cherries! So early, but just in time for our visit. :)

*sigh* It gave me a blissful hope that Spring was on its way. 

The camellias were just. so. beautiful. 

I also enjoyed the few brightly-colored poppies we spotted around one corner!

In a warm, sunny spot, a few foxgloves (or possibly snapdragons?) 

So pretty! You'd never guess this photo was taken in January. 

Yum. I think I got some bokeh on this one.  (little spots of light)

I loved the speckled 'throats' of these flowers!

This is the exterior of the large greenhouse. It looked amazing but to our disappointment it was closed off with chains and a padlock. A printed sign  on the door stated "closed for repairs until further notice" but we saw that the trees were pushing up against the roof and several panes of glass were broken. I do hope they eventually restore it.

Now this was neat. A random gigantic round thing.

I dubbed it "The sphere of amazingness." 
Outside the main buildings, a gorgeous courtyard. I wanted to take these chairs home, they were so pretty.

A reflecting pool!

I spied this birds' nest in a holly bush. 

This waterfall bubbled and gurgled outside the gardens' library - it was full of books on gardening and plants. We spent some time there reading.

And in the middle of this lettuce garden, a giant iron rabbit stood guard! It was about four feet long. 

 Instead of buying anything at the gift shop, I just took pictures of the things I liked...
Like this owl ring! (A little big for my tastes, but so neat.)
I really almost bought these owl earrings, but couldn't make myself pay $14 for  something I could make myself if I had the right beads... :D 

This hand-blown glass bowl rose up in the middle like transparent mountains. I can't imagine what you'd use it for but it was awesome. 
Hope you enjoyed the post!


  1. oh, beautiful pictures, Julia! :) i love all the flowers, and the water-falls and streams. :) and that one picture of the building reflecting in the water is really neat. :) it looks like an amazing time of enjoying God's beautiful creations, and man's genius. :)


  2. All the flowers are so pretty! I think one of my favorite pictures was the bird's nest in the holly bush. And the cute tiny hemlock cones. Poppies are so adorable, even their name.

    The sphere of amazingness. :D What could it have been for?

    Great pictures! I liked them all.

  3. Lovely Place and Lovely Pics.

    smiles :) from,


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