Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Monday, December 31, 2012

On the seventh day of Christmas, Zoo Lights

A trip to Zoo Lights at Tacoma's Point Defiance Park is a special holiday treat enjoyed by many!  There is a lot of great information about the event here.  Since we hadn't visited  for at least 15  years, we thought it might be interesting to revisit and see if, after all this time, Zoo Lights still lived up to all the hype.  We certainly weren't disappointed.  Even this grinchy curmudgeon whose favorite seasonal greeting is Bah Humbug, found himself giggling and enjoying this carnival of Christmas.

There are more than half a million lights decorating the Zoo.
 Do you see Mr. Rainier in the background?   How did they light the entire mountain for this event?  One also wonders how they changed the orientation of an entire mountain.

Is that a yucca dressed in white lights?

Everywhere along the paths, the gardens are full of lights!

In addition, there are lots of animated displays that would look cool on video if I had remembered to bring my tripod.  You'll just have to check out the wonders of Zoo Lights yourself!
 This rainbow is huge, beautiful and can be seen from quite a distance.  Unfortunately, no one seemed able to find a pot of gold at the end.
Scale models of the Narrows Bridges. Notice the tail lights on the bridge on the left and headlights on the one on the right - clever.   
If you haven't seen the dramatic video of the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse in 1940 and are interested in that sort of thing, here you go. 
Becasue it's a zoo, there are lots of interesting animals to be seen like this giant squid that, because of the rapid changing of light color, seems to be undulating all over the roof of the aquarium.

Pea fowl.

Lower entrance to the aquarium.

Water birds.

Most of the real zoo animals get to sleep during this event but there are plenty of pretend ones to discover.

There is so much to do at this event like watching Santa swim with the sharks, riding a vintage merry go round, sipping hot chocolate to name a few. 
Love this variegated yucca wearing white lights. Speaking of  plants, the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium grounds are home to incredible gardens.  More on that tomorrow.  I hope that when the clock strikes midnight and a new year begins, you find yourself healthy, happy, and loved.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

On the sixth day of Christmas, a holiday trip to Seymour

You may remember my post about the Seymour Conservatory at Wright Park in Tacoma here.   It's a great place to visit when it's cold and gray outside.  Recently Alison from Bonnie Lassie and I visited the conservatory.  Because I totally messed up the time, we didn't see it together (yes, I'm that stupid) but, being the gracious person she is, Alison has agreed to give me a second chance to meet her.  Anyway,  here are some pictures.   Much of the inside space was taken up by Santa, a photographer and folks dressed in Victorian costumes as there was a special Dickens event going on.

Careful where you step!  This guy is waiting to eat, I mean great you.   

The Musa are nestled all snug in their bed,

While visions of springtime dance in their pseudostems.  Can you believe how green they still are?

Every year when I see these blooming in November/December, I swear to get some  for my own garden but somehow never do.  Pretty cool aren't they. Is that Bishop's weed around them?
The conservatory is popular with tourists from a variety of locations.

As one steps inside, the first thing (s)he notices is the mingled fragrance of the lemon tree in bloom and the paperwhites peppered through the red, white, and green display.  Notice the lacy leaves of the amorphophallus; when it blooms the fragrance will be somewhat less pleasant unless you're a carrion fly.

 There is a plant sale area in the conservatory and Poinsettia 'Winter Rose' seemed to be quite a hit.  I saw quite a few of them walking out during my visit. (No silly, not on their own; people were carrying them.)

In the tropical section, there were  a few orchids in bloom.  While orchids in pots are lovely, I find them much more interesting when they are cascading from palms and other tropical plants much like they would in nature.

Are we in paradise?  These birds seem to think so.

Nothing screams tropical like Birds of Paradise and Anthurium.
 Bright tropical rhodendron.  We'll have similar ones blooming outside in a few weeks!

An interestingly toothed monster reminds us to stay on the paths!
If you're ever in the area, do check out the conservatory at Wright Park and give a holler, I could probably hear you from my house!
Walking back to the car, this gorgeous grass, growing between the sidewalk and a chain link fence caught my eye.  Such Weber-worthy beauty!

Someday I hope to be able to capture the beauty of grasses as well as Scott but for now, this will have to do.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the fifth day of Christmas - Decorating tips

Recently I've seen a lot of gorgeous pictures of tasteful and beautiful christmas decorations.  Being inspired, I decided to get a tree.
I love going to a tree farm.  The fresh air, the country setting, the smell of pine...
It's difficult to choose from so many beautiful specimens but do take your time as selecting the right tree is vitally important.
Here the selection has been narrowed down to three.  Does any one of these speak to you? 
I finally went with the one in the middle as something seemed right about that choice.
Decorating should be a joyful and meaningful experience.  I carefully chose a simple shell garland that Tom brought back from a trip to Mexico.  Can't you just feel the warmth?  A few gifts around the bottom of the tree and voila...Holiday Magic!
For those of you who prefer a less gaudy, more tasteful presentation, my niece sent this picture to me from thereifixedit.com.  Such beautiful simplicity. 
What did you expect from a grinch?