Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mercer Botanic Gardens

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
~John Muir

When Misseswether and I first moved down to Houston I was miserable. We lived in a little apartment in a big, fenced-in apartment complex that one could not escape by foot. I could see nature over the high fence but had no way to get to it and even if I could get to it it really was little more than a row of trees surrounding several oil rigs. I was driving 2-3 hours a day across all of Houston to go to work, and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays were tied up with competition ballroom dancing practice and events. There was no time or place for me to get my fix of good nature.

Misseswether could tell I wasn't happy. Somehow she discovered the nearby Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, and brought me there one Saturday morning. It was love at first sight.

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Lovely...beautiful...stunning...gorgeous...breathtaking...circa 2001.

We used to spend every spare moment there and when we moved into our house I used Mercer Botanic Gardens as my model for turning the flat, empty space of my backyard into Ravenscar. Any visitor we had we took to Mercer and no one was ever disappointed. One can walk the trails for hours through both cultured beds and wild spaces. Miniwether got a lot of her early training as an adventure-girl there.

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Miniwether at Mercer, November of 2006.

Misseswether has been taking the girls to Mercer once a week for over two years for homeschooling nature study there. This occurs while I'm at work, so I never get to join them. It occurred to me this weekend that I hadn't been there in ages, so off we went!

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Mini and Mambo at Mercer, December of 2010.

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The overlook now in 2010, two years after the devastation of hurricane Ike.

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Same spot back in 2001.

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Overlooking the Japanese maple pond (Miniwether's FAVORITE spot).

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Same spot, 2001.

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A fountain-thingy they built since the last time I was at Mercer. Sidenote: If I set the iso-number on my camera to 1600 I can catch the individual drops of water falling through the air. That was pretty cool.

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Cypress creek makes up the northern boundary of Mercer park, but actually getting to the creek takes some minor bushwacking.

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There's a number of bamboo groves there.

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Cool bug-eating swamp plants, too.

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Assorted fish ponds to help lower your blood pressure.

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Swings! Sidenote: Mambo didn't just punch Mini in this picture, it just looks that way. That's my story and I'm sticking too it!

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Flowers.

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Bathrooms! Also some nice rocking chairs on the porch.

I can't believe in the six years I've been writing this blog I haven't done a review of Mercer. It is worth going to even no matter where you live in Houston. You aren't allowed to eat in the Mercer Botanic Gardens but they have all sorts of great picnic areas and playgrounds across the street in Mercer Arboretum. Most weekends you see professional photographers out there taking pictures of beautiful brides, which is always neat, especially when you have little girls of your own along...though that could lead to expensive bills later in life... One other note, don't let any of the park workers see you holding any flower, leaf, or other bit of plant matter. They are REALLY protective of this garden!

Adventure! Excitement! Misseswether is a babe!

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