Showing posts with label BIRTHDAY 2011. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BIRTHDAY 2011. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beauty from the Biltmore House and Gardens




 I hope you are not getting tired of my photos from Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, NC.  This will be my 18th post from there...  I'm not obsessed,  am I?  ha ha ....  IF you happen to miss any of the other 17 posts,  you can go to my sidebar,  scroll down to Labels, and click on Biltmore.  It is truly an awesome place!  This trip was on August 5, my birthday!
 
Today I'm sharing a few more pictures with you.   Above are a couple of gorgeous Crepe Myrtles in bloom.   Below are more.  Enlarge the photos for larger pictures.




One of the adorable statues at the Italian Gardens;  I first thought he was holding an ice cream cone.  Don't think so!!!!! ha



One of the sidewalks in the Biltmore Gardens;  Love seeing the Grape Vines;






The Koi in the Italian Water Gardens;  I was looking straight down into the water --and loved getting the clouds in the sky as a reflection!







Remember when I showed a picture of this Chenille plant  around Christmas time --from inside the Conservatory?  WELL---now they have been transplanted outside.  Those little fuzzy worms do get long,  don't they?




I've talked alot about the Conservatory but have never shown you its picture.  Well--here it is--and let me tell you that there are some gorgeous tropical plants inside there,  including Orchids.

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On another note,  several of you have complained about having to scroll all of the way down through my comments to get to the "Leave Comment" form.  WELL--my advice is:  when you bring up a blog,  click on the blog only (Like THIS) instead of the post (This one )....   If you pull up the blog,  the comments won't come up.  Then just click on the comment form.  Much EASIER I think!!!!!   Use the Blogger Draftboard because it doesn't work if you use the Google Reader.   Just my thoughts for today! ha

Hope you enjoyed my photos from Biltmore.

Have a wonderful day.  We are still getting some drizzly rain... We're up to about 6 inches now....But--it's a slow rain ---so there's no flooding!  Thanks be to God.

Hugs,
Betsy

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh how I Love the Blue Ridge Parkway

If you ever want to take a beautiful drive in Summer (also in Spring and Fall),  there's just no place better than the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The parkway follows the tops of mountains from NC all the way to VA...  Then --if you want to go farther into northern VA,  take the Skyline Drive (which is a continuation of the Blue Ridge Parkway).  George and I have (at various times) been on the entire parkway including Skyline Drive.

For my birthday this year,  George took me out of this horrible heat we've been having here --and took me on a nice ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC.  We started at Maggie Valley and drove to the Mt. Mitchell exit.

Today,  I 'll show you some photos of some of the magnificent beauty  we saw during those two days while driving along the parkway.  First of all,  the temperature was in the 70's --so we enjoyed riding with the windows down.   That cooler air was fabulous---and that glorious mountain smell just filled my heart and soul.

Just sit back and enjoy today's photos.  It was a sunny/cloudy day --so on days like this, I love to photograph the sky as much as the mountains!!!! Remember that you can enlarge the photos for some larger views...










Thanksgiving Dinner, anyone????






Break through those clouds,  Mr. Sun!!!





If you want more beauty than your heart can imagine,  visit the Blue Ridge Parkway!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed my photos.  We certainly had a fabulous trip. Sorry I didn't get to many of your posts yesterday.  Our internet was out for many hours!!!!  Grrrrr.....

Hugs,
Betsy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Gorgeous Blooms from Biltmore

Last week I showed you some pictures from the Italian Water Garden  (chick HERE),  so today I'll share with you some of the beautiful flowers in the Walled Garden.  Above is a picture of one part of the Walled Garden.   I've shown this garden many times before--but they add new flowers and plants every season.   (Please click on these photos to see a MUCH larger picture.)





Look at this HUGE red Hibiscus.  I'm not sure I have ever seen one THIS large.




Here's a row of Cone Flowers.  Aren't they beautiful?




I liked the look of this Zinnea.   I have never grown them,  but my mother did.  SO--when I see them,  I think of her.




Here is a pretty group of Canna Lilies.  (Sorry --I first said these were Bromeliads.)




I was thrilled to see one of my favorite little succulents (which I have many of in my yard).  It's the Autumn Joy Sedum.  These little flowers change colors as they mature. At the end of the Fall,  they are a beautiful Fall rust color.




Here is the little beauty which I saw growing inside the Conservatory in the Winter.  I posted its picture then.   Someone may have told me its name,  but I cannot remember.  Whatever it is,  I really like it. Do you know????  (UPDATE:  It is a Castor Bean!  Thanks Ruth and Steve.)




Finally,  here's another gorgeous Hibiscus... Love these colors also,  don't you?

Hope you enjoyed seeing more of the "Biltmore Beauty".... 

Have a fabulous day!!!

Hugs,

Betsy

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sunny Flowers Indeed

In all of my life,  I have never seen THIS many Sunflowers in the same place...When George took me on my birthday trip on August 4-6,   one of the places we stopped was a favorite of ours,  the Biltmore House and Gardens...

When we were in the car,  getting ready to leave,  we spotted rows and rows and rows of beautiful Sunflowers in bloom.  Of course,  we had to stop and take some pictures.  I'll share them with you today --but it's hard to explain just how many we saw --since we couldn't get all of them into the same photo.  Some man standing there said that there must be thousands... I'm not sure,  but it felt like thousands to me... Today,  I'm sharing some of our gorgeous Sunflower pictures for you.  Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as we did.

See the bees?





Here's a closer picture for you to see the bees enjoying lunch.



I love seeing the mountains in the distance.



Here you can see more flowers, plus the mountains.



Can you see how many???? Rows and Rows... It was awesome!



Here is a very happy girl---who absolutely loves Sunflowers--especially on her 69th birthday.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the Biltmore Sunflowers today.

Have a SUNNY day!!!

Hugs,
Betsy

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fog at Mt. Mitchell

"Take some pictures quickly--we are about to be fogged in!!!"
Another place George took me on this year's Birthday Trip was to Mt. Mitchell State Park,  off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Burnsville, North Carolina.  There are a few places in the world that still stand apart from the ordinary.  Rising more than a mile high,  surrounded by the gentle mist of low-hanging clouds,  Mount Mitchell State Park is one of the extraordinary places.

In the crest of the timeworn Black Mountain lies the summit of Mt. Mitchell.  At an elevation of 6,684 feet, it is the highest point east of the Mississippi River.  For those who ascend this mighty peak,  what looms in the horizon is a feast for the eyes--breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains,  rolling ridges and fertile valleys.  Forrested and forever misty,  1,946-acre Mt. Mitchell State Park will provide you with some great moments--whether it is a clear day or (like when we were this time) a foggy/cloudy/misty day.

We again walked to the Summit (to the high platform almost in the sky).  On this day,  MY BIRTHDAY --August 5, 2011,  it was very foggy up there.  As my Daddy used to say,  it looked like "Pea Soup"... ha ha... Note the picture above.  You can see the fog /mist/clouds coming toward us!!!!!



"Hey George----Is that you up there?"



  "I cannot see much of anything.... I hope I don't run into someone."



"Hello.... It's my birthday...  Don't you think the sky would clear JUST for me today?"


"Look here...  Check back two pictures above from this same location...  It is TRYING to clear....."


 "WOW----I'm beginning to see some mountains out there.  See them?" 


"I can see the road down there now,  and even some blue sky.  That's just for ME on my birthday,  don't you think???? ha ha -------BUT---I did love seeing the clouds/fog/mist roll in and out and all around. That's a photographer's dream."


"Oh NO---it's coming this way... Guess we better head down the mountain, Honey!"

Wasn't this experience on Mt. Mitchell just awesome?  There truly is something special about 'Pea Soup' ----and we had a great day!!!!!

Hope you have a great day also!  Sorry that my blog didn't appear on the Reader or Dashboard yesterday.  I entered the wrong date (DUH) --so it published by accident on Sunday.  Instead of deleting it,  I just put it back in drafts and corrected it..   It published correctly today--but didn't show up on the Dashboard or Reader again...  Guess I should have deleted it --and started over (copying and pasting).   It was a good post,  so if you missed it,  click HERE
Hugs,
Betsy

Monday, August 15, 2011

Italian Water Garden at Biltmore

A picture from the side of Biltmore House.. Isn't that porch wonderful?
One of the places George took me during my Birthday Trip was to one of our all-time favorite places,  the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville,  NC.  Each time we go,  we try to see something new and different... As you know by now,  if you have followed my blog for awhile,  there are many different gardens to visit there plus many other things (most of which we haven't been to).

All of the gardens were designed by Frederick Olmstead---who worked with the client,  George Washington Vanderbilt.  The Esplanade in front of the house is a rectangular court with double rows of trees.  North of the Esplanade is a rectangular Italian garden and farther to the north is a Walled Garden, a Rose Garden and a 200 acre Azalea Garden.

There is also a Conservatory--which shelters Biltmore Garden's collection of Palms,  tropical plants and orchids --as well as the bedding plants for the outside gardens. And---there is also a Spring Garden --which is a nice little hike  on the 'other' side of the conservatory --away from the Azalea Gardens.  Like I've said,  you need to spend many days here --and come during all seasons.

These formal elements are set in a picturesque park,  making Biltmore a classic example of the Repton-influenced Mixed Style.  Olmstead was also interested in the layout of the vast wood estate (125,000 acres) in which the garden is set. Biltmore is the grandest estate ever built in America. 

Today,  I will show you the ITALIAN GARDEN.  Close to the house,  the elegant garden features geometric pools and fountains within a courtyard filled with classic statuary and symmetrical plantings.  As you will see,  there is a good view of the Biltmore House from here.

Here's a funny story I read.  Olmstead envisioned this space as an outdoor room for Vanderbilt and his guests.  With the garden's three symmetrical pools,  this garden is the perfect setting for QUIET reflection.  Well---apparently Vanderbilt and his guests had other ideas ----as they engaged in a lively tennis game nearby on the grassy area near the house!!!!

Sit back and enjoy seeing my photos from the beautiful Water Gardens.
You can see how close these gardens are to the Biltmore House.


As I said above, there are three pools like this one. And the area is manicured all around.


I love this one since you can see the reflection of the Biltmore House in the water.


In this picture,  you can see more of the lily pads --and some of the gorgeous sculptures around.


For some reason,  this picture captured my attention..  Maybe it's because you can see down into the water.


I don't know the name of this water plant --but I thought it was beautiful.


Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the water gardens at Biltmore.  I have lots more photos --which I will share at other time...

Hope you had a wonderful weekend.  I certainly am enjoying Facebook --and have already caught up with so many old friends.  AWESOME.   Join me---won't you?

Hugs,
Betsy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Is this Girl Spoiled or What?

George did it again!!!!!  He gave me another fabulous birthday celebration!  Since we had taken a big trip in June,  my request to George this year was that we not go too far from home and that we only take a 3 day/2 night trip.   SO---he took my request and planned a terrific 'getaway'.

We left Thursday --and headed east toward Maggie Valley... Since the trip was a surprise,  I was never quite sure what our plans were...  We drove past Maggie Valley and got on the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway at Soco Mtn.  George knows how much I love the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The last time we were there was last October to see the Fall colors.  Each season presents different looks along the parkway.

We stayed on the parkway until we got to Asheville, stopping all along the way.  In Asheville,  we stayed at the Biltmore Holiday Inn Express ---and got a FREE upgrade to a suite which included a jacuzzi!!!!!  SO NEAT! 

As you can see from the picture above,  we stopped at the highest elevation to take some pictures... George took a picture of the Birthday Girl here.  Some people know that I love traveling with the windows opened in the car ---and since the temperature along the parkway was a fabulous 72 degrees,  the wind felt so good as we traveled along the parkway.  I was in 7th heaven (just getting away from the extreme heat that we have had at home recently).  OH--how I love the mountains... (George knew I'd love it here!)


We had fog and clouds most of the day --but no rain at all (although it was fairly near us).  Clouds and fog are a photographer's dream... We captured the picture above near Brevard, NC .  It is so neat to be above the clouds/fog... Isn't this an incredible photo?


During the afternoon on Friday (my birthday),  we got back on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north from Asheville.  We drove all the way to another favorite place of mine,  Mt. Mitchell State Park.  Again on Friday,  there was rain/clouds/fog around ---and we even had a short shower while driving.  Again,  the temperatures were in the lower 70's along the parkway.

Once we started up the mountain to Mt. Mitchell,  the fog took over...  We made it to the parking area --and decided to hike up to the overlook hoping that we would see something (besides fog/clouds) while we were up there.  Above is a picture of us standing at the summit (at 6,684 feet).  Guess why I was wearing a sweater?????   The temperature up there was 64 degrees.... It was heavenly!!!   (I'll show many more pictures from Mt. Mitchell---and yes,  the fog cleared somewhat so that we could get some pictures!!!!  I'm sure it did that just because it was my birthday!  Ya think????? ha ha )


After we left the summit and make our way back down to the car, George took me to the State Park Restaurant at Mt. Mitchell for a fabulous Birthday Dinner including some delicious pulled pork BBQ,  baked beans and Potato salad...  It was delicious (as you can tell from the picture above).   BUT---even better than that was that piece of Peanut Butter Pie they brought me!!!!!!   Holy Cow---the girl who loves peanut butter was again in HOG Heaven (in more ways that one)... ha.. But a girl's gotta eat on her birthday.  Right?????

That is a neat restaurant with a great view---if only the fog/clouds had have moved out!!!  I would love to go back there sometime when the view is better.  BUT--it was still wonderful and we had a great time!

Do you see that vest that I am wearing?  It was a birthday present from George--and is a camera vest that my camera attaches to when I'm walking.  George had heard me complain about having to hold my camera and/or camera bag when we walk or hike ---to keep it from bobbing back and forth... SO--he surprised me with a new Camera Vest.   Neat, huh???? I love it!  The rest of my camera equipment can safely go into my backpack,  and I will have my camera close to my heart --for that special photo opportunity.



In addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mt. Mitchell,  George also took me back to another favorite place,  the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville.  I love that place --and since we have season's tickets,  we have been there at different times and have seen different kinds of beauty each time.  This time was no exception. 

We went to Biltmore early on Friday morning --to escape some of the heat  of the day.  BUT--even when we left about noon,  the temperature was already up to about 87 degrees --PLUS humidity, and rising quickly.   As usual,  we took LOTS of pictures  there,  but today I'll just show you two.  Above are some of the absolutely fabulous Crepe Myrtles.  Aren't they beautiful?


AND---here is my favorite area of Biltmore during this season.  We saw not hundreds but thousands of huge Sunflowers growing in a big field.  I was in awe of seeing that many all in the same area.. SO--I'll close with a picture of George and me standing in front of some of the Sunflowers.  You needed to be there to see this gorgeous area!  (Note our Grand Canyon t-shirts... I picked this one out since there was a BIG bird on the front!)

Can you see how much we enjoyed our short trip?   George certainly gets an A+++++  for giving me another fantastic birthday.   It was another trip to remember!  Thanks, Honey.  I adore you!!!!!

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On another note,  thanks to many many many of you who stopped by to wish me a Happy 69th.   Besides comments,  I also got emails and cards and texts and ecards.... Thanks to all.

Nobody got ALL three of my FALSE statements...  Many got two of the three though... Thanks for playing along!!!!!   The three false statements were:
  • -4.  I definitely never DANCED --especially not in the Nutcracker!!!!  GADS---imagine what that would have looked like!!!  (My parents did get me to take a few dance lessons --but that didn't last very long!)
  • -8.  I cannot stand talking on the phone.   Don't get me wrong...  I enjoy talking to some of you and to my family on occasion,  but am truly not a phone person.  I think that is because when I worked,  I had to constantly ask for volunteers ---by using the phone.  People got tired of hearing my voice when I called them!  AND--I got tired of doing it!
  • -10.   I do love sports ---but not soccer...  My favorite sport is football!  I put this one in here for the benefit of one of my best friends who lives and breathes soccer..  She knows that I don't care for it (or know anything about it).

Many of you thought that I must love to read since I was a teacher and since I read alot of blogs... WELL---maybe that was a trick question,  but I still say that I do not enjoy reading (unless it is truly something of interest to me like Family History).  I NEVER pick up a novel or a mystery or even a love story and read it just for the heck of it.  I'm a visual person --and have never enjoyed reading.  I know when I was in school and college,  I always dreaded all of that reading I had to do.  I did it--but I can't say that I enjoyed it.  Still don't!!!! (My Mom loved to read and always wanted me to read one of her novels.  Never did!)

The Pre-K statement probably confused some of you.... At age 4,  I did attend a Pre-Kindergarten class.  Maybe back then, it was called something different --but it was Pre-K.   AND---we did have Kindergarten for the 5 yr. olds....  I did set that clock,  and my parents loved to tell that story on me all through the years.

And yes,  we did attend 28 different parades in and around New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season... Mardi Gras actually goes on for about 2-3 weeks.  We would all pile in the car and go to a different parade each night.  And on the weekends,  there were several parades... We went home with huge boxes full of beads, doubloons,  and trinkets (or treasures as we loved to call all of the 'junk').  ha

Yes---I do love RAKING--and hate housework....  And YES,  I used to be a speed demon (in my younger, more stupid years)--so I did receive a few speeding tickets through the years.  I even bought a 'fuzz buster' --which didn't help much,  and I always went to a class --which kept the ticket off of my record... Shame on me!!!!! ha

Hope all of you had an incredible weekend ---and took time to celebrate my birthday also.  Thanks again for all of the wonderful comments and cards.

Hugs,