Bernheim Forest On A Sunny Fall Day

Spectacular stuff. After getting our Mother home, we took her for a spin in her favorite spot in the galaxy because we knew the scene was going to be white hot – or maybe red hot – with Fall colors. We guessed right.

If you click on the pictures, they’ll expand for you.


 The timing was perfect. Lower and more protected levels of the drive – consistently warmer micro climates in these woods – still have a ton of green. It contrasts with marginally more exposed and the higher levels in magnificent ways. The drive itself – and it is not long – winds through forest, revealing more color as we advance.


 Some of it spectacular indeed.




We approach my favorite spot of them all in Bernheim Woods – the Canopy Walk – with some serious excitement and let it all unfold around us.


It’s definitely gorgeous in spades.


The sights are strong and full of color and the thrilling sense of depth all these hardwood forests give so generously. This even smells like a cool forest.


On the approach, we look over the edge and see down into the forest floor and canopy from above it all. It is pretty breath-taking.


Fullness and a rotating sense greet the eyes as we feel a bit elevated and a lot intrigued.


We get to the end and there we are – above and beyond in a full spectrum Autumn Show.




It is pretty much too pretty for words as we return to the lower regions and discover something wonderful.



Pretty cool stuff.

Just More Dum Spring Pictures

More Spring glories………

This has been a somewhat epic Spring – early by a month, enticing as all get-out with the proliferation of blooming things as well as some equally unseasonable scents to go with the flowers. I had forgotten how great Kentucky can smell.

(enlarge pictures by left-clicking) Please 😉

I can’t get enough of these gorgeous blooms.

This dogwood explains its design, set next to this white home and co-existing with such an enhancing flowering.

More of the Native Pinks, the Dogwoods have truly been the stars of the local show for my money.

Here, once again, is Nature’s rendition of a chaotic romp set in little Audubon Park in Louisville.

This is pretty much the butt-kickingest Redbud I’ve seen so far.

The “roadside look” I always enjoy. These blooming things show up in all the local forests, creating a lacy framework around which the visible harbingers of Spring group. Notice too all the super-young leaves on local trees as they grow and re-color to their deeper greens as the season progresses.

Inside the local neighborhood, things are picking up serious steam as well.

This Kwanzan Cherry tree does its usual double-blooming trick, increasing the weight on those branches by about 10 times.

All in all, we are so blessed here.



Spring Spectacular

It’s gone a little crazy here. This bizarre early Spring is a month early which is not to say I am crying tears of Rage over it. That would be laughingly inaccurate.  😉

We took a small trip to Bernheim Woods because that’s where one goes to find out what the best things in this world are – and Bernheim delivered. Nor is this to say I did not have a hallucinating great time walking my local ville and even Owensboro, where I spent time with two wonderful people, one my very original old flame the other my most influential adult growing up. I could have easily and happily spent more time with each but I also left each feeling refreshed and soulful. And wanting more.

(enlarge all images – and please do – by left clicking)

The colorful Crabapple grove below is one of Bernheim’s greatest tricks. They tend to mass blooming things in fabulous arrays of sumptuousness for the eyes (and nose!) as the flowering Crabapples below testify.

It was further up the car-directed trails where my Ma and I were most driven to visit – all curious about what the Forest Canopy Walk would offer. The little succulent lime green leaves of Kentucky Spring are just trotting out some muscular leaf activity on these forests of crazily- and widely- mixed species.

The view over the edge goes forever, with beautiful punctuations of subtle colors which you must see to really understand. Great forest scents are out, with both the native Dogwoods and Redbuds pushing blooms like hot dog salesmen in the Manhattan business district.

I absolutely adore the iron work on this forest canopy walk. Simple, safe but still somehow visually arresting, the Bernheim Forest has themselves an absolute feature with this outstanding edifice.

This is my Mother, just before she jumped. Yes, I tried “talking her down” – I mean, I watched Dirty Harry – but she was having too much fun. I’ll probably miss her.

It’s actually a long way down and, no, she didn’t jump. I was just funnin’.

Notice my accent changing?

But it is the distant views that bring home the season like few other images. One can see Winter still has the slightest grip on some dubious trees, a little reluctant to bust out like their neighbors.

Lacy blooms adorn these dense hardwood forests like gorgeous necklaces around the loved ones nearby. Shared in scent, color and texture, the very depth of Nature’s Beauty shows off here in 360 degrees of fulfillment, delicately and yet boldly.

The subtle graces of these stunningly rich Spring forest views reveal themselves to a delighted populace who universally speak of and enjoy these forests with pride and a very real Kentucky wonder.

Almost diabolical in their tactics, planners of this luscious resource obviously take a perverse pride in augmenting these forests views with sneaky Fuschia coloring in their foregrounds, a trick of designing which never fails to absolutely hypnotize the rest of us idiots with a smiling pleasure. Honestly, this view is outrageous. Please enlarge.

Truth is, Mom and I caught more than one mere day’s worth of glory out there. For example, when we came back to town, we tripped over to Audubon Park where various crazy neighborhoods host a Dogwood Festival each year.

I mean, its hard to imagine why!

Bernheim Forest – Spring 2011

We made it!

The busted hose notwithstanding – now all fixed and working properly –  I made the journey with My Own Mom out to her favorite place on Earth, Bernheim Woods, 15 miles South of Louisville, on a gorgeous, slightly hazy but satisfyingly warm day. We kept the crimes to a minimum on our way out.

(click on images to enlarge them)

Picture 328

The unusual Spring we’re experiencing – complete with these flirtations with warmth and then ice cold periods following – have acted to preserve a few blooms and fade others. Of all blooms I enjoyed most, the Chinese Pears had a wonderful show this Spring – not buckled by the heat which often sends the blooms cascading down in sheets, but, rather, keeping them fresh for just a bit longer.

Picture 281

It did put the Dogwoods off a week or so, although they are now pretty much at their height again, providing what I see as a unique Kentucky feast for the eyes. The native Dogwood and Redbud blooms sprinkle local forests like pixie dust, highlighting the fresh lime-green leaves of the Oaks and Walnuts, the Hickories and Maples and making a tableau which is somewhere at an “Urbanite’s Lunatic Fringe of Freshness”, if such a thing could be said. It’s a true Spring scene.

Picture 333

Spackled throughout the forests here, like the best tourist brochure pictures, native Spring-blooming trees provide a warm and pretty picture which every native Kentuckian misses when they get transplanted – to a man. The fragrance and visual delight of Spring Kentucky forests is special, making Spring an entire phenomenon all of its own and comprising 0ne of the purest and most compelling reasons for loving this lush and gorgeous geography.

Picture 335

The completeness of Spring seems to round itself off with the dogwoods while less native plants still give out hefty efforts at being as beautiful as genetics can make possible, such as this nice Soulangiana Magnolia.

Picture 202But, still and all, Bernheim shines yet again with absolutely pristine local character, some by design, other by the strict cooperation with Nature.

Picture 331Here we have the somewhat rare Vasey’s Trillium, a native with an unusual brown flower and the tiniest of flowering periods. We felt extremely fortunate to be able to catch this one at its prettiest phase. While other trees and shrubs had bloomed already and dropped, these little gems seemed to have waited for us as we tromped over the where we had observed them a year ago. “Voila!” – there they were!

Picture 336I attached a completely anthropomorphic activity to the entire scene in the picture above:  a classic look at a pretty ballet soloist, using her grace and natural ability to achieve an act of rare beauty. I was struck by this scene’s simplicity and its restful but sensual color and form.

I was getting into it.  😉

Picture 355Bernheim, like my other favorite parks, Hidden Hill Nursery (Bob Hill) and Yew Dell Gardens, features human creations other than the landscaped grounds.  Nothing focuses the mind like a riveting sculpture, perfectly situated in its own grove.

And then, of course, I also like the Supernatural part of the park – among others, the Magnolia’s. I realize there has been some die-off recently from the severity of Winter Storms in recent years, but the remaining supple suckers still put on an impressive show. Magnolias are ridiculously photogenic, for one thing.

Picture 341

I have a real thing for the yellow-blooming Magnolias. I planted two large trees here in Louisville last Fall and they should be happening now. I just think they may be the only plant I ever saw that looks “lit up” at daytime.

Anyway, the plant is new to me and it’s a current rave. It may be old hat to a lot of people, but for someone still somewhat new here, it’s another dimension.

Picture 339

Last picture of the Yellow Magnolia’s. Promise!

Picture 342The yet more photogenic Magnolia’s make their bold little splash below:

Picture 346

Enlarged is how this picture needs to be seen. It’s pretty busy!

Picture 345Eventually, we went and walked along a small creek that courses through the grounds. This one is where Mother had spotted Siberian Iris plants hard by the banks of the creek bed in year’s past. Sure enough, they were busting out.

Picture 350And the creek is more “Kentucky” than Kentucky is.

Picture 348

Yes, that is My Own Mom, looking fresh after a small crime spree we went on. (It involved a bazooka and an Eggplant….long story. 😉  oh, and an Anteater.

And here’s that creek:

Picture 349Louisville has some of the greatest creeks. All that limestone and the tough cuts made by water over incredible lengths of time. As a child here, I vividly recall hunting for arrowheads and Civil War relics. Fossils were very much in the mix as well. Many was the time I traveled with a pocket full of rocks which – come to think of it – says more than I care to say about how I ended up.

Looking down the other way –

Picture 352

On the way home, that Anteater got loose in the bank we went to and made a real mess. We’ve used that scam quite a few times and it has paid off handsomely.

We’ll get over to Audubon Park in the next couple of days. It’s always dogwood crazy.