Man, it took its time. I was about to write a nasty letter.
An unusually prolonged Winter meant cold and dreary weeks at a time, finally relenting in a 75 degree flurry of gorgeousness. I mean you had to blink to realize Spring had actually arrived. Suddenly strange mixes of plants bloomed together……..redbuds and Yellow Magnolias…..Star Magnolias, Chinese Plums and Dogwoods…..strange combinations, uniquely juxtapositioned. Grass greened up. The Dandelions made their own version of a triumphant return!
Our obligatory trip to Bernheim Forest was a wonderful experience of cultivated and raw forest Spring, combined.
(Pictures enlarge by clicking)
The “Canopy Walk”, 75 feet in the air out over the burgeoning lime green of newly sprouting leaves on the amazing variety of species in a typical Kentucky Forest, took one’s breath away in its freshness.
As the distance proved equally breath-taking………..
Bernheim has its own laws and scenes. Unique in my experience, casual as can be with fabulous trails amid the humid, lush forest environments at every turn, yet a virtual Botanical Garden in essence and reality as one drives through the ancient forest. It offers a stillness and natural native aspect which silences and opens wonder for some time spent together.
I always gravitate towards a personally very special section which is their Magnolia Grove – a selection of “cultivars” of the original Soulangiana species, but offering some unique and rare bloom colors.
From the deepest, darkest Purples to this incredibly Yellow bloomer of substantial size, below, this garden is a favorite and early Spring :must-see” spot for my Mother and I.
Yew Dell Botanical Garden
So we moved shamelessly along to our next Early Spring destination – the Yew Dell Botanical Garden – that eccentric and altogether satisfying spot just past Pee Wee Valley (I just enjoy typing that!) which was the creation of Master Botanist and Hobbyist Theodore Klein with the able assistance of his wife, Martha Lee. Now fully ensconced in the Garden Conservancy network, Yew Dell is one of only 9 gardens in the entire United States which have the “Preservation Project” designation. It is, in short, a treasure.
This unique Redbud – I believe it is a “Pauline Lilly” – was among other sub-species/cultivars featured in the Louisville newspaper, The Louisville Courier Journal.
Needless to say, Yew Dell is also rife with gorgeous Dogwoods, many of which are equally unique by species, yet wild with color.
Oddities, sculptures such as this one abound in an amazing placement system which manages to catch the eye at surprising removes.
I have featured this cute little structure below before, but it is so wholly representative of Klein’s sense of play and work……..he became an apprentice stone mason out of sheer curiosity – a calling I can frankly very much identify with – that he built this “second house” to host guests inside. The front yard, shown in the picture below this, is of an expansive view from this virtual ridge top and is a place for guests to venture outside at their leisure..
The Main House is no slouch. Here we see the rear courtyard with its own gorgeous array of plantings and water feature. Once again, a detailed peek at the tone work shows a mind at play in the simple best of ways.
Coming back home, we wend our way through yet another example of the profusion of Louisville neighborhoods anyone who love to live in. This one is our ‘hood…….but it is replicable almost anywhere. The city is alive with beauty, especially at this time of year.