earth day

what better way to celebrate earth day then to be enamored with its beauty in such a way that you can’t help but to strive to care for our environment?

this weekend my family and i visited the mitchell park domes in milwaukee. the domes are a horticultural showcase featuring different species of plant life from all over the world.

they are about an hour commute south from my wonderful hometown of sheboygan.   sheboygan is sandwiched between 2 big cities and has many other wonderful locations just miles around (yet, another reason i love living here).

admission costs are $8.00 for an adult non-milwaukee resident, and $6.00 for youth.  5 and under free, but miss a is too tall to pass for 5 anymore  😉

you can pace yourself along a self guided tour through the 3 domes.  a tropical, a dessert, and a show dome display plants from different climates from around the world, featured as naturally as possible.

this weekend was the opening weekend of the japanese zen gardens in the show dome.

the mission is to provide visitors with educational opportunities, cultural programs, horticultural information; and aims to protect certain rare and endangered species.

the domes began construction in 1959 and the first dome officially opened in 1964.  the glass house cone shape allows a better angle for solar heating and more height for tall trees. there is approximately 2,200 panes of glass in each dome (and to think i was complaining about spring window cleaning at my house).

this was my first time visiting, and for most of you who know me, you know that i’ve tried my hand in gardening and plant life throughout the years. to be fair, also for those who know me, you know i haven’t always been a successful green thumb. in fact for a while, the only success i had was with a cactus as they can survive long droughts. in fact at some point i was told to stick with humans and not plants, as thankfully, my abilities to keep humans alive vastly out weighed my ability to keep a plant growing. however, with much trial and error things have changed in the world of my green thumb- it’s actually green!

much like the human body plants have their own dna and depend on certain elements to keep them alive. they require food and water to survive at their most basic cellular level, just as we do. i have been successful recently with plant life,  because I began learning about the plant species, the soil, sun and other environmental needs. most of all i love reaping the bounty of my garden. the fact that there are about 320 thousand species of plants means i still have a lot of learning to do and i can’t consider myself a botanist…just yet!

plants are essential to the ecosystem and necessary for our survival, so not only are they wonderful to look at they are useful too!

the rarest collection that calls the desert dome home (see what i did there) is the madagascar collection. the tropical dome houses the tallest tree, the canary island date palm.

the shapes, colors, fragrances and designs are sure to engulf your senses.

the plants are watered by hand every day, and the tropical dome also makes use out of its misting system to hydrate its occupants. plants are not the only species calling this place home however. various species of birds, frogs, beneficial insects (used for pest control), fish, toads and lizards also reside within these glass walls.

the japanese zen garden was eloquent and peaceful. the flowers were in full bloom and was the perfect easter inspiration.

this was my favorite! “kokedama” – a ball of soil covered with moss on which an ornamental plant grows. it is a style of japanese bonsai, where a plant’s root system is wrapped in moss and bound with string, transforming it into a sculptural art form.  loosely translated, “koke” means moss and “dama” means ball. I cant wait to incorporate these hanging moss balls into my yard this year!

environment is so crucial for growth for us, the plants and the animals we share this beautiful earth with. go out and do something today to clean up a little corner of this planet.

submerge yourself in its beauty and learn something new about clean living in an effort to protect our air, land, water and animals.

after all “the earth is what we all have in common.” -wendell berry

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