Sunday, November 29, 2015

River Banks Zoo And Gardens

I drove three hours south on Thursday bearing freshly dug parsnips and taters for a most delicious turkey dinner. The pre-planned excursion for Black Friday was a visit to the Columbia, SC zoo and botanical garden, RiverBanks. 

I came home to find I had missed the anti-shopping #OptOutside meme for the day. Being outside and hating shopping is completely natural for me. It is rather sad some folks have to make a special effort at that.

I of course was more interested in the garden than the zoo. The garden and zoo sit on opposite sides of the Saluda river with a pedestrian bridge across it. The recent flooding had closed the garden side entrance in another part of town so we started our visit at the zoo.

Nice metal lion.

The real thing looks ever so familiar to certain felines I know.

The animals could wait. We headed to the garden.

Nice gate for the pedestrian bridge. That looks like a hymenocallis, or Spider Lily, a plant native to the wet places of the south east.

Inscribed memorial or donor bricks lined the path across the bridge.

I don't know the history of this botanical garden. I did find one sentence that said the walled garden, which is the main component of this garden, was first opened in 1995. I do know Jenks Farmer, the noted SC plantsman and designer was involved in some manner.

Smaller themed gardens are contained within the formal structure and layout of the walled garden. It is very reminiscent of the Biltmores's walled garden. The central axis is an elaborate rill and fountain system.

I'm sure glad it is not my job to maintain this water feature. I know pond scum rather intimately these days. Keeping these things running is no easy task.

Late November is not prime garden touring time. Still, there was quite a lot to see and evidence of only a minor frost.

The plant collection overall was quite impressive, if not overly photogenic on a post growing season full sun day.

There were plenty camellias in bloom. There had to be in a garden in South Carolina.

I rather like this interpretation of the blue bottle tree. It reminds me of something.

It has what my bamboo bottle tree lacks, a good solid background.

A good thought for the day and every other day.

There was still quite a bit of nice fall color to see on my trip south.

Some ginko trees were in full color.

We toured maybe half of the zoo on the way out. The Galapagos Tortoise.

The Komodo Dragon, still growing.

Went to a tropical reef.

Saw some sea anemones.

And a tank full of jellyfish.

Next up was Antarctica.

Flamingos lounged outside the icehouse.

I can't have pink flamingos in my garden, that would be wrong. Maybe the Posh Estate could have some.

On second thought, maybe a flock of flamingos in the roadside vegetable garden wouldn't be so bad. It was a most pleasant Thanksgiving excursion.


Lola said...

Glad you could away. Nice garden.

Lola said...

What is the plant in #10?

Christopher C. NC said...

Yes it was nice to get away for a short trip Lola. I believe that is a Fatsia japonica. You could grow that. It wouldn't take my cold.

Lisa Greenbow said...

A fun tour. I am always amazed to see palm trees in a garden. That is so Southern.

Sallysmom said...

Glad to hear you didn't spend Thanksgiving alone.

Les said...

This place has long been on my to-see list.