When someone tells you to stop and smell the roses, in Omaha, you can stop and smell a lot more.
You can also take a stroll through a wooded area, and “travel” to different countries. Just take a trip to Lauritzen Gardens
Omaha’s botanical gardens opened in 1982. New gardens have been added throughout the years to make it one of the city’s most popular attractions. Lauritzen has 20 gardens located on 100 acres.
It’s a great area for a nice walk. You have the chance to view flowers ranging from roses and peonies to perennials. The Storz family rose garden is perhaps the most popular garden at Lauritzen.
The Japanese Garden was a great addition. The garden opened in 2005. You can walk through a gate and climb a hill. Once there, you can appreciate the view of the Japanese Garden, as well as the landscape surrounding it.
You can also see English perennials in their own garden. I know it’s nothing like being in England, but I appreciate the inclusion of different floral arrangements.
I like walking farther into the botanical garden, into the arboretum and bird sanctuary, on to the herb garden and the founder’s garden. They are deepest in the park.
One of my favorite spots in the arboretum is a pond. On a nice summer day, you can hear the bull frogs croaking. If you watch carefully, you can see them pop their heads above water. The frogs seem to be photographers’ favorites.
In the spring, you get to see the leaves budding on the trees in the woodlands. The staff is busy planting new flowers and plants for the season, so you can check out the flowers as they prepare to grow.
As I mentioned previously, the arboretum is one of my favorite gardens to walk. I think it represents nature well, with trees, prairie grass and other plants lining the path. Birds fly around you, landing on branches and singing their songs. It’s like taking a walk along a secluded lake area.
Fall brings the changing colors of leaves. This is Lisa’s favorite time of the year, so visiting places with lots of trees is a requirement. Lauritzen meets it. The park even has a sculpture of fallen leaves.
However, if you are dressed accordingly, take a walk through the gardens. While most of the trees are bare, and the flowers have long been gone, you can see other beauty.
You have the chance to see animals scampering about the gardens – squirrels and rabbits. Maybe, you’ll get a glimpse of a deer.
Then, as the weather thaws and spring comes again, the cycle continues.
Laurtizen is more than just flowers and gardens.
Last year, it was one of the few cities in the United States to host a collection of artwork built with Legos. From bison to a dragonfly, 27 pieces of artwork were displayed for a few months.
Earlier this year, Lauritzen hosted a collection of Chrysanthemums. The center looked beautiful with the different colors of the flowers. They were spread out among the water features and other plants.
Currently, the center is hosting its annual poinsettia show. There is a 20-foot high tree made from poinsettias. Poinsettias from more than 25 types are displayed from Thanksgiving weekend until early January.
The poinsettia show takes about five months to put together before the display is opened to the public. About 5,000 poinsettia plants are delivered to Lauritzen in July. The staff then cultivates them in the greenhouse.
For us, the coolest part of the gardens on this special weekend is the outdoor train display. Four trains travel through their own garden area. There are bridges above head, where people will look upward until they see one of the G scale trains come chugging through.
The train display opens in June annually and runs through the fall, until the weather dictates shutting down for the season. Trains run on their tracks past models of some of the local sites, including the UP building and the Desert Dome at the Henry Doorly Zoo.
So, please remember that while most people may think you can visit botanical gardens only during the warm months, you really can and should take advantage of the gardens throughout the year. You will not be disappointed.
For more information on Lauritzen Gardens, please visit the website at www.lauritzengardens.org.
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