This morning I toasted myself a bagel, washed some strawberries, and took my time eating breakfast. While my tentative goal was to leave the house at 8:30am so I could get to the Botanic Gardens exactly at 9am, I put no pressure upon myself to ensure that was the time I left. So I ended up leaving at 8:50. I am both amazed and proud of myself that I didn’t feel any stress from leaving later than desired. I think there may be something to this solo travel. No big deal leaving “late” anyway, I cut across the park lawn instead of taking the sidewalks so the 30 minute walk Google told me turned into a 20 minute one.
I’d like to think that this experience in solo travel will actually make me a better travel companion in the future. This trip is reminding me that I don’t have to rush from place to place and that if something happens that wasn’t planned or I run into a hiccup, no problem, I can take the time to stop and come up with a new plan. I can also decide to change plans. I feel so free.
The Missouri Botanic Gardens are expansive and lovely. I spent 6 hours there and I’m sure I missed a thing or two. I might go back if I end up having spare time. My membership at Denver Botanic Gardens meant I got in for free at this one. Score!
I so enjoyed wandering the gardens. Lots of bumblebees buzzed and bumbled to my heart’s content. There was one bee species that was as large as my thumb, it was quite impressive. It moved a little too quickly for me to snap a good picture of but I still liked watching it. I also saw a gorgeous butterfly, lounging on a leaf, its wings spread out, showing off its “eyes”. And of course there were loads of other bugs. This place was full of them and they kept hitting my face. That’s what comes with warmer, wetter weather I suppose but it was a bit annoying.
The gardens also reconfirmed my love for hostas. I initially was going to plant hostas last year but my plan was a little too ambitious. Next year it is! The Missouri gardens LOVE hostas, they were pretty much everywhere but the rose garden. There was even a hosta garden. There is such a variety and I liked them all, they feel so magical and jungle-like to me. I took multiple pictures so I could remember which ones I liked best so I can make my own hosta garden.
A couple times throughout my time in the gardens I stopped at a bench and rested and read for a bit, because I could. The first bench I stopped at was pretty hidden, it was in the English Woodland Garden and it felt very whimsical. There were many flowers that called to me so I have an album of flower pictures now in hopes that some of these will grow well in Denver.
There was a demonstration area I really liked that had a variety of demonstration gardens and the signs for those plants gave information about the kind of light, water, and care requirements each plant had. What a great idea, I hope that the garden ends up switching all of its signs to include that info at some point. Granted, there are SO MANY plant signs in this garden I would understand if that never happened.
I had so much fun there. In the Japanese Garden I saw a cardinal and got really excited! How wonderful it is to see a bright red bird hopping a few feet away. We don’t have those in Denver so this was a treat. While strolling through a different part of the gardens I happened upon a cart that was FULL of succulents. I came across a tour group right as I passed it and learned that there are 30,000 succulents being planted in that section of the gardens. I was blown away.
I stopped in the cafe for lunch at one point and enjoyed a sandwich and soup. I took my time so I could gather more strength and then I headed back out for a few more hours, exploring the parts I had missed in the morning, including their tropical greenhouse. I found some blue bamboo in there that I adored, the bamboo stalks were as thick as my fist and the color was lovely. I keep playing around with the idea of adding bamboo to my backyard but I’m not sure how successful the plant will be, perhaps I’ll have to give it a try.
Eventually I was pretty tired and felt like I had seen most of the gardens so I headed back to my airbnb for a rest. When I felt ready to go out again I made my way to The Shaved Duck, a bbq restaurant that a redditor had recommended and that was only a 25 minute walk away. Whoever that redditor is, he had a great suggestion. All of the many food items I got were delicious but especially the pulled pork.
Turns out I don’t mind dining alone. I feel a tad special, even though no one pays me any mind, and I get to read while I eat, which is great. I enjoyed my dinner and my book and walked back home on a full, slightly extended stomach. My feet and body are tired after all the walking and sun I had today so I’ll sleep well tonight.
I sat out on the balcony earlier to look for fireflies but didn’t see any, I think perhaps this house isn’t in the perfect spot, as I didn’t see any nearby last night either, they were down a block. I’ll go out again before bed just in case but if I don’t see any tonight I’ll have to make it a point to go out looking for them tomorrow. They’re too rare and whimsical to only see them once this trip.