About Ellen Park

Ellen Park

Ellen Park has been gardening ever since she discovered playing in the dirt was more fun than digging in the sandbox. In her blog, Road Trips for Gardeners, she covers the world looking for plant-centric events, flower shows, great gardens and places to see the best things growing.

Latest Posts by Ellen Park

Bonsai Visions of the West Event in Sacramento California

October 5, 2014 by  


california_sacramento_gsbsBonsai Visions of the West“, presented by the Golden State Bonsai Federation and the American Bonsai Society will be held October 30 through November 2, 2014, in the DoubleTree Hotel, Sacramento, California.

Headliners are Kathy Shaner, the first non-Japanese citizen to be certified by the Nippon Bonsai Kyodo Kumaii, the growers branch of the Nippon Bonsai Association; Peter Tea, who has been actively involved in bonsai at an advanced level for the past 11 years, and David de Groot, curator of Weyerhaeuser’s Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection since its inception in 1989.

Featured artists are Jack Sustic, curator at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, and Ted Matson, who manages the bonsai collections for The Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.

There will be both judged and open bonsai exhibits as well as critiques, workshops and seminars as well as a host of vendors.

(Photo courtesy of Golden State Bonsai Federation)

Bulb Planting Event in Wilmington Delaware

October 3, 2014 by  


tulips-orangeNow’s the time to think about spring flowers — the kind of spring flowers that burst forth from all the bulbs you’ve planted this fall.

Need a bit of instruction? If you’re in the mid-Atlantic early next month, consider scheduling a stop for a Hands-on Bulb Planting Workshop.

It’ll be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. November 7, 2014, in the Brown Horticulture Learning Center, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, 5105 Kennett Pike (Route 52), Wilmington, Delaware. Fee is $35.

Learn the basics of fall bulb planting through classroom and hands-on demonstrations. Winterthur has literally millions of bulbs and over the years our garden staff have developed techniques of planning and planting bulbs to maximize efficiency and create the best display. Participants will have the opportunity to try their hand at planting bulbs and will leave with a bulb selection to try in their own gardens.

(Photo ©2013 by Susan McKee)

The International Garden Festival in Northwest Portugal

September 8, 2014 by  


portugal_ponte-de-lima_jardinsThe 10th International Garden Festival: Ponte de Lima runs through October 31, 2014, in far northwest Portugal.

It’s not a short display: it started May 30, 2014. This allows for seasonal changes in the garden designs and a wide variety of special events.

The Cultural Arts of Japan Exhibit in Santa Ana California’s Bower Museum

September 4, 2014 by  


california_santa-ana_bonsai“The Bonsai Tradition: Cultural Arts of Japan” will be on exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. September 23 through 28, 2014, at the Bowers Museum, John M. Lee Court, 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, California.

It features bonsai trees shaped by members Kofu Bonsai Kai and special presentations. Dr. Thomas Elias speaks on “Viewing Stones of North America” at 1:30 p.m. September 27, and Dr. Kendall Brown discusses “Japanese Art Deco” at 2 p.m. September 28.

(Photo courtesy of Bowers Museum)

Glass Artist Dale Chihuly Has Sculpture Exhibition in Denver

July 12, 2014 by  


chihuly-dale_turquoise reedsBefore he’s done, glass artist Dale Chihuly will have had installations in every major botanical garden from coast to coast.

Now it’s Colorado’s turn. The Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, Denver, Colorado, has opened an exhibition of Chihuly’s sculptures on its 24-acre campus. The display opened earlier this month and continues through November 30, 2014.

Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from the realm of craft to fine art.

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.

In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.

His work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chihuly’s lifelong fascination for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. His Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. Chihuly exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, in 2005. Other major exhibition venues include the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2008; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011; and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in 2013. Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition, opened at Seattle Center in 2012.

Here’s a video about the installation in Denver:

(Photo and video courtesy of Denver Botanic Garden)

The Big, The Small & Not So Ugly Contest at the Minnesota Garlic Festival

July 5, 2014 by  


minnesota_garlic-festivalThe Big, The Small and The Not-So-Ugly Contest at the Minnesota Garlic Festival is for…garlic (not its growers). The growing, however, has to be done in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, South Dakota or Iowa.

There will be prizes for “best in show” and “smallest heads” overall, and prizes for the “biggest heads” in each of 10 garlic categories: Artichoke, Asiatic, Creole, Glazed Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Rocambole, Silverskin and Turban.

The judging — and the rest of the fest — takes place August 9, 2014, at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Minnesota, on August 9, 2014. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It’s all sponsored by the Sustainable Farming Association.

The Annual Flying Colors Butterfly Festival in Roswell Georgia

June 10, 2014 by  


The 15th annual Flying Colors Butterfly Festival was held on June 7 and 8, 2014, in the Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road Roswell, Georgia.  Attendees were able to take in “fluttering flowers” in a walk-through exhibit filled with hundreds of free-flying butterflies.

  • Butterfly Crafts and Face Painting – Crafts for adults and kids, who can also get their faces painted with beautiful butterflies and creepy caterpillars!
  • Butterfly Sidewalk Art – Butterflies provide the perfect inspiration for our on-going art project. Create a “butterfly path” from the Ben Brady Lakeside Pavilion all the way to the “fairy village!”
  • Fairy House Construction – Fairies are among us. Visitors were able to build a fairy house or gnome home during the Butterfly Festival. Fairy houses and gnome homes are made from nature objects for real and imaginary creatures.
  • Butterfly and Caterpillar Costume Parade – People were able to join in on a butterfly parade at the end of festival each day with grand marshal Ms. Chrysalis!
  • Kathy Walton of Steel Arts– Recycled steel whimsical yard art and sculptures!
  • Mary’s Garden Cottages– Butterfly puddlers, fairy and woodland cottages, toad houses, small planters & more!
  • The Eclectic Oddyssey + HAS Design– Eclectic environmentally friendly arts and crafts. Butterfly and insect jewelry, candles, coasters, tutus and so much more! Items are recycled, reused, all natural and/or humanely obtained.
  • Sweet Brown Sludge – Hair and skin care products that are hand made from all natural ingredients like aloe vera, brown sugar, marshmallow root and slippery elm extracts.
  • Handcrafted in Georgia – Walking sticks, butterfly wind chimes, dream catchers and handcrafted jewelry.
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area – Visitors could learn about the various butterflies found along the Chattahoochee River, how they are related, and about their life cycle! Take a Butterfly Checklist with you and start keeping a life list of the different species in the river’s corridor.
  • Webbington’s LLC – All Natural, low sugar, jams, jellies and preserves using raw honey and sugar for sweetness.


Photo credit: Jonathon Phillips.

Some of the Top Botanic Gardens in Scotland

June 5, 2014 by  


You might think that the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is its only location in Scotland. Nope. It’s just first among four, all in the southern part of Scotland.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, Scotland, is open daily (except December 25 and January 1). It was founded in 1670 as a physic garden (herb garden with medicinal plants) on a mall patch of ground at Holyrood Park no bigger than a tennis court. After intermediate stops, it moved to Inverleith in 1820 and is about a mile from the city center. There are more than 70 acres to explore.

The physic garden’s modern incarnation, the herbarium, is the subject of a tour at 2 p.m. March 14, 2014. Visitors will learn about the diversity and significance of the Garden’s collection of almost 3 million plant specimens. It’s part of the Herbarium Building’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2014.

By the way, if you’re headed to Scotland right now — it’s not true that nothing blooms in winter. The Edinburgh gardens have winter-flowering trees and shrubs such as Mahonia and the evergreen Christmas box, a bank of winter-flowering viburnums and a lawn surrounded by Chinese and Japanese witch hazels, which flower from about December to March.

Of course, the gardens come into their own in spring — first with snowdrop trees (Halesia carolina) and rhododendrons, and then with lilacs, primula and Himalayan poppies (Meconopsis).

*The Benmore Botanic Garden, Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland, is set within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the Argyll Forest Park, about seven miles north of Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula. A mountainside garden, it’s open daily from March 1 through October 31. (photo above)

Signature feature is its Victorian Fernery. The one at Benmore was built at the height of the Victorian craze for ferneries. Another highlight is the avenue of Sierra redwoods, a tree native to the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

*Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Near Peebles, Scottish Borders, is about 28 miles south of Edinburgh. An arboretum, it is open daily from February 1 through November 30.

The Swiss Bridge is the Garden’s defining landmark. On one side of the bridge is the Kalopanax, a tree member of the ivy family. Opposite is what’s believed to be one of the original Douglas firs at Dawyck. Upstream are the falls of Scrape Burn which is flanked by a cascade of snowdrops in spring.

*Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan, Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, is found at the southwestern tip of Scotland: 14 miles south of Stranraer in the Rhins of Galloway. (Note: Logan Botanic Garden is NOT the same place as Logan House Gardens.)

Warmed by the Gulf Stream, southern hemisphere plants flourish in the country’s most exotic garden. It’s open daily from March 15 through October 31 — plus Sundays in February. A walled garden, it includes cabbage palms, Chusan palms and tree ferns. The atmosphere on a sunny day is said to be quite tropical.

Photo credit: Garden Visit.com.

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