Garden Glow in the Time of Construction

So many things in the last…almost two years?!?…have been different, and Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden is no exception, but not for the reason you might think…their big construction project has put a spin on how the event is taking place this year!

The biggest difference is at the start of the event. The entrance is through the temporary Visitors’ Center and Linnean House (the latter is the location of the Blizzard Bar which is usually at the tram shelter), and the big Christmas tree is in the Gladney Rose Garden, which is actually kind of a great location for it. The tree is a different style this year, too, which we really liked, and the topper is awesome!

A lot of stuff was the same, although the routing of the path for the first part of the displays was pretty different. The lights around the Central Axis and Climatron are always my favorites, and we got to see them first thing after the big tree!

There were some new things (like a new flower garden), and one notable admission (The 12 Days of Christmas), and many familiar favorites:

For some reason, I especially liked the hedge maze this year:

Another notable change comes right at the end, as the exit is routed through the Ottoman Garden. I don’t think that particular location has been open during Garden Glow before, and it was pretty cool to see some of the trees covered in lights as we said goodbye!

So, Garden Glow was a little weird this year. It was nice to have a different experience due to something other than COVID-19, though, and we liked the new additions…maybe they’ll keep them around!

2021-22 School Year–Outdoors Week!

I decided on a whim that this should be “Outdoors Week.” In addition to reading Little Women under the tree in our front yard, we participated only in activities that could be done outdoors, and I even came up with themes for each day!

Monday was “History and Nature.” We visited historic Concordia Cemetery in St. Louis and found C.F.W. Walther’s mausoleum. We also learned about his life and contributions to the Lutheran church in America.

Tuesday was “Art and Nature.” We went back into the city to walk around the Missouri Botanical Garden and Forest Park, and sketch some of the beautiful things we saw:

Wednesday was “Fitness and Nature.” We finally got back to the tennis court for the first time since before the pandemic began, and we also did a fitness course on a local walking trail.

Thursday was “Exploration and Nature.” We took a five-mile walk down some trails we’ve never used before, and also tried to identify some of the trees we saw along the way based on their leaves, pods, and nuts.

And today we took it easy, and ended the week by watching Little Women (the Winona Ryder version, because it’s my favorite), since we finally finished the book. We’ll get back to our regular work next week, but this was a really fun way to spend the first week of November!

The Ottoman Garden–August

For the second year in a row, I’m abandoning my “Mobot Through the Year” photography project, because for the second month in a row, the Ottoman Garden has been closed to visitors, and the best I could do was sneak a photo of the construction from the side of the (wrong for my pictures) gate:

I’m really bummed about this. Last year, everything was messed up, and while I wasn’t happy about giving up my project, at least it was understandable. But this year is just annoying…I was really looking forward to capturing the beauty of this space as fall approaches. To be honest, I don’t know what I’m going to do next year. I definitely will not be hoping that the “third time’s the charm” with the Ottoman Garden, because I know a cursed endeavor when I see one. But after two completely disappointing years, I’m not sure I have the heart to try somewhere else, either. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens when 2022 dawns!

Summer School 2021

It seemed like the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics would never get here, and now they’ve already come and gone. Here’s a look back at our Japan-themed summer school.

We visited Origami in the Garden at the Missouri Botanical several times over the summer. The large-scale art installation was the perfect field trip to coincide with Tokyo 2020 (and was also postponed from last summer).

We also visited the Olympic Spectacular in St. Louis at Francis Field, home of the 1904 Summer Games:

I made a few fun treats for the Olympics…Olympics torches (white chocolate covered pretzels) and Team USA CHEERios treats.

We did a lot of cooking and tried a lot of Japanese foods. I worked really hard to find things we hadn’t had before, and used a variety of cooking methods and unfamiliar ingredients. We tried:

  • Spicy Ramen/Udon
  • Pork Gyoza
  • Coffee Jelly
  • Okonomiyaki
  • Matcha Mochi Cake
  • Vegetable Tempura
  • Potato Korokke
  • Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake
  • Kani Cream Korokke
  • Chicken Katsu Sandwich
  • Matcha Green Tea Cookies
  • Oyakodon

We were supposed to go out to a Japanese restaurant this summer, but COVID-19, so we got a party platter of sushi instead:

I’ve been holding on to the Lego Architecture Tokyo skyline since last year, and we finally got to build it!

Our American Girl dolls got into the Olympic spirit:

In between watching as much of the Olympics as we could, we also did some more traditional school work. We learned about Japanese history and culture, as well as the history of the Olympics. We read a lot of books…some I read out loud, and some were book basket choices. We also watched a selection of Olympic documentaries:

  • FirstLondon 2012
  • The Everlasting FlameBeijing 2008
  • Atlanta’s Olympic GloryAtlanta 1996
  • 16 Days of GloryLos Angeles 1984
  • Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory
  • Seoul 1988

And we also did several crafts, including origami, paper lanterns, Koinobori (Japanese carp windsocks), pipe cleaner and tissue paper cherry blossom branches, and medals (of course!):

I’ve been holding on to Ticket to Ride: Japan since last year, and we finally had a chance to play! I really enjoyed the new game mechanics introduced in this edition, and it was fun to get to know the geography of the area a little bit better.

We updated our medal chart every evening…here’s a look at the final results…we were very excited that the US won the gold medal race and had the most medals overall!

And, better late than never, our Family Olympics, which was delayed due to heat. We only had four events this year (frisbee throw, broad jump, soccer kicks, and a running race), thanks to time constraints and a lack of basketball hoops on the backboards we normally use. Technically, Turkey came in first, but since we participate as a family, we all won gold!

This summer school was a long time coming. I think we all still have mixed feelings about the fact that the Olympics were held at this time, but we had to just accept that that was out of our control, and embrace the Olympics as we usually do. It’s always hard to say goodbye when they extinguish the flame, but the Winter Olympics are less than six months away, and we only have to wait three more years for Paris 2024!

The Ottoman Garden–July

My plan to photograph the Ottoman Garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden every month isn’t turning out so well (although I’m still doing way better this year than I did last year!).

Hopefully, they’ll finish whatever they’re working on in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll have some decent pictures in August!

A Rainy Morning at the Missouri Botanical Garden

We stopped at the Missouri Botanical Garden this morning so I could take the latest pictures in my “MoBot Through the Year” photo series of the Ottoman Garden. The whole visit kind of ended up being a comedy of errors, because we discovered the Ottoman Garden is temporarily closed for construction, and even though the weather was supposed to be clear, it started raining on us, and didn’t stop the whole time we were there. The rain did make for some good pictures, though!

The garden is really pretty in the rain…I just wish I had brought an umbrella!