Brief Sojourn to the Other Coast

While Ms. Country Mouse and Mr. Wood Rat were on a well-deserved outing to Asilomar, Mr. Mouse and I went further afield and finally took a long overdue weekend trip to see Mr. Mouse's mother in Florida. Just as last time, I was quite stunned by how different the landscape looked. Very flat. Very spread out. Swampy. And again Ms. Mouse Sr. had planned a wonderful little outing for us, this time to Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce on the Treasure Coast.

The garden is not large, but has a lot to offer. Above, a picture of a small waterfall in the Japanese garden, which holds the first of several hundred Bonsai that will eventually grace the garden. For now, the garden had several garden rooms with different themes such as ferns, a butterfly garden, and Florida native plants. I was especially taken by the tiled benches in many places, wonderful to rest and just enjoy the peaceful green oasis.

I also enjoyed other garden art, such as this wooden heron.

And this colorful sculpture mirroring the bamboo right behind it. It looked as if children had painted the poles, and I imagined how much fun that must have been.

I didn't make as many pictures of the plants as I might have because I know so little about them. But I was so impressed by the lush foilage.

I also very much enjoyed this reflection pool, which had the water going into a vortex in the middle. Regrettably, the rest of my party likened the effect to that of a toilet. Which shows again that different people can react to the same thing in different ways.

But we were all excited to see this tiny snake, less than 1/4 inch thick and maybe 4 inches long, black with a bright orange necklace.

Most amazing were the bromeliads, and I could have spent quite some time making more photos. I wished, in a way, I had brought my sketch book. But we had dinner reservations and the gardens were soon to close, so we got back into the car, hoping to return one day, after the expansion of the garden is complete.


Randy Emmitt said…

Your snake is a Ring-necked Snake, we have them here under rocks and stuff, digging in the garden during warm weather one can find them too. Loved the vortex pool!
Ooh, I see someone already IDed your ring-neck snake. I made the mistake of picking one up once while we were on a hiking trip -- it skunked me (worst worst worst smell ever). The dog we were with thought it must be ambrosia (I couldn't wash it off, even when I tried scrubbing my hands with sand from a nearby stream). Beautiful snake, though.

I know what you mean about feeling out of place looking at plants I don't know. It's sort of like looking at people I don't know. They seem nice enough, but I'd rather hang out with my friends.
Alice Joyce said…
Aah, what a wonderful tour/visit!
Thanks for taking me along, despite the snake sighting;-)) No, really, they don't bother me.
Love the bench, but you knew I would.
And herons are as magical as trilliums, in my book.
Country Mouse said…
You gave me a good chuckle with your vortex comment. Especially good because it's so true. I love chaparral - but some people find it ugly! Just imagine! I also agree not knowing the flowers can make a big difference in the level of appreciation (a fact linked to the vortex comment too!)

We see those little ring-necked snakes too sometimes. I didn't know they could make a stink! Enjoyed my break reading your post!
That Ringnecked snake looks quite similar to the Pacific Ringnecks we see here on the property, except they have more orange to go with their black. I love the tiled benches, they look very inviting, but I must admit, that's the first time I've seen a vortex in a water feature. It's pretty, but it is reminiscent of when someone pulls the plug out of the bath water! Glad you had a fun trip!
luvarugula said…
Loved the vortex pool. i remember there was a bigger one at UCLA, called the inverted fountain. of course, it seems to invite any and all sorts of toilet comments. love going to botanical gardens. always appreciate when the plants are labelled, however, especially with family name.
Christine said…
Wow, I love Eliza's comment- so true! I agree that the vortex pool is amazing- reminds me of a mandala. Such an adventure to discover new plants and things! It makes you pay more attention to texture and composition than "Oh, they paired a thingie with a whoozit?...Interesting."
Love that vortex pool. And, that bench! I really should be making use of free time in winter to paint up some cool things for the garden...
A toilet?! Oh how rude! I love the water feature!

I know what you mean about feeling out of place because of not recognizing the plants. Likewise, I remember a trip to Hawaii where looking up into the sky showed me a sky that I didn't begin to recognize. Plants, planets, stars, they all help us find home.
Barbara said…
I love the tiled bench. Florida seems to have quite a number of worthwhile gardens to visit. Thanks for taking us along.