Monday, July 24, 2017

Idaho Botanical Garden

It was a bright, sunny and hot afternoon when we walked from the prison over to the gardens.  No shade to walk under anywhere.  Part of that walk was over the Outlaw Field.  Now that field is used for concerts,  back in the day it was used by the Outlaw prison team for baseball games.  The entrance to the garden did not look like much and we were at first hesitant to put out the money for the entrance fee.  The guard at the gate reassured us it would be worth our while.
Several days ago, at Twin Falls, I saw this beautiful flowering plant.  Has purple spikes on it with blue flowers on them.  Bees and butterflies love this bush.  No one could tell me its name.  Found the same plant at the gardens, and it had a label on it - blue flame sage.  What a beautiful name for such a  pretty flower!  Figured if nothing else I gained that from the garden.  However, the garden does have a lot more to offer.  It has English and Meditative Gardens.  As the prison and  gardens are surrounded by dessert, we were surprised to see such lush green areas
The sea holly bush in the English Garden, native to eastern Europe, is quite beautiful, fully in bloom now.
A section of the garden is devoted to the plants Lewis and Clarke found in their travels to the northwest, and are native to Idaho.  That was interesting.  Here I found the syringa bush, state flower of Idaho.  Unfortunately it is not in bloom now, so did not get a picture of it.  But I did get a picture of the creeping hummingbird trumpet flower which is fully in bloom now.
 In our travels we have discovered that many botanical gardens have their own unique features.  For the Idaho Botanical Garden it is their Firewise section of the garden.  If you live in this area the landscaping around your house should have three zones.  The first zone should be 0-30 feet plus from your house, and should have only firewise plants.  These plants have high moisture content, high soap or salt content, be low growing and non-resinous.   In zone 2 the plant density should be reduced, and have only the plants from zone 1.    That area should be 30 to 100 feet from the house.
Zone  2 is pictured above,  and pictured below are some of those plants, including the soapwort.  John did a bit of research and learned that the soap is in the bulb, a lather can be worked up with some rubbing.  Besides the soapwort, there are a variety of plants with that chemical in them.
Soapwort is the purple plant on the left side of the picture.  Next to it is the Arizona Sun Blanket which is non-resinous.  Both can be in zones one and two.  Zone three, 100-200 feet, from the house, can be most plants and trees, but they should be kept pruned and thinned out.
And finally, please note the hill off in the distance.  It has a cross on its top and at the base was a cemetery for the prison.  I walked near it, could see a few headstones- just did not last long out there because of the burning rays of the sun.

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