Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Old West Roadtrip - South Dakota

South Dakota was the last state on our trip out west. One might wonder what there is to see or do in South Dakota . . . since it's not one of those states on most people's bucket list. Let me tell you . . . if you ever get the chance to visit South Dakota . . . DON'T pass it up! Not only is there Mount Rushmore but there is the Black Hills and the Badlands, and plenty of beautiful scenery throughout the state.

I was surprised to see milkweed growing throughout Mount Rushmore National Memorial Park. I guess the government is getting serious about helping Monarch butterflies.

I was also surprised to see that the park had a natural landscape. Native grasses and wildflowers were growing everywhere. Absolutely, no manicured landscapes or lawns anywhere to be found.

I liked the "natural look" and was glad to see that times are a changing. Now if only we could see more of this in Florida. Just imagine how the insects must love taking cover in these grasses, sipping nectar from the wildflowers.  

Now, on to the BEST part, at least for me, of South Dakota - - the Badlands!! What a spectacular place. Wide open prairie land . . . as far as the eyes can see . . . covered in beautiful native grasses and wildflowers. What a feast for the eyes!!!

Forgot to mention there's also ROCK and plenty of it. Here's another variety of native grass. I believe I read that they have something like 23 varieties of native grasses.

The photos of the prairies that follow will look as though each has been landscaped, but it is all growing naturally. It is an absolutely stunning portrait of nature's unique and diverse beauty!


As a gardener, I was fascinated by the prairie. My idea of gardening has been changing in the past years, with a lean toward a more natural type of home landscape. So, needless to say, the wheels in my head were churning and turning as I stored idea after idea into my brain. Look at this adorable grass! 

Sunflowers grow wild alongside the roads.

 Oh, and don't forget about the ROCK. It's not that gorgeous red color . . . it's a soft shade of sand with some shell pink blended in. And the grasses contrasted with the color of the rock is perfect. Each one enhancing the beauty of the other.

Morning glories weaving themselves through the grasses.

Not sure what I envisioned when I thought of the Badlands, but I definitely never expected them to be this beautiful.

An added bonus were the Big Horn Sheep that graze on the prairies.

Another variety of native grass in bloom.

Another stunning wildflower fitting in perfectly.

The vast vistas of the west are truly amazing.

More beautiful grasses. It reminds me of a landscape painting.

These rocks look like ancient sand castles that would wash away from a rain shower.

A little more color ~ warm terracotta and buttery yellow ~ at the base of these hills


Our trip is over and it's a long road home, but we will always have wonderful memories of the West.

The world is a beautiful place!

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Old West Road Trip - Idaho/Wyoming

On our way from Utah to Wyoming we traveled through the southeastern tip of Idaho on the Pioneer Historic Byway. It was a stretch of  a scenic country highway that ran through small western towns and farmland.

We ended our day with a fun white water raft trip down the Snake River. The next two days we enjoyed the natural pristine beauty of  Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

Look at the size of the dandelions.

Pretty view of Mount Moran (one of the Tetons). It was clear enough to see the snow at the top.

Jenny Lake

 And, of course - Old Faithful!

Here's pics of a couple of the hot springs, geysers, mud pots and steam vents. Each one different with some amazing colors.

Old Faithful Inn can be seen in the distance.

This was a beautiful ending to our 1st day in Yellowstone as we headed back to our hotel. Sunset over Grand Tetons.

On our second day back in Yellowstone it was overcast with a few showers. However, it didn't dampen the beauty nor our spirits as we looked forward to another day in this wondrous land.

It didn't take long before we spotted this big fella as he decided to cross the road. Totally awesome!

Mother Nature sure knows how to create a beautiful vignette. Don't you think?

We ventured up the east side of Yellowstone into Hayden Valley in search of more wildlife.

 Upper Falls at Artist Point. Isn't this place MAGNIFICENT? 

The more I see of Yellowstone the more thankful I am that this place has been preserved for all to see.

Lake Yellowstone - the color difference is from a geyser flowing into the lake. You can see the steam off to the left of the photo.

A beautiful variety of wildflowers can be seen everywhere, and I am thoroughly enjoying them.

Look how intricate this little wildflower is. It's indescribable!

A rebirth of the land after forest fires have raged through this area. Nature is truly amazing! 
Lake Yellowstone is visible over the tree tops.
 Yellowstone has captured my heart and soul! I do not want to leave!
As we drive the last few miles out of Yellowstone, I find myself making plans for the day when I will return.

The drive on to our hotel in Cody through the Shoshone National Forest proved to be a continuation of the beauty of Yellowstone. Absolutely, breathtaking scenery!!

 Shoshone River

Sorry that this post was so long but Yellowstone is so beautiful and it was hard to pick and choose photos. Onward to South Dakota!!

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