What Are You Doing Inside? It's Nice Out! Go Play!

Spring, Spring, Spring, beautiful, glorious, wonderful Spring is upon us. Cherry blossoms are getting ready to bloom, kites are tugging at their strings, baseball mitts are wondering when they are going to be oiled and Mother Nature herself is putting on her pastel togs just to show you a good time.

I know, you're still playing Lumines on PSP from last week but please, the whole point is that you can take it outside. So hit the pause button, grab it and go. We're off to the arboretum to see some beautiful flowers and sneeze. I mean exult in the marvel that is the vegetable world.

The Dallas Arboretum in Texas is about to wrap up something called Dallas Blooms. When you get tired of admiring the 2400 types of azaleas you can head go for a ride in a horse drawn carriage. If you're brave enough you can venture over to the Crow Pavilion Plaza and ask Maggie the Magnolia Tree if she gets tired of greeting visitors or if she digs it. If you're like me and have always wondered just what exactly clotted cream is like you will want to partake of the Spring Tea offered in the DeGolyer Tea Room. (Advance reservations required.) The website promises that scones with clotted cream and jam are always served during the dessert course. Always, that's right. If T-Rexes invade and eat Maggie the Magnolia Tree you can still somehow get your scones with clotted cream. Now that's service.

The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio bills itself as the biggest in the United States. The rhododendrons are just beginning their two month long blooming frenzy so you'll absolutely want to check them out. There are a wide variety of hikes and trails available, totaling more than twenty miles of possible routes. There are three hour guided tours including a wet walk through the Chagrin River. (I have to wonder if that is a walk that will embarrass you and you'll regret it later or if Chagrin has some other meaning here.) There are also some nice self-guided tours ranging from easy to rugged. You can see ferns and such when you take the Pierson Creek Loop. If you're terminally lazy, like me, there's a nice tram ride that lasts an hour. Sadly they don't start running until May so you'll have to walk around for a month while you wait for the tram to start.

The Arboretum at Flagstaff in Arizona opens today, April 1, 2005. Admission is free today and there are guided tours at 11 am and 1 pm. It's home to 2500 species of high elevation plants and more than 100 types of birds. It also has the world's largest Ponderosa Pine forest. The Bugs at Work program explains how insects and spiders are useful in all sorts of ways. When I was in college everyone used to joke about the elementary basket weaving classes. If I were you I would go back to the Arboretum on the 16th for the pine needle basket class and find out if they really are elementary.

The Huntsville Botanical Garden in Alabama is celebrating their Color Your World Spring Festival of Flowers. You can explore the herb garden, the vegetable garden, and the daylily garden or take a walk through the ferns. Explore the miniature railway and admire the 100,00 bulbs as they burst into color and beguiling scents. There are special month long events during the Festival like the scavenger hunt and the garden chats. There are also specific events scattered throughout the month of April. I can't quite decide if I would like the Saki and Sushi event with the Japanese dancers or the Mariachi and Margaritas event at the end of the month. I just know International Happy Hours was a stroke of pure genius.