Pudge 2bJanuary 31, 2008

This may be more of a 'conversations' type thread, but I think that any gardener who travels is going to be very interested in checking out the flora and fauna of the region. I also suspect that many cold zoners tend to get away from the cold for a week or two in the winter. I rarely have a conversation with anyone without it leading to who's going where this winter. I know of a number of people visiting Hawaii this year, which is somewhere I'd love to go see.

We've never traveled in winter but my family is planning a Las Vegas trip at Easter so I'll be going to see that area for the first time. I'm really looking forward to it - I haven't traveled in the US, aside from driving thru the northern states, and have never seen desert and all that has to offer. Not being a gambler, I'm looking for some other interesting sights, preferably garden or nature related, to see while we're there. We'll have a car rental and will be driving out to some areas. Looks like an interesting garden at the university, as well.

Anyone else been on or planning a winter trip? Do you check out specifically garden/nature related sights?

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We were in Las Vegas at the end of November. My DH had a course at one of the hotels on the strip. So, while he was at his course, I wandered the hotels and through the outlet stores, shopping for Christmas gifts for our kids and, of course, for a few things for myself. It was interesting looking through the stores in the Vegas Strip hotels since most of them are the expensive stores like Gucci and Rolex. The casinos, which you will notice when you get to Vegas, will be the first area in each hotel that you have to go through in order to get to the registration desk or to go to all the stores. I also don't gamble and so found the straight-through-to-the-other-side-of-the-casino walkway.

Some of the hotels on the Strip had nicely landscaped areas. This one had landscaped the whole pool area.

The rose garden in front of this hotel was in full bloom.

One hotel had a beautiful display of orchids.

The Wynn golf course was very pretty.

As far as Las Vegas gardening goes,... on the strip...I noticed that the grass at the Wynn golf course was real while the 'grass' in front of the Wynn hotel is actually indoor/outdoor carpet. (shaking head!!). Makes you wonder when they spend all that money on building a hotel and then to put carpet on ground around the flowerbeds. Yuck!

If we were to ever go back we would also rent a car to go outside of the Strip to see the natural beauty of the area. After a while you get tired of seeing man-made beauty. Apparently the tour to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon is quite something also.

We will not be going anywhere on holidays until at least fall, since my DH's engineering consulting business is into full swing, with construction already starting for the year.

Let us know what you did while in Las Vegas, Pudge. Hope the weather is good for you.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

You'll love it, pudge!
Wish everyone has the opportunity to go away one's in a while in the winter.
I usually check if there is a local botanic garden....been fortunate, we visited 2 of them in Colombia, south America, [first time] between Christmas and new year, [wedding]

Perhaps you have time to go to the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park, or Arches National Park, Monument Valley etc.

Been in Vegas twice, the last time about 14 years ago, the first time on my honeymoon, camping in a hotel campground.
I'm not a gambler myself but had to pull down the slot machines for a while LOL.

Have fun!

Lovely pictures Brenda!

From Colombia..
This was at the reception, up on a hill, surrounding Bogota [Capital] at about 9000 feet elevation.

Botanic Garden..

Some other snapshots..

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 12:07AM
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luv2gro(z3a AB)

Funny you should post this, Pudge. I'm just now planning a one week trip to Phoenix at the end of March. I stayed up until 4 AM this morning looking at the botanical attractions. Although not a huge fan of succulents, I'm delighted to be able to go and see all that grows there in it's natural habitat. And, from what I could gather, the end of March beginning of April is when the desert is in full bloom. All those cactii flowers. Should be really cool to see! I'm getting excited. I was also trying to decide whethe I want to try to go on a desert horseback trail ride or take the easy way and go ballooning across the desert and see all of the blooms from the air. Pros and cons to both of them but I think that the thought of a really sore bottom at my age is going to win and we'll go ballooning.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 1:41AM
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Shauna, your ballooning idea brought back memories of our trip to Florida last Feb. My girlfriend and I went to Soarin' while our DHs went golfing. It is a new ride at Epcot where you feel as if you are on a glider and glide over all kinds of cities, deserts, jungle, country, etc. Once you get over the feeling of being up in the air it is quite enjoyable. So, if you can go in a balloon, do it! Bring your camera and post pictures later for us all to see too! Of course, being in the desert on horseback would give you closeup pictures of the cacti blooming.

The second summer we lived here on the acreage, someone landed a hot air balloon in the field next to us on Father's Day and had an early morning breakfast out there. Our cocker spaniel was so scared of the sound of the hot air balloon that she ran away from our place, hid in the valley/bush and showed up a few hours later at our neighbors.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:04AM
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luv2gro(z3a AB)

Yeah, I think it would be a life memory to go ballooning across the desert. My girlfriend and I are going together. DH doesn't want to go because he thinks it's not a holiday to go to another city. My DS is going to be playing lacrosse there against a bunch of other high schools and they will have one game after school on all of the weekdays. So, there's going to be plenty of time for shopping, too. And, they're planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, too. So we can tag along on that or go ourselves.

Haven't been to Vegas for about 15 years but I would love to go back. Almost went on a trip there at the end of Feb. this year but that didn't work out so it's Phoenix instead. I loved Las Vegas and DH and I rented a car. We went to the Hoover Dam (DH is an engineer, too) and I slept in the car when we got there. So, he wandered around looking at it. For me, it was one of those"Yup, that's neat, dear . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzz . . ." things but I enjoyed the drive out there and the dam IS spectacular. I was just tired. And, it's definitely worth renting a car, even for a day or two, to see the sites. I'm the type that is fascinated by the architecture, faux or real, and all of the special and visual effects. So, the strip is right up my alley. We aren't big gamblers, either.

Terrific pictures, Brenda and Konrad. I hope I get some good ones, too.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:14AM
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Pudge 2b

I've never gone on a balloon ride - kind of a scaredy cat when it comes to heights, but I've always thought a balloon ride would be something I'd like to try.

Nice pics, Brenda. I've been reading about attractions on the strip and in the hotels, certainly plenty! I suspect the artifical grass has something to do with the need to constantly water it and the abundance of pedestrians always in the area.

Those are certainly some beautiful photos, Konrad. I'm guessing the hot pink vine is Bougainvillia (sp?) but does anyone know or want to venture a guess on the red/orange hedge?

I'm hoping there will be cactus blooming in Nevada the end of March, but even seeing them in their natural setting (as opposed to my little cactus dish garden) will be enough for me. I think we're going to drive out to Red Rock Canyon area for some sightseeing.

So, no one enjoying Mexico, Hawaii, Cuba, etc this winter?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 11:41AM
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I was in Las Vegas on a 4-day weekend at the end of March, some years ago. The Nevada desert is much drier than the Sonoran desert in southern Arizona, so while the Sonoran desert is actually quite lush with giant cacti (like saguaro, organ pipe, sonoita) and lots of bushes and small trees, the Nevada desert (is that the Mohave desert?, can't remember) has much sparser vegetation -- grass and scrub, lots of open ground and rock, and some cactus. I quite liked it for its somewhat barren beauty.

If you can get out of town for even just a bit, definitely check out Valley of Fire state park, a bit east of Las Vegas. The rocks formations are cool and there were a fair number of daisy-like flowers and brittlebrush in bloom at the end of March. A few prickly pear just coming into bloom too.

If you have more time, it's a good time of year to visit Death Valley. We went on an overcast day, with the temperature around 16 celsius. It was much more barren than around Las Vegas, but there were some small plants in bloom... mostly you go there for the barren landscape though. They also have a cool parasitic plant (dodder) that grows all over the other plants there -- looks like orange threads (has no leaves and no chlorophyll). Kind of creepy really. We went there and back in one day, but it was a pretty long drive, didn't get back to L.Vegas until about 9 or 10 at night.

Anyway, here's a few pics so you'll have a bit of an idea what to expect. First, here's a scenery shot from Valley of Fire:

Here's brittle brush in bloom, Valley of Fire:

Here's a prickly pear cactus in Valley of Fire, just coming into bloom (these weren't common, but they are there):

And finally, a view down the highway in Death Valley:

Have a good trip!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 6:15PM
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Husband and I met while we were both living in Hawaii (Oahu). It's so funny, but I have no desire to go back. There are so many gorgeous gardens and areas on the island. DH used to work on a golf course there. But, it's always "contained" area, there is no wide open untouched natural fauna on the island. It's very small and really crowded. If I were to go on a vacation to Hawaii now, I'd definitely go to one of the other islands and avoid Oahu at all costs, the big island would probably be the one I'd want to go to. Maybe it's just the Alaskan in me, but I just can't breath without some wide open spaces around, haha.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 7:19PM
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"I just can't breath without some wide open spaces around" LOL ronniroo, you should visit southern Saskatchewan then! :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 7:49PM
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Pudge 2b

Thanks for posting the pics, Donn. I also like wide open spaces and being able to see for miles and miles. Throw in some warm weather, plants and interesting rock formations and hey, I'm in heaven. I'm really starting to look forward to the trip. With today's -47C wind chill, I'm kinda wishing I could leave today. My brother and SIL are leaving today for 3 weeks in Hawaii - certainly a nice day to get out of the province.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 11:50AM
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I love wide open spaces too. When I went to university in Edmonton, I used to drive to the edge of town and look down the railroad tracks when I got too antsy. I love our hill because of the view. I can see clear to the mountains to the west, and about 20 miles away to the south and east - I have to go out of the house though, we have too many trees. The furthest I've been in years was High Level (too many trees - can't see very far) but I did get lost in Buchart gardens during our motorbiking years. I could have stayed there all day.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 1:19PM
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We're celebrating the big 40 this May and I finally convinced DW get on an airplane so we're off to Hawaii, big island on March 8 for a couple of weeks. All the pictures here are making me more anxious. Thanks for sharing everyone.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 1:41PM
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Pudge 2b

Well I'm back from Vegas and yes, I did love it. I kinda wish we had stayed a little longer - just a few days on the strip is fine but throw in shopping and time off the strip to see some other stuff and it just didn't seem long enough.

The weather could not have been more beautiful - just a tad toasty in the late afternoon. Not a cloud in the sky and barely a breeze - scrumptious.

We took a drive out to Red Rock Calico Basin not very far from the edge of the city. Here I did get to see the desert plants in their natural setting.

Some cactus -

And the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) was in bloom. Interesting reading about this tree here

The rock formations & colouring just blew me away

I didn't know burros were wild there

We also went to the University of Nevada Las Vegas - it's not too far away and there is an approximate 2 acre area that is landscaped with plants for desert garden. The whole campus is beautifully landscaped.

(Just missed the blooms on these)

There were also a number of shrubs in bloom or just coming into bloom, and some roses were just starting. Here's a pic of Redbud in bloom.

I'd really recommend both areas for anyone who wants to look at something other than flash, fake rock and structured plantings. I'd love to go back to the area again - perhaps not Vegas but somewhere there that a person could hike & do some birdwatching would certainly interest me.

(Oh, and I'm a little poorer from time spent at the slots - my biggest win was $75 on a penny machine and that got eaten up at some other machines)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 9:04PM
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Great photos, Pudge! What fantastic plants the desert grows. Thanks for the trip, but I really could've used some of that sun and heat, too :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 12:14AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This is lovely, Pudge!
I'm glad, you had a good time, the weather cooperated and bringing back memories one never forgets.
Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures with us!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 10:54PM
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discount hotel rates. Cheap hotels in Philadelphia, Manila,Seattle...Review

Here is a link that might be useful: discount hotel rates

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 3:25PM
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