Sunday, May 16, 2010
I’ve lived in Overland Park, Kansas since 1965 and I know for a fact, there are many reasons to be happy about living here. It is truly a lovely town that tries to keep her residents safe and happy. I love the old part of the town; historic Downtown Overland Park features the clock tower plaza and a statue of Overland Park City founder William Strang, as well as some fun shops, like The Tasteful Olive, Penzie’s Spices, The Olive Branch Gallery. The rest of this town of mine is loaded with great restaurants, huge theatre complexes, large shopping malls, lovely neighborhoods studded with many schools and churches ….all those things that make a town a great place to live.
Now, for my favorite part of Overland Park….just today I was re-introduced to the wonderful Arboretum and Botanical Gardens! I asked myself how I could let almost an entire year slip by without a walk through the Arboretum. This morning, after a good night’s sleep and absolutely nothing on the calendar for the day, I jumped in my car and headed south to 179th Street. Suddenly, there I was. I had returned to the winding paths through the gardens of the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
The thousands of trees were an intense mixture of greens and blues. The leaves were covered with drops of rain. The woodland areas were fragrant with the aromas of an old forest, moss, mushroom and more. I, of course, have a favorite tree there among all the others. It is a majestic old Sycamore, a painters dream of a tree. The native sycamore has a grand branch display and its bark is unique among all trees - you can always identify a sycamore just by looking at the bark.
Those same trees were home to thousands of birds. I watched as black and white woodpeckers dined at the side of their tree. I listened to the chirping of gold finches, as one stood guard while his mate ate at one of the feeders; I enjoyed the happy little faces of the chickadees as they flew from tree to tree as if playing a game. All of this from an extremely comfortable garden bench, placed there in memory of a local master gardener.
The favorite part of my day? Wolf Creek. I am a lover of creeks, rivers and lakes, but particularly creeks. Wolf Creek wanders through the Arboretum, sometimes gently meandering among the trees, occasionally rushing down gentle slopes lined with water loving plants, and then there is the song of the Wolf splashing happily over the rocks, as it cascades over the waterfalls. Yep, I could have stayed there all day.
Soon, it will be filled with artists easels, as local painters try to produce the winning painting of the Stems Plein Air competition. For information on the Stems event, go to www.opkansas.org/Events/Stems-A-Garden-Soiree
How long has it been since you took part in a soiree? Seriously, you need a good soiree every now and then. This is your chance.