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Thursday, March 1, 2018

SURROUNDED BY BEAUTY

 We all have our "thing."  That one thing you love to do and helps form your identity.  Personally, my "thing" is mountain biking....but it's not my only "thing."  There are so many interests and likes that make up who I am.  People who know me well are fuly aware that I'm a complete nerd when it comes to history and visiting historical sites.  I love to read (non-fiction).  I love to hike, camp, and just spend time outdoors.  Coincidentally, there are some passions I've outgrown...collecting comic books and (people who knew me prior to 10 years ago will find this unbelievable) watching football are two that come to mind.  Just as I've outgrown some things...I've also discovered a new "things" that bring me enjoyement.  Often, it's completely unexpected...like what I found out about myself when Robin and I went on our honeymoon to Montreal in 2013.


Robin and I at the top of the Montreal Tower observatory in Olympic Park.  Right below us, and to my left, is the Montreal Botanical Gardens.  -- July 28, 2013

The Montreal Tower observatory viewed from the Montreal Botanical Gardens. -- July 28, 2013.

Being a history and sports nut....the only things I knew about Montreal prior to our honeymoon is the role it played in 18th and 19th century North American conflicts, it was the site of the 1976 Summer Olympic games, and the home of the now defunct Montreal Expos.  On the third day of our honeymoon, we had plans to visit Olympic Park (which I was very excited about and Robin tolerated....she's amazing).  On the way there she mentioned to me that the Montreal Botanical Gardens was nearby and that she hoped to go there after we visited the Olympic facilities.  I will openly admit that I pretended not to hear her.  I had no clue what a "Botanical Garden" was...but I was pretty sure it had to do with flowers...and it wasn't something I ever envisioned myself visiting.

The first display I came across at the Montreal Botanical Gardens was from Madagascar.  I was hooked! -- July 28, 2013

Any doubts I had while walking to the Botanical Gardens after visiting Olympic Park were squashed completely as soon as we entered the gardens and were greated by beauty that was absolutely mind-blowing!  Robin and I just happened to visit while an exibit entitled Mosaiculture Internationales was on display...featuring more than fifty creations from 20 countries with the theme "Land of Hope."  The purpose of the exhibit was to raise awareness of the importance of preserving the beauty of life on Earth.  I took many pics that day as Robin and I traveled from county to county within the exhibit.  Here are a few of my favorites.


The exhibit "Mother Earth" from Canada was Robin's favorite. -- July 28, 2013

This exhibit was entitled "Nature in the City."  The phone I had at the time had a super cool filter on the camera that only captured blues. -- July 28, 2013

The United States was represented with the exhibit "Farmers.  The People Who Feed the World." -- July 28, 2013

A Canadian exhibit called "Meeting of the Four Nations." -- July 28, 2013

The exhibit "The Living City" used a ride share bicycle as part of the display. -- July 28, 2013

Another United States exhibit entitled "Fragile Frogs." -- July 28, 2013

"The Man Who Planted Trees" was another exhibit representing Canada. -- July 28, 2013
Representing Hiroshima, Japan..."A Dove For Peace." -- July 28, 2013

"A True Story" representing China. -- July 28, 2013


Visiting the Chinese Gardens in the Montreal Botanical Gardens. -- July 28, 2013

This quickly became a classic example of stepping out of a comfort zone and discovering something really, really cool.  I also had to acknowledge that I would never have stepped foot there if it wasn't for my amazing wife.  Ever since our honeymoon, one of the first things we look for when we travel to a new city is the local Botanical Garden.  Each time we visit one of these gardens she points out how much she loves being surrounded by beauty.   I never thought this would be something I'd love to do...but it is.  More specifically, I really enjoy visiting them with my wife.  It's become "our thing" to do.  Since my first visit to the Montreal Botanical Gardens in 2013, Robin and I have made them destinations on many of our trips...Surrounding ourselves in beauty everywhere we go.  Here are some of the pics I've taken on our visits to the different gardens.*
Enjoy!

DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN--PHOENIX, ARIZONA

On one of our visits to see my brother's family in Arizona, Robin and I went out of our way to visit the Desert Botanical Gardens.  I've lived my entire life in Pennsylvania and, to me, the desert landscape seems so surreal.

Robin and I at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona. -- February 17, 2015

Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona. -- February 17, 2015

My favorite pic from the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona. -- February 17, 2015


Say what you want...these are some really cool looking plants. -- February 17, 2015

Sizing myself up next to the Cacti in the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona. -- February 17, 2015

Yeah...I touched that.  Hurt like hell.  Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix Arizona. -- February 17, 2015

GARDEN OF THE GROVES--GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND

On our second wedding anniversary, Robin and I took a cruise to Grand Bahama Island.  For our excursion, we decided to check out the Garden Of The Groves Botanical Garden.

Robin and David Raymond.  Garden Of The Groves on Grand Bahama Island. -- July 22, 2015

Garden Of The Groves on Grand Bahama Island. -- July 22, 2015

Garden Of The Groves on Grand Bahama Island. -- July 22, 2015

Garden Of The Groves on Grand Bahama Island. -- July 22, 2015

Looking out for spiders at the Garden Of The Groves on Grand Bahama Island. -- July 22, 2015

Garden Of The Groves on Grand Bahama Island. -- July 22, 2015


UNITED STATES BOTANICAL GARDEN -- WASHINGTON, D.C.

For a birthday present, Robin took me to Washington, D.C. for the weekend.  I got to tour the U.S. Capitol, visit the National Archives, and spend time at the Jefferson Memorial.  In between all of the nerdiness, Robin and I made a stop at the United States Botanical Garden.

United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. -- October 1, 2016

United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. -- October 1, 2016

United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. -- October 1, 2016


UNC CHARLOTTE BOTANICAL GARDEN -- CHARLOTTE, N.C.

Every year, Robin and I spend the week after Thanksgiving at our timeshare in West Palm Beach, Florida.  We make the trip from Pennsylvania to Florida in our car and stay the night in a different city on the way down.  This past November, we stayed in Charlotte, North Carolina.  After breakfast, and before we hit the road, Robin and I toured the Botanical Garden at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.  We got to experience the beautiful colors of the late-season fall folliage.

Robin and David Raymond.  UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.



UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.

This plant is calld Flying Dragon Trifoliate Orange.  So cool looking!  UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens. -- November 26, 2017.

LONGWOOD GARDENS -- KENNETT SQUARE, PENNSYLVANIA

Happy birthday, Robin!  A few weeks ago, I surprised my wife with a weekend trip to Philadelphia which included at stop at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania to experience the Orchid Extravaganza!

Robin and David Raymond experiencing the Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018




Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

The clock and bell tower at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018

Yes!  A treehouse!  Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018




Bird watching from the treehouse at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. -- February 17, 2018


BARTRAM'S GARDENS -- PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

On Robin's birthday, we had a little time to kill before we went on a Ethnic Food Tour in South Philly.  I heard about a Botanical Garden right in Philadelphia called Bartram's Gardens.  We drove through a pretty sketchy neighborhood to get there...but I'm glad we made the stop.

Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. -- February 18, 2018

The oldest surviving Ginko tree in North America.  Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. -- February 18, 2018

Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson all enjoyed tea here at Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. -- February 18, 2018


Life is a journey...not a destination.



David A. Raymond -- March 1, 2018

*Botanical Gardens that Robin and I visit after I post this will be added to the bottom.  Be sure to come back  and check out other gardens that I know we will eventually get to!


Yes....I was pretty excited to see Olympic Park in Montreal.  Thanks, Robin, for tolerating it with me!  I love you! -- July 28, 2013

Here are the websites for the Botanical Gardens featured in this post...


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