The nature walks I’ve discovered within 20 minutes of my home are tucked away in the most improbable locations. To get to some of them, you start and stop in traffic on horrendous city highways and roads. I’m thinking of Huntley Meadows, Woodland Plantation (Arcadia farm), and yesterday’s new discovery - Green Spring Gardens. Once you enter the parks, you’re surrounded by a quiet, serene, completely soundproof natural setting. Also worth nothing: There’s one park you can bike to through Old Town – Dyke Marsh.
I took the girls to Green Spring and we had a lovely stroll together on the groomed walkways through several of the center’s 20 demonstration gardens, woods, and around two garden ponds (where I saw a giant bullfrog spring off the edge, back legs comically sprawled out behind him.)
Nadja found the molted skin of a snake stuck to a rock along a stream. And then, a few minutes later, Ana yelped as she saw a live snake slither on the rocks into the water. She and I only glimpsed the snake, so we’re sure what kind it was – venomous or not! (The advice is to stay on the paths, so it’s entirely our fault if we were to get hurt along the rocks.)
When you come out from the forest, you’re greeted by a large expanse of lawn and a beautiful old manor in the distance. Green Spring dates from 1784 and the manor is now a museum with a gift shop. You can enjoy a formal English tea in the manor when you sign up for one of the center’s many events.
We took some time to cool off in the horticultural library and see if we could identify the snake we saw.
Then, we followed a sign for a “glass house” which led us to a greenhouse where we examined the epiphytes, cacti, and succulent gardens.
Back in the outdoors, Ana found a robin’s egg and Nadja spotted a bunny.
I marveled at a giant thistle on the way to the car.
What thing I loved about our visit was the lack of crowds. We saw a handful of other visitors, mainly couples walking their dogs. We had time to slow down, enjoy the quiet, hear our thoughts, and talk about this or that. Green Spring is indeed a wonderful respite. To sign up for adult activities or group activities for children, view the garden events page.