Franklin Park Conservatory Annual Orchid Show

It’s back and we couldn’t be happier!  The annual orchid show at the Franklin Park Conservatory is back and will be here for your viewing pleasure until March 7, 2021.   While I’m not sure what the theme is this year, it is an ideal respite from the cold and snow to be immersed in this tropical explosion of color, fragrance and beauty that the orchids bring.

Franklin Park Conservatory, entry, orchid exhibit, columbus Ohio

This is an exhibit for all ages that I look forward to each and every year.  I particularly look forward to seeing if they have on display any new species and to take in the amazing fragrance of those orchids that smell like chocolate.  Oh yes!

The most well known orchids – the Phalaenopsis/ Moth Orchids

Phalaenopsis orchids


Cypripedium/Lady Slipper Orchids

lady slipper orchids

lady slipper orchid

Cymbidium/Boat orchids

Boat orchids, Cymbidium, Franklin Park Conservatory

Orchids are just so amazing in the many colors, scents, shapes and sizes they come in.  Here are two beautiful examples that I did not get the names of.

Please view the conservatory’s  health and safety policies and admission prices listed here before planning a visit.  They request that you reserve your arrival time and tickets online so that they can monitor capacity but I have observed people arriving without reservations and be let in depending on how many were already in attendance.    Hours are from 10 to 5pm daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas when it is closed.  The gift shop is open from 10 to 5pm also but the garden cafe is only open from 11 to 3pm.

Welcome back orchids!





Schumacher Gallery – Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement and #ArtUnitesCbus Exhibits

The Schumacher Gallery at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio is  hosting an amazing exhibition titled “Danny Lyon: Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement” from January 18 to March 27.   These deeply touching photojournalism images are by photographer Danny Lyon who started his photography career in the early 60’s as a staff photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a national group of college students who joined the civil rights movement after the first sit-in by four Black college student at a North Carolina lunch counter.

Lyon traveled the South and Mid-Atlantic regions capturing from 1963 to 1964  the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement as it happened – as it was!  In this exhibit you will see the realities of life and the movement then from separate water fountains and entrances to sit-ins and some early images of Civil Rights icons such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis;  look for the photo of Bob Dylan the singer.

This is an important and powerful bit of history for all to see.  It is a reminder of what was, how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

A wall of Civil Rights history

Colored Only Cab Service – 1964

Schumacher Gallery, Danny Lyon, Civil Rights Movement, John Lewis

John Lewis – Cairo, Illinois 1963

danny lyon, schumacher gallery, civil rights movement

Teenage girls arrested and kept in stockade with no facilities for protesting – 1963

Also included in this event are photos  from the winners of the Greater Columbus Arts Council #artunitescbus that covered the Black Lives Matter protests in Columbus.  I am honored to say that my work is part of this exhibit.

Danny Lyon photos leading to the Art Unites Cbus exhibit

Art Unite Cbus Black Lives Matter protest images and sign

Art Unites Cbus, Black Lives matter protests,

Art Unite Cbus Black Lives Matter protest images and sign

The images I’ve shown here are just the  tip of the iceberg; there is  much more to view and take in. This exhibit is free and open to the public.  The Schumacher Gallery is located on the fourth floor of the Blackmore Library at Capital University located at 1 College and Main,  Columbus, Ohio 43209; parking is on the street.  Due to Covid regulations it is best to check the university website at  for updated hours or to make an appointment to view the exhibits.   For more information call 614-236-6319 or email the curator David Gentilini at  Entry into the library for the gallery is by a QR code which is posted at the door.


Franklin Park Conservatory Holiday Exhibitions

My last visit to the conservatory located in Columbus, Ohio was right before the world went into lock down so it was so nice to be able to  go there again.  I felt like I was visiting an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and in actuality that is the truth.  I’ve gone several times a year every year since moving to Ohio a decade ago.  It’s always an extra joyous time to visit in December when they make their magic with plants and decorations along with the gingerbread houses which are on display now until the end of December.

The houses are grouped into adult, family and youth divisions; visitors vote for the grand prize winner.  This impressive bit of construction is  the adult division winner.

gingerbread house, franklin park conservatory, ohio

The holiday blooms display runs until January 10th with all of the seasonal decorations and the amazing displays of hundreds of beautiful and unique poinsettias including the traditional 10 foot poinsettia tree.  Sorry that I do not have that image to share as it was often the prop for families taking photos and I didn’t want to disturb them.  The conservatory displays are always so beautiful with such attention to detail.  I wish my holiday decorating skills were even half as good!

Franklin Park Conservatory Christmas Tree

They have on display some poinsettias in colors and shapes that I’ve not seen before to accompany the solid red ones we all are accustomed to.

Poinsettia Red Glitter

Red Glitter

Premium Lipstick Pink

Princettia Pure White

Autumn Leaves

Winter Rose Early Red

A trip to the Holiday Blooms display at Franklin Park Conservatory is just the thing for a bit of beautiful, colorful cheer and tranquility; a seasonal delight.  For more information about the conservatory and all of their exhibits including health and safety measures, ticketing, hours of operation and how to get there – click here and here.

Seasons Greetings Everyone!


Fantasy of Lights

This year with so many things having been cancelled, closed or very limited it’s nice to see one tradition still going strong.  Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights has for over 21 years been lighting up the holidays.  It’s a three mile drive thru (social distancing at it’s best) light show located at Alum Creek State Park Campground in Delaware County, Ohio.  It is open nightly at 5:30pm every day until January 3, 2021.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate and the price ($22.97 on weekdays and $33.46 on the weekends)  is per car load; no refunds or restrooms.  The little ones especially love the lights and I am sure their parents are just happy to be out of the house nowadays.  Because of Covid restrictions and with safety in mind, on the weekends there may be limits to the number of cars allowed in at a time as those days are their most crowded.    They ask that you call or check their Facebook page before coming.  There is a Santa’s House and gift store less than a minute from the light display which is operated independently from the Fantasy of Lights.  If interested in visiting there please check their website first here.

To read more about Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights, check out their hours or buy tickets click here.

(Note: All photos shown here were taken on my visit in 2017 as I’ve been unable to get there this year but I did want to share that they are open and ready for visitors.  Some of the light displays shown here may or may not be there this season but there will still be plenty to see.)

Fantasy of Lights, Delaware Ohio

Fantasy of Lights, Ohio


Summer Spray

Columbus, Ohio is just overflowing with so many talented artists in so many genres and there is always someplace somewhere where art is being created or shown.  Because of Covid-19 this year, art and other events that normally would have had hundreds and hundreds of attendees have been cancelled.  And while that is very disheartening (hoping so much that things will be back in 2021) it has not stopped art from being created such as this project named Summer Spray.

Summer Spray is a project of the Short North Alliance made possible with support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Short North Alliance Art Fund.

summer spray, short north art district, art makes cbus, columbus Ohio

Summer Spray, Short North art district ,

This is a collaborative mural making event that has showcased the live creations of one amazing 1,280 square foot wall mural painted each weekend by different local artist/s which began July 11 and is scheduled to end September 13.  It is possible that it will remain up longer which gives you time to see the murals if not the artists creating them.  Each artist has created a piece of work that while unique to them, their style and their inspiration; will blend in with the prior artists work thus making a beautiful “one out of many” mural wall.

Summer spray, urban art, mural, art, artists, Jen Kiko and Eric Rausch, short north arts district

Jen Kiko and Eric Rausch

Summer spray, urban wall art, art, artist, Thom Glick

Thom Glick

Hakim Callwood, art, artist, urban art, mural, summer spray, snad

Hakim Callwood

Bryant “Bee1ne” Anthony, summer spray, urban art, wall mural, murals, short north art district, columbus Ohio

Bryant “Bee1ne” Anthony

Summer Spray, Chris Cropper, urban wall art, street art, mural

Chris Cropper

Lee Van Mora, urban art, summer spray,

Lee Van Mora

Here is one of the artists working on her part of the series.  As I watched her create I witnessed just how detailed and time consuming creating these murals can be.  I don’t think I could ever finely control a can of spray paint like this!

summer spray, katie golonka, mural, short north art district, columbus, Ohio

Katie Golonka

Artist Robert “Mrrobotgeek” Williams is scheduled to paint September 5 and artist Felicia “FDZ” Dunson  wraps up the event, painting on September 12.

While we may all hate to see summer end (except maybe for you pumpkin spice fans) this is a great sendoff for it.  The mural is located on West Goodale Street between High Street and Park Street, near Goodale Park in the Short North Arts District.  Have a nearby seat and enjoy the artistic view.

summer spray, urban art, wall murals, art, artists

To read more about each artist and the Short North Arts District, click here.


Bridge of Dreams

The Bridge of Dreams is a 370 foot long covered bridge that goes over the Mohican River located near Brinkhaven, Ohio.  It was built in the 1920’s originally as a railroad bridge and was covered in 1998.  It is the second longest covered bridge in Ohio after  the Smolen–Gulf Bridge in Ashtabula County, and the third longest covered bridge in the United States!

mohican river, knox county, ohio, bridge of dreams

Mohican River and Bridge of Dreams

The bridge is now a pedestrian and bicycling bridge and part of the Mohican Valley trail; a trail built on an abandoned railroad bed that once belonged to the Pennsylvania Railroad.   The bridge is closed to motorized vehicles but is used by Amish buggies and those horseback riding.  The bridge has a matted side which is to be used by buggies and horseback riders.

In this photo you can just see the top of an Amish buggy crossing the bridge.

Amish country, knox county, ohio, bridge of dreams

Amish Buggy

So how did this bridge get it’s name?  In the early 1990’s the railroad line had been abandoned and a group of local residents and businesses came up with a plan for converting it into a multi-use trail.  The most “ambitious” part of this plan was to cover the bridge.  Skeptics (there are always skeptics) decried that the costly plan was the stuff of dreams which led the backers to give the name of the project “Bridge of Dreams.”

With funds raised through contributions and a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Bridge of Dreams was completed in December 1998 and dedicated in April 1999 with the Mohican Valley Trail officially opening on June 15, 2001.

The drive to the bridge is a pleasant one taking you through the scenic hills of Ohio.  When you arrive you will find some parking along the river and further up a full parking lot where you are then able to walk or bike along the trail.


wildflowers, nature photography, flower photography

Wildflowers along the trail

Bridge of dreams, architecture photography

Biker inside of bridge

landscape photography, Mohican River, Knox County, Ohio

View along the Mohican River

This was our first covered bridge to explore but not our last.  We are planning  a road trip to Ashtabula County to find more.  The Bridge of Dreams is located  at 16606 Hunter Road, Brinkhaven, Ohio.  To read more about the bridge, the Mohican Valley Trail and other parks in Knox County, check out their brochure here.

(Note: We visited here in early summer when the water levels were still very high.  They have since dropped)







S’miles of Sunflowers – The Patch on 37

A great way to celebrate summer and immerse yourself in one of the flowers of the season is to visit S’miles of Sunflowers in Alexandria, Ohio.  Here you will find Ohio’s largest sunflower patch; home to a million flowers across 8 acres.  They grow 26 varieties of sunflowers here of various colors and sizes.

smiles of sunflowers, sunflower field, sunflower farm, Lynd fruit farm, what's happening Ohio

smiles of sunflowers, sunflower field, sunflower farm, Lynd fruit farm, what's happening Ohio, Alexandria, Ohio

pink sunflower, nature photography, visit ohio, sunflower field


Admittance tickets are $15 for ages 4+ on weekends and $10 on weekdays.  You can buy them there or online.  Your ticket lets you experience the beautiful fields of sunflowers where you can wander happily admiring all of them, take photos of the flowers, take photos of you in the flowers (they have several props scattered throughout the fields to pose with or on; the old truck is THE most popular one) and all tickets include one cut and take home flower of your choosing.

You can just make out the popular old truck, with the line to pose with it, at the top right of this image.

smiles of sunflowers, sunflower field, sunflower farm, Lynd fruit farm, what's happening Ohio

You can see the entire field of sunflowers from this vantage point.

smiles of sunflowers, sunflower field, sunflower farm, Lynd fruit farm, Alexandria, Ohio

A family prepared for their photos.

If one gorgeous sunflower isn’t enough for you, available for purchase are half gallon glass jars for $15 or galvanized French style vases for $25 that you can fill with as many flowers as you can fit.  They have water tanks on site to fill whatever container you  use to make sure your flowers get home safely hydrated.

Note:  If you don’t bring  your own shears they will sell you a pair.  I brought my small gardening shears.  Shears have to be able to fit into your pocket to be used safely.

smiles of sunflowers, sunflower field, sunflower farm, Lynd fruit farm, sunflower, bee, macro photography

smiles of sunflowers, sunflower field, sunflower farm, Lynd fruit farm, sunflower, macro photography

smiles of sunflowers, sunflower field, sunflower farm, Lynd fruit farm, sunflower, nature photography

Live music is available on the weekends to entertain you as well as wagon rides that take you to different parts of the sunflower fields.  The wagon ride isn’t necessary to walk through the fields, it’s just an added attraction for those who like it or perhaps cannot walk very far.  You can bring your own picnic to eat during the week but on the weekends, under the giant tent, there is a concession stand that will sell tasty eats like  kettle corn (the bags that are still warm are the tastiest – trust me), hot dogs, water,  soda and other snacks.

Barefoot McCoy, a very talented one man band, entertaining everyone.

music, musician, bafefoot mccoy, smiles of sunflowers, patch on 37

I plan on returning to the patch to get a vase full of sunflowers soon.   Currently they are scheduled to be open till August 31 barring any damaging weather or shortage of blooms.

S’miles of Sunflowers – The Patch on 37 is located at 3131 Johnstown-Alexandria Rd. NW, Alexandria, Ohio.  To pre-purchase tickets online, check their hours, musician schedules, directions or any other questions visit their website here at S’miles of Sunflowers.


The Blueberry Patch

It’s that time of the year when you can visit farms or farm stands and enjoy the bounty of the season.  In this case we decided to enjoy blueberry season, which started the beginning of July,  by picking our own blueberries at the Blueberry Patch in Mansfield, Ohio.

The Blueberry Patch is a family owned and operated business established in 1981 by Steve and Lisa Beilstein.  The soil in these rolling hills is perfect for growing blueberries; sandy and acidic which grows delicious sweet blueberries that you can  pick in July and August.  They grow 27 different varieties of blueberries that ripen at different times which helps to make the picking season as long as possible.

Blueberry bush

Upon arrival and finding a parking space near the rows of blueberries (I suggest getting there as early as possible it does get busy!) you stand in line to tell them how many buckets you want, they write down your name along with the number of buckets you take and point you to where the picking is and what varieties are currently being picked.  They ask kindly that you do not eat as you pick but we all know how hard it is to resist tasting a few.

When you’ve filled your buckets as much as you like, you bring it back to be weighed and payed for.  Blueberries are priced at $3.70 per pound.  You can pay a couple of dollars extra to keep the bucket (if you bring it back to use another year you get a discount) or they will put them in a plastic bag for you to take home.

Ripe and ready

Rows to be picked

If you aren’t a U pick kind of person you can purchase pre-picked pints, six and eight pound buckets.  Of course they also offer all manner of blueberry edibles to buy along with the blueberries themselves such as jam, ice cream, pies and donuts to name a few.  There were several people asking when the donuts were coming out – a popular treat apparently.

On the premises they also have a gift shop which has items for sale that are and aren’t blueberry related and the Blossoms Cafe which is attached to the gift shop in a greenhouse.  They even have blueberry bushes to buy if you want to start your own patch at home.  I wish I had the room and proper soil to do so.  That would be wonderful.

Gift shop goodies

Blueberry jam

Blossoms Cafe

There is a new addition to the Blueberry Patch now, the 1285 Winery where besides buying some wine,  you can have something to eat to go along with your libation of choice to enjoy either inside, or in nicer weather, out on the patio.

Winery patio

Wine slushies!

They offer several varieties of wine including blueberry.  We all knew that just had to be one of the wines offered.

Wine choices

In my opinion there is nothing that compares to freshly picked fruit and vegetables and the Blueberry Patch is an ideal place to take the entire family to go blueberry picking.  Remember that this is a farm and you will be walking up and down the rows of blueberry bushes on grass.  They are adhering to all the guidelines set by the CDC to keep customers and employees safe which made me feel safe visiting.

The Blueberry Patch is located at 1285 W. Hanley Road, Mansfield,  Ohio.  Visit their website here to learn more about, plan your visit or maybe even order some of their blueberry best selling gifts like syrup or blueberry truffles. Yum!





Summertime in the Gardens part 3 – The Sisters’ Garden

Leaving the gazebo and past the Woodland Rock Garden and Fern Garden, you cross a bridge over a spring to the The Sisters’ Garden which is dedicated to the Innis sisters, Grace and Mary.  The motto of this garden is “To nurture the nature of the child in everyone.”  The Innis sisters loved flowers, birds, gardening and nature and this area shares that love with everyone who visits.

spring, inniswood metro gardens, westerville, ohio, visit ohio, sisters' garden, nature photography

Reflections on Spring Run

While the motto states this garden is for everyone who loves nature, the area appeals the most to the younger crowd.   There’s a windmill that pumps water,  the Loop trail takes you around the area through the woods, the wetland area, past a play area, a couple of mazes and a small cave.  We were not able to see all of this garden as, keeping social distancing firmly in mind, it was a bit too crowded this day.

Statue of the Innis sisters

The working windmill

Boardwalk over the Wetlands Garden

There are free maps available at the entry to the garden which will guide you to all that this garden contains and has a “Can you find me in the garden?” list of things to discover as you explore such as the statues of Grace and Mary and a flying pig.  I didn’t find the pig.  This is a fun activity for the young and young at heart to participate in.

Another entertaining and educational activity is the Story Maze where you read a Native American legend that is carved into the paving stones.

Entry to the story maze – Earth on Turtle’s Back

Story Maze

As you read each part of the story on the stones you wind your way back to the Grandfather tree where you can sit in it’s shade for awhile before entering the Circle Maze where Sky Woman greets you.

Grandfather Tree

Sky Woman

Weekends are understandably the most busy;  when it’s less crowded (and hopefully the virus has abated) I intend on returning to this part of the gardens to find the flying pig and explore the parts I couldn’t get to this time.   But to be honest, I will return to these gardens anyway any time I can because they are so beautiful –  with mask on and keeping the proper distance from others as long as it is necessary to do so.

Inniswood Metro Gardens are located at 940 S Hempstead  Road in Westerville, Ohio.  They are open daily throughout the year from 7am to dark with no charge for parking or admittance; public restrooms are available.   Visit their website at  Inniswood Metro Gardens for more information.

Summertime in the gardens part 2 – The Herb Garden

The gardens are for everyone; it doesn’t matter how young or old or how fast or slowly you move.  They are here to explore at your own leisure and it is best to take your time exploring the gardens as there is so much to see!  You may miss a jewel if you are in a hurry… and why would you be in a hurry in such a beautiful tranquil setting?

The trails that lead through and around the different gardens – the longest being just short of a mile –  let you take an easy comfortable walk through the wooded areas.  Some of them are ADA approved as well.  And there’s always a nearby bench to sit and rest or to just take in the surroundings.

Can you see the bench nestled between the two trees on the right?

inniswood metro gardens, westerville, ohio, nature trail, gardens

My favorite garden in all of Inniswood is the Herb Garden with it’s beautiful gazebo that everyone loves to pose in.

inniswood metro gardens, trail, pathway, ohio, gazebo

gazebo, herb garden, bee garden, inniswood metro gardens

waterfountain, statue, herb garden, nature, herbs, flowers

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Next: We visit the Sisters’ Garden

Inniswood Metro Gardens are located at 940 S Hempstead  Road in Westerville, Ohio.  They are open daily throughout the year from 7am to dark with no charge for parking or admittance; public restrooms are available.   Visit their website at  Inniswood Metro Gardens for more information.