Young Lovers at Aldridge Gardens

Lou and I went for an afternoon stroll at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover today. This thirty acre botanical garden is right off busy Lorna Road and near the Galleria mall and other large shopping areas, but you would never know it, once inside the gates. It is a wonderful retreat. A large lake has a wooded path around it, and there are many planting areas with flowers and shrubs that bloom at different times of the year. Today mums and pansies, camellias and a sprinkling of other plants were blooming, but the main attractions were the fall foliage and the serenity of the lake.

It is a romantic place. There are seating areas scattered along the trail around the lake, and we always see young lovers there. Today a man and woman were cuddled up together on a bench at one of the lake's loveliest overlooks. I was irritated at first, because I had planned to take a photo from that spot; but of course, I wouldn't interrupt their privacy.

I did glance at them as we passed. And smiled. The "young lovers" looked to be in their seventies, at least.

Well, Lou and I have been married for thirty four years, and we still feel like young lovers, too. (Sometimes) 

Here are a few of the photos of Aldridge Gardens I took today, dedicated to all young lovers, no matter how old you are.

The bald cypress drops its needles every fall. It's tree roots form knobby knees in the water at its base.

This is a view of the lake from the wooded trail.Look close. Can you see the turtles?These grasses are called Pennisetum alopecaroides 'Cassian'.The grasses along the shore shimmer in the afternoon sun.

the serene waters of the lake at Aldridge Gardensanother beautiful lake view

Don't forget to look down. This tapetry of leaves was at my feet. The green leaves are sassafras.Fallen leaves make a beautiful, if temporary, art work.


fall colors in my garden

I am basking in the glorious colors of fall in my garden. The main colors come from trees and shrubs, with flowers as accessories. The dogwoods are beautiful; and after the leaves have fallen, their red berries will cling to the branches to provide nourishment for the birds.

These corinthian bell wind chimes are hanging from a dogwood tree near the arbor in the lady garden. I have several wind chimes in this area. I still remember the first time I saw a wind chime as a small girl. A friend had one hanging on her front porch. It was made of frosted glass with pastel flowers painted on it, and the tinkling sound it made was fairy music to me. I have loved wind chimes ever since.

Other trees which are radiant this time of year are the Japanese maples. One of my favorites is growing in front of the house. It was about a foot tall when I planted it following the tornado in 1990. A construction worker walked over it when it was still very small.

"Don't do that," I hollered at him. "You are stepping on my tree!"

The man looked down at the twig beneath his feet. "This is a tree?"

It was a tree, and I am glad it survived its infancy. Look at it now.

Japanese maples offer interest year-round. They have undulating form, patterned bark, and seeds that remind me of helicopters. I have a number of them throughout my yard, and this one's fiery fall color is unbeatable. It was an unnamed seedling when I purchased it for less than ten dollars. I think I got a bargain.

Another bargain was the pot of fall mums I bought at a local grocery store a few years ago. I like the pretty straw colored blooms. They have returned each year and have spread to form a ground cover at the base of a crepe myrtle tree. The buds just began to open this week.



I also have to mention euonymus alata, commonly called burning bush. I have planted several along one side of the driveway. I chose them for their stunning fall foliage, and, like dogwoods, their winter berries give sustenance to wildlife. 


And finally, here are a couple of today's views through the woodland garden:

Entrance to the woodland garden 

Another view of the woodland garden