|Marty Robbin's hummingbird suit—as close as we got to doing country music|
Thanks to Karl Gercens—garden traveler extraordinaire—I knew Gaylord's Opryland was something of a plant person's Mecca and my easy-going in-laws were up for the experience. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but was quickly blown away by it all.
Here's a bit of history I found online, from an article published in 2013: Fueled by supply and demand and the desire to offer the best guest experience possible, the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center has grown its gardens over the years in size and scope, and the world has taken notice. In the 39 years Hollis Malone has worked as a horticulturist at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, he has never once gotten tired of the compliments from guests on the nine acres of interiorscapes winding through the complex...
...The resort didn’t start with nine acres, however. The indoor garden concept started in 1982 when architect Earl Swensson convinced hotel management to build a garden and put terrace rooms around it so people could have a spectacular view. Thus, the Garden Conservatory was born, a one-and-a-half acre spread of tropical plants that accommodated the addition of 500 rooms to the original 600 built in 1977.
Again, here's a link to that article, it's a good read. This Hollis Malone sounds like someone I would enjoy talking with. In case you're interested here's a link to another story I found online about Hollis and his work at Opryland, also interesting.
Since Hollis retired in 2014 the garden I saw has been under the care of others for years, I wonder who? They're doing a great job...
As I scurried around looking at plants and taking photos I could almost forget this was all under glass, with hotel rooms looking down upon it all.
I easily became completely lost in the plants.
All the photos I've shared up until now were taken in the newer Cascades area, now we've entered the older Garden Conservatory. I spotted a couple of agaves below, variegated Agave attenuata ("there's always an agave, if you look hard enough")...
Zombie palm! Zombia antillarum; oil from the palm is said to be used to "awaken" zombies back to life, needles from the trunk are used in voodoo
Now we've walked into the third garden, known as the Delta. These interesting palm trunks became home to several other plants the further we wandered—I'll share photos of the plants growing on plants, as well as various mounted plants I saw throughout Opryland, on Wednesday.
With all of the amazing plants growing everywhere throughout this facility I was somewhat stunned to see these window boxes were filled with plastic plants. LAME!
There's actually a "boat" that takes you through the Delta gardens. It had me thinking back to an evening river boat dinner a friend and I enjoyed in San Antonio years ago. That was outdoors however, on a real river.
Epiphyllum, jungle cactus.
I know some folks would look at these gardens under glass and quickly dismiss them, but I thoroughly enjoyed the display. The plants are well cared for, people who might not otherwise engage with plants at, say a botanical garden, are surrounded by them. What's not to love?
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