Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hilltop Gardens

Today the Winter Ranch Bus took us on a tour of Hilltop Gardens, outside of Lyford, Texas.  Only five of us on the bus were from Winter Ranch this trip.  The rest of the bus had Trophy Gardens people.  It was too bad it wasn't a bright and sunny day but it wasn't too cold and we didn't get rained on so that was a real blessing!
Hilltop Gardens is one of the oldest Aloe Farms in the United States.  It was first planted in 1939 by Sherman and Lee Ewald.  They purchased and planted 100 acres in Aloe.

Love the "Wilder Bunch" on the back of our bus!

We are heading to the Visitor Center

When we first arrived we watched a video about the history of Hilltop Gardens that was very interesting.

This is a map of the current gardens with other 
areas that may be developed later. 
Check out more information about the gardens:
 Paul Thornton, the Garden Manager and our guide today

These two plaques show the Global Gap Certificate which is for good agricultural practices and the second one is their organic certifications. 

Behind the umbrellas is a stand of bamboos that are a part of the sensory walk through the gardens.  We were in the Sound section of the gardens.  We also walked through Touch, Smell, Sight areas.

 The Hibiscus were in bloom.

 The Honorable Chung King Yunho Lee (1929-1998)

Chung King Yunho Lee purchased Hilltop Gardens in 1988 and it is now incorporated as Econet whose mission is to grow beneficial plants to bring the best of nature to humankind.

In the Memorial Garden there are over 200 types of aloe that we walked through.  Many of the plants were blooming and our guide told us that even more would be blooming in the next month or so.

 Chuck and Sandy Trimpe listening to our guide.

 This is a cactus that is starting to bloom.

Aloe Khamifsensis from South Africa
Common Name:  Namaqua Aloe

Tradescantia Spathacea from Mexico
Common Name:  Moses In A Boat 
Ceiba Pentandra
Common Name:  Kapok Tree
 Check out the thorns on this tree

Reflecting Pool in the Healing Garden

 Crinum Lily

Beverly Terrill sitting on the corner in the Healing Garden.

Ravenala Madagascariensis 
Common Name:  Travelers Tree 

Sandy and Chuck Trimpe standing behind 
an area planted with Rosemary
 Our Bus Driver:  Jim Drake
He looks like he is meditating!! 
 Palm trees

The one without any top was killed by an invasion of a destructive insect.  They are leaving the trunk alone as it is a great place for woodpeckers to do their work.  After woodpeckers drill some holes, other birds and small animals enlarge the holes and make their homes in the dead trees.
Sansevieria Hyacinthoides
Common Name:  Mother-in-law's Tongue

Russelia Equisetiformis
Common Name:  Firecracker Plant 
Strelitzia Reginae
Bird of Paradise 
The Top of the Hill - Everyone can stand at the tallest area of the farm and look out at all the organic fields.  The hill is not much of a hill but maybe it is by Rio Grand Valley standards!

 The Children's Garden

 Aristolochia Gigantea
Common Name:  Dutchman's Pipe
This plant is pretty interesting as the Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly lays its eggs on the leaves of this vine.  The plants in the Pipevine family are poisonous to most animals.  Caterpillars are able to eat them without being harmed.  In fact, the chemicals stay inside the caterpillar and make them poisonous to most predators. 
 The purple on these leaves are actually blooms on the Dutchman's Pipe Vine.

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