My Reminiscences of events, old and new, and travels, far and near
Saturday, February 9, 2013
A Thursday at Callaway Gardens
Ten days ago I wrote in a post about the two days we spent at Callaway Gardens and explained our first day there, Wednesday 23 January. This is to describe the following day, Thursday 24 January, 2013. It was again a very sunny day and did get into the 70 F (21C) in the afternoon. We went into the gardens soon after they open at 9:30 am. The roads in the garden were empty of traffic apart from some workers taking Christmas lights off trees. There were still some large electric insects along the way. (Click on collage twice to enlarge.)
I had read that Cason Callaway, the founder of the gardens, had a small chapel built next to a natural waterfall as a tribute to his late mother, Ida Cason Callaway (1872-1936.) We followed the sign to the chapel which stands on the banks of lovely Falls Creek Lake. There were no other visitors there and it was very peaceful.
We walked to the little stream cascading onto rocks creating small waterfalls.
The Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel has an English Gothic design, reminiscent of chapels from the 16th and 17th centuries and is built of native material such as field-stone quartz. It was dedicated in 1962 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. As we entered the chapel we were greeted by warm multicolor lights dancing from the stain glass windows and reflecting on the tile floor. It is a very simple sanctuary with just the colorful windows and a painting of Mrs. Callaway.
Atlanta artist Joel Reeves designed the six stained glass windows. They illustrate the seasons in a Southern forest. I took many photographs with my three cameras - my husband took pictures as well.
This memorial chapel is a beautiful setting for weddings and small ceremonies. Regularly scheduled concerts on the custom-built Moller pipe organ can be heard inside and outside the chapel. It is a small but elegant chapel. We went out but stopped in the doorway to admire the view.
Then we walked around the lake to a bench facing the chapel. We sat for a moment enjoying the serene setting. We could have spent many hours there for quiet reflection. It is quite an enchanting place.
Next we drove to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center (pictured on my top photo.) The wife of the founder of Days Inn of America provided the initial funding for this center. It is the largest glass enclosed butterfly conservatory in the US with over 1,000 butterflies representing more than 50 species. Inside the center there is a gift shop with more butterfly decorated gifts that you could ever imagine. After walking by displays of cocoons of butterflies in several stages of transformation we entered the octagonal glass conservatory (made of 854 panes of glass.) A small group of amateur photographers holding cameras with huge lenses were snapping close-ups of the butterflies. I don't have a micro-lens but I took many pictures with my cameras as I watched my steps since many butterflies were landing on the ground.
The photo enthusiasts left and we were then alone in this tropical center with butterflies fluttering all around us.
The climate-controlled center recreates a rain forest environment with tropical plants, flowers
and a waterfall cascading 12 feet into a two feet deep square pool.
Information panels educate visitors on butterfly life and lore.
There are benches in the 4 1/2 acre center where one can wait for the next butterfly sighting.
I jumped up as I saw a nice specimen land on a large leaf.
Then I spied several white butterflies landing on nearby flowers. I snapped and snapped as they moved around the flowers hoping by getting a quantity of photos I might get some quality...
One butterfly was close to a pretty red flower but as I got closer it fluttered away. I still got a good shot of the flower with my new little Olympus camera.
As we left the butterfly center we saw a frame photograph of a Victorian house. This was the 1895 childhood home of Virginia Hand Callaway, (shown on the left of the picture,) wife of Cason Callaway and co-founder of the gardens. Only the cupola could be salvaged from the old house and now stands on the roof of the butterfly center. Inside the center is a large chandelier featuring... butterflies, of course!
As we left we drove by some flowering Star Magnolia shrubs.
Then we reached the Sibley Horticultural Center. It is a very advanced garden/greenhouse complex with five acres of native and exotic plants and a 22 foot indoor waterfall.
A rock wall garden had attractive flowers and orchids hanging from it.
Flowers, succulents - everything was healthy, vibrant and green.
As we walked it felt like summer with all the floral display. It did not feel like January but very far away from winter and the heavy snow which is falling in some parts of the Northeast.
Outdoors there was a shining sun and it was a treat to walk around the impeccably kept grounds.
In the middle of a pond is a bronze sculpture. The American artist is Margery Godwin and it is named "Partners in Time." Isn't that a lovely evocative name for this pair of trumpeter swans? The female is seated in front of the male and the male has its wings spread in a protective stance.
My husband snapped a picture of me with the Olympus camera as I had stopped to take a picture of something. We then left Callaway Gardens. But I am not finished taking pictures at Callaway Gardens. I read that there are more than 700 varieties of hybrid azaleas in the 40 acre Callaway Azalea Bowl - so we'll have to make a return trip in the spring!