Big blue skies, bright sunshine, and high temperatures in the low sixties--perfect for tiptoeing through the tulips. My husband and I arrived before the crowds and in time for the first outdoor concert.
Over 40,000 tulip bulbs nestle in the gardens. Today they might all have been in bloom. Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine, Kansas, never lets us down.
Fifteen Acres and a Tiny Creek. In 1910, Dr. Walter E. Bartlett had a vision. This local physician, naturalist, and civic leader saw the potential of turning fifteen acres of prairie cut by a tiny creek into a tree-studded park on the prairie. The rarity of parks on the Great Plains encouraged the good doctor to share his green space with the town. What came to be known as Bartlett Park took off, and oh, my, how the flowers and trees did grow!
My Arms Can't Reach Round This Giant. One of my favorite trees in the Arboretum is the loblolly pine pictured here. Dr. Bartlett planted it in 1925. In 2010 it won State Championship Tree of Kansas in the "Largest of Species" category.
Art at the Arboretum. A special treat today was the chance to meet the visual artist, Randall A. Kronblad, and to view some of his pastel landscapes in the outdoor gallery. The one titled, "That Sunday Afternoon," captured my imagination--and I bought it. It will look wonderful in the loft where I write. You can see more of Mr. Kronblad's work at crownleafstudio.com
Ms. Robin Macy. The thriving Arboretum has earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places and in the hearts of its many visitors. I especially like the story of Ms. Macy, who, while traveling across Kansas in 1997, saw a "for sale" sign on the overgrown property. She leaped toward her destiny and became the guiding light behind the arduous revitalization of the gardens. To find out how she and her supporters did it, visit www.bartlettarboretum.com.
Where is the Bartlett Arboretum? It's approximately 25 miles south of Wichita, Kansas, and just a few miles east of Interstate Highway 35.
Where can I learn more about the Arboretum? Visit www.bartlettarboretum.com
Lynne Schall is the author of Cloud County Persuasion and Women's Company - The Minerva Girls. She and her family live in Kansas, USA, where she is working on a sequel to her second novel, Cloud County Persuasion.