Glass walls (let the outside in)

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Flag of United States  , Arkansas
Saturday, February 23, 2008

Today was a "Betsy' day - a botanical garden day, though as it turned out there was some architectural interest for Malc too. True, it really isn't garden weather, having come north it is chilly there isn't much sun to spare but these gardens came highly recommended.
They are resplendent for daffs and camellias right now, though we were actually taken with the whole feel of the place and particularly with the 'user friendly' approach. At the entrance clutching the map we were told...this part is under construction...but you can follow the path anyway; as we meandered round, there were frequent places where 'trails' led off the main footpaths encouraging exploration. 
This area, in the Ouachita Mts is a rarity in that they run E/W, they are rich in diamonds and have the only diamond mine in the world open to the public - sadly we didn't make it there. All over the gds there are huge chunks of the beautifully coloured local sandstone with quartzite veins, we were very impressed with the way it has been used and have very grand ideas about what we might do at home! Clever use of stone and timber throughout the gardens seem to enhance the surroundings.

One of the most striking features here is the only glass chapel in the world - sounds a bit tacky doesn't it, as if it belongs in Vegas but that couldn't be further from the truth. It was absolutely incredible, set amongst the tall pines it brings the outside inside through its 50' high walls of glass and makes you feel as though there are no walls at all, yet its peace and tranquillity makes you feel reverent. Clever sky lights in the 60' high roof flood even more light into the space below. The craftsmanship in the build is truly worthy of the design - the whole effect is magical.


 A short distance away stands an impressive carillon, its copper clad steel columns reach 54' high into the sky like a stand of majestic trees. Both structures fit so perfectly into their surroundings its almost if man and nature are of one. What a wonderful place to celebrate any occasion.

The gardens reach down to Hamilton Lake and on the far shore we could see some very tasty houses, a lovely spot don't you think?
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