Monday, April 21, 2008

Shangri La Garden

I love gardening. Most people that know me know that. And if they don't know that they figure it out the first time they visit me at home and discover my 3000 square feet of flower beds, the rock garden wall, the pond. Everywhere you look flowers bloom, most of the year anyway.

In 1933 a book was published called Lost Horizon. I haven't read it but now that I know its out there I may have to keep an eye out for it when book scouting. Since the publication of this book the term “Shangri La” has represented a place of beauty, peace and enlightenment. I did not know thats where that term came from. I have certainly heard it before. Stevie Nicks wrote a song called "Trouble in Shangri La".

In Orange Texas Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation have created the Shangri La Gardens and Nature Center. I've heard of this place before. I didn't know it was in Texas though. The mission of the garden is to improve and enrich the quality of life in Southeast Texas and to encourage education. The garden features a unique eco system containing more than 300 different kinds of plants in five formal garden "rooms” as well as four sculpture “rooms.” Next to the garden . . . actually joined to the garden is a bird blind which allows visitors to observe nesting birds in Shangri La’s heronry. the garden also offers a hands-on exhibit called the Nature Discovery Center, a laboratory, and three outdoor classrooms located deep in the cypress swamp for visitors to enjoy. The Orientation Center offers an Exhibit Hall, Discovery Theater, Children’s Garden, Exhibition Greenhouses, Café, and Garden Store.

This is the first project in Texas and the 50th project in the world to earn the U.S. Green Building Council's Platinum certification for LEED®-NC. This certification verifies the design and construction of Shangri La has reached the highest green building and performance measures.

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