Those are some good lookin’ Mister Bingle wreaths!

Each year Garden Clubs from around the metro area decorate wreaths to be placed around Celebration in the Oaks. Every year there’s a new theme but it always includes Mister Bingle. 

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This year the theme is “Mister Bingle reads fairy tales/nursery rhymes to the royal baby.” 

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The Garden Clubs work very hard each year to create fun and inventive wreaths.

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The wreaths are placed around the interior of the Carousel. During previous years, the wreaths were in other buildings including the Lath House in the Botanical Garden.

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You can view all the wreaths this year at Celebration in the Oaks. When you see the wreaths, try to guess which nursery rhyme/fairy tale Mister Bingle is reading to Prince George! 

Who decorates all the Christmas trees at CITO?

Who decorates all the Christmas trees each year at Celebration in the Oaks?

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Each year area school, groups, and local non-profits decorate the trees in the Celebration in the Oaks Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.

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Each year the Celebration in the Oaks staff votes on the best tree and the winner gets the contest fee waived the next year.

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The trees are decorated with a variety of themes. We’re always excited to see so much creativity!

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People can view all the trees during Celebration in the Oaks. The 2013-2014 season:
November 29th – January 4th
Closed: 12/24 and 12/31
Sunday – Thursday : 6 p.m. -10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 6 p.m. -11 p.m.

Interested in participating? Registration begins in March of each year. Email Julie at JLaCour@nocp.org in March for details.

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Amanda the Swan has found a new home

Amanda Erika finds a new home

Injured City Park swan has recovered 

In February 2013 City Park black swan, named Amanda Erika, was badly injured while protecting her nest of 6 eggs. Her eggs were crushed by a depraved individual..

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She was brought to the West Esplanade Veterinary Clinic and Bird Hospital in Metairie. Doctor Gregory Rich and his staff spent much time caring for her and taking care of her injured and infected leg.

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Seeing that surgery was the best answer if Amanda Erika was to survive, Dr. Rich enlisted the help of Southeast Veterinary Specialist’s Dr. Rose Lemarie and Dr. Kenneth Ranson.

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Swans typically are known to be territorial animals; but not Amanda Erika. She has a sweet and passive personality.

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She was certainly a favorite with City Park patrons who were shocked and saddened to hear about the attack on her and her eggs. Support poured into the Park via Facebook, donations, and notes & letters.

Amanda Erika spent 10 months at the Veterinary clinics. While there the staff definitely made attachments to this sweet swan. She had multiple surgeries and physical therapy including water therapy.

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After the many months and ample therapy, we’re happy to say Amanda Erika is now strong enough to swim and walk (with a limp). Yesterday, Amanda Erika was brought to a private Northshore pond where she will be protected and loved. We like to say she’s entered the ‘witness protection program’ as we won’t be mentioning exactly where her new home is. We can tell you it’s with a loving family who has other birds including ducks and geese.

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While the Park is sad to not have Amanda Erika back in the Park, we’re confident Amanda Erika will love her new home.

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“We’ll miss her at the Park, but are so thankful she’s doing better. We are also eternally grateful to Drs. Rich, Lemarie, Ranson, and their staffs.” said John Hopper, “Amanda Erika could go on to live another 20 to 25 years.”

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Mister Bingle arrives!

Every New Orleanian knows who Mister Bingle is, but do you know he spends at least 2 months of the year at New Orleans City Park’s premier holiday event Celebration in the Oaks? He sure does! Since joining the Celebration in the Oaks family in 2005 Mister Bingle’s been a huge part of the tradition and 2013 is no different.

Mister Bingle arrived in style to the CITO warehouse.

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You might notice he’s looking good! He’s had a bit of work done – a tummy tuck and face lift maybe? We’re not telling! But in all seriousness, Mister Bingle did indeed get lots of TLC in his ‘off season’.

 

 

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Celebration in the Oaks staff then transferred him to a City Park truck to bring him into Carousel Gardens and his place of honor where everyone can see him come November 29, when the event opens to the public.

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TA DA! He’s here! But wait, he’s missing his ice cream cone hat and holly wings!

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Don’t fret, the hat and wings are attached separately so they don’t get damaged in transit.

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The hat is placed on Mister Bingle with the help of a bucket truck. One staff member is in the basket of the bucket truck while another staff member is inside of the top of Mister Bingle’s head in order to bolt the hat on Mister Bingle’s head from the inside.

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Next, the staff places Mister Bingle’s holly wings in place.

And … drum roll please!

Mister Bingle’s ready to see his public!

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When you visit Celebration in the Oaks be sure to stop by and see Mister Bingle. He loves his photo taken. As your group enters the Amusement Park, he’s on the left side of the sidewalk just before the Who Dat tree.

Feel free to post your photos with Mister Bingle on our Celebration in the Oaks Facebook page. You can also follow Mister Bingle on Twitter and Instagram. He’s quite a character! But then again, he’s from New Orleans so that’s no surprise!

Click here to buy tickets to Celebration in the Oaks. We’d love to see you there!

We’re makin’ our lists and checkin’ them twice! Gettin’ everything ready!

We’ve been working hard at the Park getting everything ready for Celebration in the Oaks 2014! We know you’re going to love the new exhibits and love seeing the traditional ones, too. Check out this video to see more and to see a sneak peek at one of the new installations called “Sea-Labration”. 

You can be part of the Celebration in the Oaks magic early by attending the Preview Parties. The Preview Party for those 21 and up is on 11/22 and the Family Preview Party is 11/24. You can get more information including ticket pricing at http://www.CelebrationInTheOaks.com.
Celebration in the Oaks runs 11/29-1/4/14 (closed on 12/24 & 12/31).

What’s Old Is New Again

This piece is from the 1930s and was used as a drinking fountain. Today it is refurbished as a new water-fountain in the New Orleans Botanical Garden‘s Shade Garden. It is newly installed and is near a swing where you can sit & relax listening to the soothing water.

“This reclaimed drinking fountain was turned into the new fountain by landscape architect Robin Tanauan and placed in the garden on November 18, 2013. The money to create the fountain was donated by Sally Duplantier,”  Paul Soniat, Director of the New Orleans Botanical Garden, said recently.

You can see this art piece and more during the upcoming Celebration in the Oaks event at New Orleans City Park. Along with Storyland and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, the Botanical Garden transforms into a magical place of wonder dripping in twinkling lights from 11/29 to 1/4/14. Celebration in the Oaks is only closed on 12/24 and 12/31.

During Celebration in the Oaks, the Shade Garden, where this fountain will permanently live, is home to the ‘Buggin’ out’ installation. You’ll see bumble bees, ladybugs, flowers and more. Tickets are on sale now for Celebration in the Oaks at   http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/celebration-in-the-oaks. Hope to see you there.

Cacti and succulents at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park

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The New Orleans Botanical Garden is a place of wonder. At every turn there is something new to look upon no matter the season.

Near the middle of the Botanical Garden is a small greenhouse containing the Garden’s collection of cacti and succulents. You can feel free to walk from one end to the other marveling at the many types in this vast collection.

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The cactus family has nearly 2000 species and with only one exception, they are native to America. They range from the Arctic Circle to the mountains of Chile, but are most abundant in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

ImageThe term succulent refers to a broad category of plants, including cacti which have developed think fleshy leaves or stems. These serve as water storage organs to insure survival under arid conditions. Succulents are found worldwide. Besides cacti, they include many familiar plants: Crassula aborescens (Jade plant) and Aloe barbadensis (Medicine plant).

Cacti can be tall and lanky or squat and spherical, frequently without any branches, and most always without leaves. These shapes result in a large proportion of internal tissue to external surface area which reduces the amount of moisture that is lost through the plant itself. They often have scales or spines ranging from microscopically small to wickedly large and barbed. These protect against predators and are thought to aid the plant in withstanding hot drying rays of the sun.

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The New Orleans Botanical Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. The last entry is at 4pm.

For more information on the New Orleans Botanical Garden please visit: http://www.neworleanscitypark.com/botanical-garden