Huntsville Botanical Garden – The Green Heart of Rocket City
Huntsville – a small, little, big town in Alabama – hosted TBEX North America 2017 (#TBEXhsv). The organisers had asked me to conduct a daylong pre-TBEX photography workshop. The venue for this workshop, I was told, was the Huntsville Botanical Garden.
Before reaching Huntsville, I did some research on the city and promptly crossed my fingers. The town had a meagre population of 190,000 and was touted as the Rocket City. To my tiny mind, rockets and trees seemed poles apart!
I had serious doubts about the venue and the facilities it would offer. In India, a town that size would be lucky to have a decent city park, leave alone a botanical garden. And as botanical gardens go, I was not sure of even the availability of AV equipment needed to conduct the workshop.
A day before the workshop (i.e. 2nd May 2017), I flew into Huntsville Airport. During my drive to the hotel, I realised that despite its limited population, the city was well spread out.
Edgy and Tense
Next morning, armed with my camera bag and my laptop, I got into the coach that was taking us to Huntsville Botanical Garden (Official Site: HSVBG). My heart was racing at 300 beats per minute throughout this short commute for the fear that I may not get to present my 300-slide workshop presentation. You see, I didn’t have a Plan B!
Once we reached #HSVBG, the Garden administrator took us to a little cottage that housed their meeting room. As soon as I entered the meeting room, I breathed an immediate sigh of relief. The room had a pleasing ambience and was well appointed. And nothing could have done more to soothe my shot nerves than the sight of a ceiling-mounted projector hanging prominently in the middle of the room. I was glad I had the wisdom not to share my apprehensions with anyone!
Before the start of the workshop, the #HSVBG administrator handed over the garden maps to all participants and clearly articulated the arrangements they had made for the participants’ coffee, snacks and lunch.
Checking Out The Green Heart
It wasn’t till we had had our lunch that we got around to exploring the garden. As we stepped out of the meeting room cottage, a gleaming white building donning classical Roman architecture greeted us. The crown jewel of the garden was a water body and its centrepiece was an informal fountain. The building across the water body was a butterfly garden.
It was a bright sunny day. The garden was buzzing with the local holiday crowd. I had let loose the workshop group on an assignment to shoot a one-shot and a multi-shot story in the garden. Net-net, the conditions were ideal and the garden idyllic. And our group created some stunning stories in this well-landscaped #HSVBG packed with diverse foliage.
That afternoon, the true beauty on offer for the visitors of this green gem of Huntsville was more than suitably revealed in the numerous photo-stories presented by the group.
That evening, when the workshop concluded, our entire group was unanimous in their views about the professionalism with which the #HSVBG administration facilitated the workshop and the serene beauty of this lesser-known botanical garden. If you travel to Huntsville, make time to visit this thoughtfully curated 112-acre arboretum!
During your travels, if you have felt a similar concern for any unseen destination, do share it in the comments. Thanks!