Sunday, July 28th, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Date Night: Birch Patio and the Devonian Botanical Garden

Though we later decided to indulge at the Hardware Grill Chef’s Table for my birthday, my initial answer to Mack’s question about what I wanted to do for my birthday was, “Date Night at the Devonian Botanical Garden”.

When it was announced that Elm Café would not only be taking over food service at the Devonian Botanical Garden, but also would be organizing a series of themed food and amusement nights every Thursday in the summer, I knew I wanted to check it out. It seemed like a great way to increase traffic to the attraction in a creative way. The evenings range from Cuban-inspired dinners with a side of rumba, pasta- and ricotta-making paired with an Italian feast and Taiko drumming lessons followed by a Japanese meal. But Mack wasn’t the least bit surprised with the date night I was most taken by: the July 4th County Fair. Hot dogs, burgers and popcorn with some live music? Count me in!

The drive out to the Gardens at rush hour wasn’t as bad as we originally anticipated, not taking much longer than the suggested Google Maps time. We paid admission ($13 for adults) and were immediately whisked away with the musical stylings of Up the Creek, a bluesgrass band.

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Up the Creek

It was a gorgeous night to enjoy dinner outdoors. Elm Café’s concession stand at the Gardens is called The Birch Patio, and that night, in addition to their usual menu of daily soups and sandwiches was bison or chorizo bratwurst, beef burgers and ice cream sundaes. I ordered a chorizo bratwurst ($5) and Mack chose the burger ($7).

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Al fresco dining at its best

Neither was particularly fancy, but they were tasty, and fitting for the night’s theme and atmosphere. It also meant that we had room for popcorn and ice cream afterwards!

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Bratwurst, burger and lemonade

The real treat for us was the excuse this date night provided to get out to the Garden in the first place. Neither of us had been before, so we relished the opportunity to finally explore the greenery for ourselves.

Our biggest mistake was failing to remember bug spray, and again, when encountering bottles of it at the admissions counter, not recognizing that as a sign. We were literally chased off of some of the wooded trails by mosquitos, so hopefully this serves as a warning to any who follow in our footsteps – do not forget the repellant!

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Into the woods

Besides the unavoidable pests, we really enjoyed wandering through the different areas, encountering wildlife, and stopping to smell the roses.

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

A family of geese

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

I found a treat!

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Rose garden

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

More flowers

Mack even had the chance to do his best impression of Juliet!

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

We both looked forward to finishing our visit at the Kurimoto Japanese Gardens, and they didn’t disappoint. The soothing water feature, manicured lawns, and blossom-lined paths were even more beautiful than the pictures suggested.

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Kurimoto Japanese Gardens

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Waterfall

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

Flowers

Date Night @ the Devonian Botanic Garden

On the bridge

Date night at the Devonian Botanical Garden was a fun way to spend a summer evening – I’d encourage you to check it out while you have the chance! Take a peek at the remaining schedule here.