While we were in Basel, we noticed there was a sign for a botanical garden right across the street from our hotel. It was the University of Basel's botanical garden, or as they say in Swiss-German, Botanischer Garten der Universitat!
It looked very unassuming from the street but I was delightfully surprised by how beautiful it was. There was free admission, too.
They have a large tropical greenhouse that has a beautiful display of all sorts of exotic plants. We soon discovered there was more inside than just tropical plants, though. There were a bunch of different types of birds that must've been from a rain forest somewhere. And they were relatively tame so I was able to get reasonably close to them to take a few photos.
We also explored the outdoor plantings, which primarily consisted of perennials as well as this unusual shrub (see 2nd photo). It is Solanum betacea. Its common name is Tree Tomato, or Tamarillo. According to one website I found, the fruits are edible and you'll notice that it's a member of the Nightshade family by the word Solanum. Other common members of the Nighshade family include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes.
The 3rd photo shows a really cool mason bee house that we were intrigued with. If you click on the photo, you can better see the details but it contains chunks of wood into which small holes have been drilled. That gives the mason bees places to lay their eggs. And the galvanized roof of the structure has a bunch of succulents growing on it so it's a little "green roof." The bee house was about 6 feet tall. I think it'd make a neat accent for any garden in addition to its usefulness.
In the last photo, you can see some of the Salvias that were still blooming. I wasn't able to locate a tag for the red Salvia but the purple Salvia is Salvia rutilans. I don't think either Salvia would be hardy enough to grow in the Inland Northwest but you certainly could grow them as annuals during the warmer months.
Because I have so many photos from this botanical garden, I'm going to put the additional pictures into a separate blog post since this program doesn't seem to like displaying more than 3 or 4 photos at a time.