Posts Tagged With: tulips

Spring Reminds Us That Life Goes On

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Just living is not enough.
One must have sunshine, freedom,
and a little flower.
Hans Christian Andersen

This week’s six word Friday uses the word “flowers” and it perfectly describes my Friday at Colonial Williamsburg:

Flowers bloom ~ bees comes ~ life continues.

I took the day off from work to chase the light.  The weather showed overcast and / or rainy for the whole next week except last Friday.  I was eager to see the gardens, so off I went, leaving the office and all the tax audits behind.

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I love April – on the days the weather is nice.  So much of April seems to be rainy, windy, overcast, hot, cold or humid.  Each day is a guessing game – do we run the furnace or the air conditioning today?  And there are only a few days to leave the windows open.  Once the pollen comes, everything stays closed up.

The carpenter bees were having a good old time in this esplanade from a camellia tree.  They weren’t just rolling around in the pollen – they were head butting it, doing fast and furious circles in it, and greedily capturing as much as they.  Then they flew off, their rear legs looking like fat orange pantaloons.  I was surprised they could fly with as heavily laden as they’d become!

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The artist is the confidant of nature,
flowers carry on dialogues with him through
the graceful bending of their stems
and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms.
Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.
Auguste Rodin

I’m doing better at taking red flowers and it’s a good thing – there were red and pink tulips all over!  I don’t know if that’s normal or if that was this year’s color.  I didn’t visit Colonial Williamsburg last April and by the time I went in May, the tulips were done.  Here’s how the tulips and flowers looked at the botanical gardens last April.

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October is my favorite month, but each month brings its own beauty and April is no exception.  The days are finally warming up, everything is getting green and leafy, and the flowers have come back for another year.  Each month has different flowers, of course, and April’s seem to be rather delicate, showing for a few weeks and then dying back.

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I know it’s a bit of a jumbled mess, but I like these as well as the more formal and polished gardens.  It’s an apt metaphor for my own life.  I admire people whose lives are organized and orderly.  They know what they’re doing and when, things are planned out and thought out.

That is SO not me.  My life isn’t a total mess – we can find important receipts and instruction manuals.  Our vacation planning tends to be only a week or so in advance, although chasing the light influences that.  I have no intentions of planning a photo trip just to sit in a hotel room and wait for the rain to stop.  Likewise, I’d have been really unhappy to skip Williamsburg, then have crummy skies for photography on Saturday & Sunday.  This worked out much better to take a vacation day and have a great time.

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The Capital Building

Instead, our weekend (with the overcast skies) was spent in cleaning out the garden and planting it.  I’ve given up on vegetables so we’ve turned it over to flowers.  We’ll see if that grows better.  I already know I can attract bees, butterflies, and birds to it.  So with flowers, there should be more.  In fact, after I cleaned out and raked the garden, I was visited by a robin who enjoyed scratching around the dirt and finding some food.

Later this week, I’m leaving on a road trip.  I’ll be visiting my daughter the next two weekends, and off on a business trip in-between (a several hour drive from where she lives).  I’ll be visiting one of our manufacturing plants, seeing legislators, and in meetings with our tax counsel.  My favorite boy toy will stay home with da’ boyz.  I have no doubts he will enjoy having the house to himself and not having any regular meal times.

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Have a good week!  Pet a dog if you can, kiss a sweetie (two legged or four – but not on the mouth!), and enjoy the flowers.  It’s a good day every day, even if some days you have to look harder for it.

I believe in pink.
I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day and
I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn

Categories: bees, Virginia, Walking, Williamsburg | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Spring Flowers

My favorite boy toy and I have been busy working on the house.  So while I’m taking a break from my regularly programmed life, here’s some spring flowers to celebrate the first day of spring.  I took these at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens a few weeks ago.

Categories: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Virginia | Tags: , , , , | 25 Comments

Spring Is Coming

Last week, the eagerly awaited event finally happened – wait for it, wait for it – YES!  There were robins shivering in the snow.  And according to my observations over many years and in many states, that means spring is ready to arrive.  Last year’s robins shivered in snow right around the same time (click here for last year’s actual pictures of the robins in snow).

There have been other signs of spring.  Several weeks ago, a large flock (30 to 40) of cedar waxwings came migrating through, yanking red berries off from any hollies that weren’t already denuded.  I saw a blue heron flying overhead already, although I don’t think I saw egrets.  I think those were seagulls, which have not yet left to go north.

So last Wednesday looked like this – be sure to look for the beagle!

In anticipation of the snow, I’d brought home my laptop and some work.  I had a very clingy dog due to problems with our fire alarm.  For some reason, the sound just terrified him and earlier in the week, he’d breached the dog gates several times trying to get away from it.

So the easiest thing to do was to put the dog bed under the kitchen table where I worked.  He was happy and I was comfortable.  Unfortunately for him, there was the big eeew! factor of a tiny dog deciding he wanted to do this too.  But the bed was big enough for both of them.

Major icky happening here.

So go forward just three days and I went for a walk to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.  Although I started with my winter coat on, I quickly traded it for my lighter spring coat and eventually wrapped that around my waist to get it off.  The sky was blue, the clouds were pretty, and although there weren’t a lot of flowers, I saw enough to enjoy my walk.

One little bird was singing away, his throat feathers puffing out each time he let loose.  I thought it was a wren until I got home, looked at my pictures and realized it was a little sparrow.  He was certainly vocal and warbled quite prettily.

And of course, I couldn’t help but go into the greenhouse to see what was there.  It was a great way to end my morning and I thought you’d like it too!

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Enjoy the rest of your week!

Categories: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, robins | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

Happy Thursday

Expect to have hope rekindled.
Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways.
The dry seasons in life do not last.
The spring rains will come again.
Sarah Ban Breathnach
Categories: Flowers, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

So Many Signs of Spring #1

I did go to the botanical gardens for a spring walk last Sunday afternoon.  My intention was to share my walk with you, the things I thought about, and the things I saw.

But life isn’t going that way.  As I write this, I am less than an hour away from my daughter arriving for a long weekend.  She’s working from our house the next few days (and I’m working too), but we will have her all the way through Sunday.  Yippee!!

I’ve got the bed made up for her, some cooking done for my lunch, and am now taking a few minutes to let you know I’m not sure I’ll be posting much these next few days.  If time permits, I’ll put up a few pictures.  Otherwise, I will be busy trying to win Scrabble with a child who knows as many words as I do.

Of the many pictures that I took on Sunday, this was the one that best signified Spring to me – tulips and a robin.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Have a great week!

Categories: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Seasons | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

A Walk In March

I took a walk at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens recently and thought you might like to come with, if for no other reason than to get some spring colors to cheer your day.

I nearly didn’t go – the sky started out a flat, dull gray which matched my mood.  When the sky cleared, I kept checking the horizon to see if it was going to stay blue skies or not.  My favorite boy toy wisely suggested that I get out of the house and take a walk.  He thought I’d either come back in a better mood or else be tired enough for a good nap, after which I’d feel better.

This was the view when I walked out of the visitor’s center.  It was just gorgeous – I loved these clouds and even though there’s not much green, I thought it was a great view and I cheered up immediately.

Because the dark clouds were rolling back in, I went right to my favorite gazebo to get some pictures.  I posted a different one here that ultimately became my header photo for March.  I liked this because it had both the clouds and the water.  I think it’s cool to look at all the reflections in the water.  It truly is a mirror image.

Although it was mid-morning, the shadows were still long.  This bridge is leading to someplace that can’t be seen, with a lamp to light the way.  Will it be good?  Ordinary?  Bad?  There’s no way to know unless I walk the bridge and find out.  At least, that’s how I felt when I took the picture.  The mystery of adventure is always attractive, even though the reality may not be.

Aren’t these two little kids just precious?  The gardens have several nice sculptures and with the leaves down, they are much more noticeable.  While it’s a little boy and girl sitting together, I like to think it’s me and my sister.  I’m the one in the shorts and gym shoes; she’s the one in the dress that’s sitting nicely.

Of course, she’s the one that ran competitive track in high school and college.  She went to the state finals one year, infuriating my favorite boy toy as none of the boys (himself included) were good enough that year to win at the regionals.  So maybe she’s the one wearing the shorts. . . nah, I didn’t wear dresses unless I absolutely had to.  She didn’t mind a nice dress and still doesn’t.

I’m pretty sure this sundial was at the other end of the garden last year.  Since I was in a putzy mood, I spent some time examining the face of the dial.  It was actually accurate, after the time change this last weekend.  For the first weekend in March, it was ahead by an hour.

With this unusually warm weather, the magnolia trees were in bloom.  Unfortunately, the nights are still cold and as a result, the blooms had blasted.  They were deformed, the edges were browned, and the sizes uneven.  The middle of the tree wasn’t as bad, but it took some effort to get a good shot.

This called a Lenten Rose (helleborus).  I don’t know much about them, but would imagine the name comes from them blooming during Lent.  They must be frost hardy as well.

Here’s the inside of a white one.  Isn’t it delicate?  Of course, the photographer was reminded she’s not doing her yoga consistently enough while contorting in a bent over position to get this.

I’d debated about putting this picture in.  It will be pretty in another month, but for now, it’s just desolate.  I felt the same way – over busy, overtired, and just frustrated with a lot of things.  My boy toy was right to get me out of the house.

When our daughter was little, we went through a particularly tough time.  Not only were bills tight, but we hated where we lived and I didn’t like my job.  My husband would make us leave the house on Saturdays to go hiking.  We either improved our collective mood or we came home too tired to fight.  It worked and eventually that season of life ended but not the lessons learned in managing our moods and emotions.

I wasn’t the only one out.  This little sparrow was digging furiously in the dirt here.  A number of my pictures show the blur of his little rump, his head whipping around, and his body shaking off his dirt bath.  He didn’t mind me standing there, so I kept shooting away.  It was such a little thing, but it gave me a big smile to watch him for a few minutes.

There were all kinds of daffodils in bloom.  These have a bright orange lip and were a small flower.  There were big daffodils, small ones, medium ones, and all variations of yellow.  They were all over – big beds of them.

I don’t know what this is!  I usually takes pictures of the signs for later reference, but didn’t this time.  I think it’s another magnolia based on the leaves and the center of the flowers.  Last year, I only saw the white ones.  I had no idea they were in striped pink and red too.

They’re so bright and I love how they tip to the side, like they’re dancing in the wind.

And the white magnolia’s were open too.  I was fascinated by the center of the flowers and will spend some time playing in Photoshop with them.  The flowers are as big as the palm of my hand.

These irises surprised me.  They were very tiny, barely 4″ off the ground, but as brightly striped as the irises from last May that were as tall as my waist.  There were some bees out, but none on the irises.

I called my boy toy to tell him I wasn’t done yet, wanting to go through the greenhouse.  He wasn’t particularly missing me, but said he’d get his own lunch.  He told me to stop out and get some lunch, then go to the bookstore for some browsing.  Was he a sweetie or what!  More flowers, lunch out, and books?  It doesn’t get much better than that.

As you can see, the fountains now working.  This garden is new since last year.  I had no idea it would be so pretty.  There are a lot of benches so people can sit and relax (when the weather is better of course).

I shared a walk in the gardens in January.  Patti, from A New Day Dawns, left a comment that the greenhouse flowers were like dessert.  I loved that analogy and thought of it as I went in the doors.

So pretty!

So bright!

So delicate!  These are azaleas.

This is also new in the greenhouse.  It’s made from ferns, orchids, and bromeliads.  I was fascinated at how attractive it was and how unexpected it was to find this around the doorway into the back greenhouse.

Here’s a close-up.

The right wing of the greenhouse is a permanent orchid collection.  I don’t often go in there, having seen enough orchids from when my husband raised them.  I found this little flower though – it looks like a butterfly, doesn’t it?  I didn’t recognize the orchid though and showed it to my boy toy when I got home.  He was puzzled, not having ever seen an orchid flower that looked like that before.  And he was quite the orchid expert in his time too!

At which point, we both started laughing.  You do realize that this is a cactus, not an orchid, don’t you?  No wonder he didn’t recognize it nor did I (and I’d gotten pretty good at identifying them).

Coming out of the greenhouse, I looked across to the visitors center.  To the right is the education center.  The library is closed on Sundays, but there was a photography exhibit inside that I enjoyed for a few minutes.

I was glad I went for a walk!  I came back in a better mood.  The fresh air and some exercise were just what I needed.  And the beauty was incredible.  Everytime I go to the botanical gardens, there’s something new to see, something for me to enjoy, even at the end of winter.

Other walks are posted for JanuaryApril, October, and November.

Categories: Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Nature, Virginia, Walking | Tags: , , , , , | 31 Comments

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