A Walk In March

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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.