Tag Archives: gardens

Thinking of my Grandmother

For years my grandmother propagated amaryllis lilies in south Georgia, trying to get one that was all white. She came very close. In 1976 she gave me a handful of bulbs and told me to plant them in light shade and take them up before frost, and they should bloom in a couple of years. So I did, and before long I had lovely white amaryllis lightly striped with pink! Then we had babies and those amaryllis fell by the wayside. Every so often I’m tempted by the bulbs in the greenhouse and currently I have several pots of them, and two are blooming!

I was looking thru my journals for ideas on what to make to take with me to Madrid and Barcelona later this month, and came across one I made in 2012. Slipped inside were two photos above of my grandmother’s amaryllis garden, and this poem:

1953 – 2012

Grandma had a fishpond, when I was very young.  We fed the fishes oatmeal; they ate them, every crumb!

Grandma had a cow named Star, when I was four years old. She’d milk her every morning as I her tail would hold.

Grandma kept brown hens, when I was still quite small. We’d feed them corn and hunt their eggs, ‘neath the grape arbor so tall.

Grandma grew peace roses, when I was very young. They bloomed all round her white washed house and sheltered frogs and bugs.

There came a year the fish were gone, no lizards could be found. Every egg broke in the nest – it was a horrid sound.

Grandma said, “was snakes.” I never saw a snake.

Near 60 years have rolled away. I feel I’m still quite young. My brother has a fishpond; my niece keeps city hens. The world has yet a happy place, when we will let it in.

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Spring at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens


I stopped by Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens earlier this week to check out the nature journaling exhibit in their library. As always, I found so much more! I taught a nature journaling class in February with a friend at Covenant Woods, and her notebook pages are included in the exhibit. I hadn’t realized that some of my water colors are also in the video accompanying the exhibit! That was a fun surprise. In the corridor outside the library is an exhibit of recent crocheted/nature pieces by Hillary Waters.  I’ve included above my favorite piece. See her website for a portfolio of more works.

As I wondered thru the gardens, I discovered a bicycle sculpture, topped by a small pedal airplane! The mania for the UCI Road World Championships in September has started!

Flowers are beginning to bloom – dwarf irises, daffodils, crocus! Spring is here?!

Early Spring at Maymont

Weather is finally starting to warm up!  Hubster and I enjoy early spring at Maymont last Thursday – lots of animals around and daffodils in bloom.  We came in from the side of the Dooley mansion, thinking it wouldn’t be as much of a walk.  Obviously I haven’t been in awhile – no matter where you enter, you’re guaranteed several miles of wandering about!

New York’s Central Park

There’s so much to see in New York City – I hope you’ll enjoy a couple more posts on the City That Never Sleeps! One of my favorite places is Central Park.  On this visit I was able to walk briefly through the Southern edge, east from the Artisans Gate, and at the far end discover the Conservatory Garden.

While strolling along the southern paths, I came across an amazing rustic pavillion, high on a rock outcropping.  I took a few photos and when I got back looked around on the web. The structure is called Cop Cot, Scottish for a little house on the crest of a hill.  It’s a 1985 reconstruction of a structure that originally stood on the spot around 1860. For a history, which may or may not be accurate, see this entry in Central Park: A Misguide.

Sometimes you come across a piece of art that thrills your imagination – that happened to me a bit later the same day as I explored the Conservatory Garden in the north east corner of the Park. The Garden, which is made up of English, Italian and French portions, was the site of a Conservatory/greenhouse from 1898 to 1934. The gardens were created in 1937 and restored in the 1980s. The sculpture that captured my attention is in the French garden, titled Three Dancing Maidens by Walter Schott in memory of Samuel Untermeyer (1858-1940) and his wife Minnie (1859-1924). I love the art nouveau feel of the three dancers. In the cold of late fall, with the fountain turned off and the pond drained, without the riot of bloom that would grace the spring and summer garden, the exuberant young women dominate the quiet oval of this formal garden.

Pinifer Park – 2012 Symphony Designer House


The Richmond Symphony Designer House is open! I had the opportunity to visit this past Wednesday. I was particularly intrigued by the location, as I had visited in March of 2011 for an estate sale, just before renovation got underway on this 1910 mansion. I’m thrilled by what the 22 designers have accomplished! Sadly, photos are not allowed of the interior, so all I have to share with you are a few outside before and after pictures. You can see a video with background on the house and project at WTVR Virginia This Morning. There was an excellent article in the Richmond Times Dispatch this past Sunday with some interior views – you can read it online at Ready for Visitors. Check the Symphony website for ticket information and info on all the designers.

Some of the details that I noted: lovely use of outdoor space on the porch, with a daybed and curtains; small seedums in all manner of petite containers; smaller dining room table so that a sitting area was also accomodated; brilliant colors – orange, pink, teal; cowhide rug including white fur still attached added to the subtle hunting lodge theme; one wall of back stairwell was painted with colored blackboard paint and quotes chalked on in large script; ornate Mexican Talavera painted tiles on the risers of the back steps. 

Throughout there’s a blend of traditional, modern, and utilitarian with frequent moments of whimsey. After shopping recently with my artist daughter and listening to her thoughts on use of a large telephone spool for a table, I laughed out loud to find one in the otherwise posh upstairs bedroom along with lovely Scandinavian- flavored weathered teal furniture! It fit in nicely.

Summer at the Botanical Gardens

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Summer at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens!  I stopped by to see the butterfly exhibit, and visit the Doughtery sculpture I helped build in May 2011.  I also wanted to see the new lily pads that have been planted outside the Conservatory – particularly the ones that can grow to 6 feet in diamater!  These are the ones you see in old stereoviews with the little girl sitting in the middle of them! Ours aren’t quite that big yet – I was surprised at how thorny the undersides are. Maybe that helps support their eventual weight?

The butterflies will be in the Conservatory until October 14th, with new ones hatching out daily.  I was thrilled to wander thru all the flitting beauties! Check it out if you get a chance.

The Diamonds in the Rough sculpture, or Hay House as my grandson calls it, is doing well after hurricane, earthquake and drechco! Last year the staff was merciless in removing all vines from the structure, but this year they’ve let them do their thing. It’s softened some of the lines and added some serendipity to the views. I’m hoping to get over there one early morning to catch some of the lovely white blooms before they close in the late morning sun.

Garden Week at Lewis Ginter

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Yesterday I enjoyed a lovely visit to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens with my fellow sisters from P.E.O. Chapter Y, Virginia. Teased by our mild winter, the rose are in full bloom, just as the Virginia Bluebells fade away.  Peonies scented the air and the lake was full of water, and turtles!  The paths thru the bog garden are still under renovation, but should be open by May.  Butterflies will also populate the Conservatory again by then.  Would be a good time for another visit!

After our morning stroll, we had lunch together in the cafe – delicious beef barley soup for me!  Then checked out the gift shop for nature-themed treasures.  I was thrilled to run into my botanical pen and ink teacher from Winter 2011, Celeste Johnston,  who tipped me to the display of student botanical pieces in the educational building.  So glad I got to see them!  An excellent outing!!