Friday, April 30, 2021

A Ride in to DC

It’s getting busier every time we go in to town. After over a year of near hibernation, walking on the national mall is no longer a solitary affair. Aside from the construction workers who have consistently been there, the tourists are starting to show up and parking is getting more and more difficult. We no longer have our parking permit - we needed it when we lived on Capitol Hill since we had street parking. Now we have to use the park mobile app to pay for parking - unless we find a spot that allows two hours for free. So we parked by the American Indian museum and walked towards the castle. Aside from the tulips and ducks I took photos of for the weekly 52frames photo challenge, there were other things that got our attention. The gnarly tree roots seemed overwhelming; the scaffolding went up around the Hirshhorn museum and something was afoot there; the little birdhouse was occupied and the feathered friends were busy collecting food and lodging materials; the Washington monument peeked out above the organized tulip garden in front of the castle; the large wasp sculptures reflected in the pond. On the way back towards the Capitol the pigeons looked like tourists as they walked along the sidewalk; there was some green deal policy maker holding court by the Capitol pool; the gardeners were sprucing up the area around the Grant statue; the ramps for the ducklings were already in place with a reminder not to feed them; and there were signs all around that there would be restricted parking due to first amendment activity through May 1. We were running out of time so we had to cut the walk short and retuned to our car. It’s always nice to visit the city. It’s hard to believe we lived there for thirteen years. Everything is so familiar. And that makes it so much easier to navigate. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

American Plant and Balcony Baskets

It was time to take a trip to American Plant. The last time we were there was in December to get some Christmas twigs and greens for our balcony window boxes. Along with those, we had liriope, ivy, violas and pansies that we added in the last fall. The ivy has survived, and the liriope was cut back in hopes that it will return with its purple flower. The violas and pansies are on their last legs. The coco liners leak a lot of water so the plants may not be getting the amount of water that they need. Regardless, it’s planting season! So we picked out seven flowering gems that will do nicely in the full sun of our western exposure. We got a red begonia and a yellow daisy and a pink zinia, along with four coordinated flowering trailers. One of them was going to be planted indoors to give the indoor plant console a boost of color. Earlier in the week I finally got some cut flowers that were placed in the wall vase that also has some plant cuttings, and in the vase on plant stand. Flowers always are so lovely to behold and these made all the difference. Let’s hope they last a while. I know each one individually since our garden space is so much smaller than it ever was. But all it takes are a few, and we are content with that. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna

I saw a story in the Washington Post the other day about Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna. It’s quite close to our northern Virginia home, so we decided to drive out that way for a morning walk. The US Botanical Gardens in DC are my favorite gardens. We walked through them many times over the thirteen years we lived on Capitol Hill. The gardens opened at ten o’clock and there were already quite a few cars in the parking lot. It costs $3.00 for admission. So we got a map and started out heading to our left, traversed both the paved and hiking trails, and passed by some very pretty venues. Unfortunately we just missed the beauty of spring. There were still some hints of it - almost gone tulips and a few flowering trees. Otherwise it was pretty much in between the spring to summer seasons. The walk itself was nice and the water features and sculpture were lovely. It felt a bit too “artificial” for our liking, but it was worth the visit. We missed a whole section because we veered off on an alternate path on the way back without knowing where we would end up. It’s a nice option for a variety of occasions. There is an atrium for special events and I’m sure a lot of educational opportunities for the kids. We may return sometime as I’m sure it takes on very different looks throughout the seasons. It was a nice change of pace.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Tulips and Ducks

With a photo challenge about nature, we took a ride in to DC in search of a suitable image. It was almost the end of tulip season and I wanted to check out the Enid Haupt garden by the Smithsonian castle. They always have a beautiful display of seasonal flowers and bulbs. The magnolias are sensational, and everything else is candy for the eyes. We parked by the American Indian museum and found some ducks in the pond by the new memorial. But the tulips at the gardens were extraordinary - just about every size, color and shape was on display. There was a lone duck at the pool by the castle. He was actually posing for his portrait. He even called to us when we left him. At the Capitol reflecting pool there were many pairs of ducks scooting about. The ramps were up for the soon to be ducklings to navigate the steep sides of the pool with a reminder not to feed them. And as always, the botanical garden also has a share of tulips. From many angles a photo of the Capitol is in easy range. It was a beautiful day and the flowers and ducks cooperated for some lovely images.