This basin has been outside our front door since we moved here. Up until a couple weeks ago it has an hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’) in it. I recently took that out and put it in the ground out front and we reused the container for some small plants. As you can see, there are two varieties of miniature Hosta (one of them is ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ but I’m not sure what the other is), some mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus), and a few other things. I think the green malachite stones go very well with it.
This is the corner of our patio, looking pretty good, if I say so myself. In the barrel is a David Austin rose called ‘Gabriel Oak’ that should have its first flush of blooms in the next week or two. In front of that is a Portland rose called ‘Rose de Rescht’ that I thought had died but which was hanging on. I repotted it and it seems to be thriving. I’m going to try to take better care of it, now. Both of these roses have really strong fragrance. In another half-barrel I planted another David Austin rose called ‘Lady of Shalott’ which is growing taller but with fewer buds, so far. Of course these are new and will be much better next year, but even in their first year, they should be nice. And they are supposed to repeat very well.
Cathy and I went up to Seneca Creek State Park this evening to see the Schwartz Peony Garden. It’s perhaps not quite at peak as of today but there were plenty of blooms. There’s a bit of variety in peony flowers and lately I’ve been drawn to the simpler, single flowers, particularly the pale colors. Of course I also like some of the extremely dark and vibrant colors, so it’s not just one or the other. This one, especially in the light we saw it, really caught my eye. The petals look to me as though they were expertly fashioned out of porcelain. It’s just absolutely lovely. Lovely and fleeting.
Margaret had a visitor today who brought her this lovely flower arrangement. Writing this now over a month after the fact, the arrangement is gone, of course, but it lasted a surprisingly long time and was on the table next to Margaret for all that time. It was such a thoughtful thing to bring and of course, the visit was a blessing, as well. If anyone wants to visit her, don’t hesitate to give her a call. You don’t have to bring flowers, naturally, but we’re not going to turn them down if you do.
Sometimes Margaret will tell us to put them in the kitchen or dining room where we can see them but lately we’ve been ignoring her and leaving them in her room. They were brought for her, after all, and she really should get the benefit of them. We’re in that part of the year when things are blooming in the yard, so we’re not short of flowers ourselves, anyway. I have three new roses this year and the first of those is starting to bloom, which is really nice.
Washington Christian Academy was having a event today that combined a few events they’ve had separately in more normal years. In addition to the standard was the fact that this is WCA’s 60th anniversary year, so there were activities celebrating that fact. We were later getting there than we had planned because we stopped to put air in a partially flat tire of a semi-stranded motorist. We also didn’t really stay all that long, but it was sure good to see a few friends. Bill, the former headmaster, was there and seeing him and chatting briefly was a real treat. We also ran into Justin and Sara as we were about to leave, which is when this photo was taken.
Like many folks whose work is mostly on a computer, starting in March of 2020 and for about a year I worked entirely from home. Then I started going back into the office a little. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been in more often but still generally only two days a week. If the situation were different at home I’d probably go in more, possibly even going back to full time in the office. Instead, I connect to up to three different workstations from my home computer, switching back and forth between them to get various things done. I’ve had two of them for a long time but the third I just recently got to do some benchmarking on. I won’t have that long term. Anyway. I took a picture of the set up, which also shows some of the photographs I have up on the walls. At the top is Nick Weber’s rose garden, then a nearly 360° panorama taken late in the day at White Sands, New Mexico. Below that is Great Falls of the Potomac.
Dorothy, Cathy, and I went to Great Falls today. The river was quite high and the bridges to Olmsted Island were closed but we enjoyed seeing the raging rapids anyway. We walked down the canal to widewater. There were more herons about that we’ve seen on a single outing any time we could remember. We saw a black snake, a few ducks and a family of geese. We saw a fairly large snapping turtle, as well. This butterfly, a pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos) was on a leaf by the side of the tow path and I was able to get quite close before it flew off.
A little further along Rock Creek from where we saw the azaleas in bloom, we happened to go down onto a stony area along the creek. Cathy was turning over rocks looking for interesting colors (and she’s hoping to find garnets). She turned over a rock that looked promising, started screaming, and ran past me jumping up and down. There was a snake under the rock, enjoying the residual warmth that the stone had collected during the warmer part of the day. This is a northern watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon). Kind of cool, actually, but Cathy wasn’t convinced.
After work Cathy and I went for a walk on the northwest branch of Rock Creek. The wild pinxsterbloom azaleas (Rhododendron periclymenoides) are in bloom. That’s what’s shown here. Unlike the Glenn Dale hybrid azaleas, which is what most people think of in terms of Azaleas, at least in our area, none of our native azaleas are evergreen. The flowers are also a bit different, but that’s not a bad thing, either. I think native as well as other non-evergreen azaleas should be used more than they are. I’ve got two Exbury azaleas and if I had more space, I’d have more.
I visited Paul and Carolyn last June (see Wednesday, June 23, 2021) and Dorothy and I went to see them again this afternoon. It was a lovely visit, including having their eldest and youngest children (who are adults, of course) there with us. If you know the Ks then chances are you love the Ks. I know I certainly do. They mean so much to me and have meant a lot to a lot of folks over the years. Dorothy is now (quite a bit) older than I was when I first met them, which was back in 1974. We talked quite a bit about what Dorothy is doing and what her plans are for the future. It was a great time and something we should do more often.
We had a family get together today, outside in the big tent that’s set up where mom lives. It was quite warm when we got there so it was nice to be in the shade of the tent. Then a storm rolled through and it came down in buckets so it was even nicer to be under cover. The little ones enjoyed getting wet in the rain. In this photo, Iris (right) is trying to convince Steve (center) that he should be a contestant on Survivor. As you might be able to tell from his expression, he’s not convinced. And Dot (left) is amused by the whole thing.
One more post for today. After our wandering around the western part of the county and visit to Susanna Farm Nursery, we came back to where Dorothy was staying and took the dog for a longish walk. It was warm but really pretty out. There is an abandoned house at the back of the property and there were two black vultures in the upstairs and they weren’t happy when we came close. We didn’t go inside. After we got back, Cathy spent some time grooming a couple of the ponies. I enjoyed sitting on the porch and chatting with Dorothy. All in all, a very pleasant day.
After stopping at the Beallsville Cemetery, we drove around a while and eventually made our way to Susanna Farm Nursery. They specialize in Japanese maples and unusual conifers, although they do have a few other things. It’s a beautiful place with a lot of nice specimens growing as well as the trees and other plants they have for sale. Next to the parking area is this old pickup truck that has been turned into an occasion for a garden. I really like it and think it’s a great way to incorporate what would otherwise be an unsightly heap of rusting metal into the landscape.
We met Dorothy out in Poolesville today after she spent the night and took care of the animals for a friend. After breakfast we drove out to Beallsville and stopped at the cemetery there. This photo of Dorothy and Cathy was taken outside the chapel there. I also got a few photos of the stained glass from inside, but thought I’d go with this informal portrait, instead. The cemetery was incorporated May 27, 1862 and the you can find more information about it on the BeallsvilleCemetery.org website. That web site has a scanned copy of the cemetery charter, as amended in 1912. There are also quite a few photos on Find-a-Grave. We weren’t looking for any grave in particular but did wander about a bit, looking at the stones. It was a beautiful day and we like cemeteries, particularly old cemeteries.
I had a dentist appointment this morning, finally getting around to that after a long hiatus kicked off by all the changes made by the Wuhan Virus Crisis. After the appointment I went to the Lancaster County Dutch Market to buy some meat. I really like the selection they have and their prices are reasonable. In particular, they have very good bacon, both plain and with black pepper. They also have cured pork chops that are terrific. I happened to drive around the back of the shopping center and there were some black vultures (Coragyps atratus) in the parking lot. This one let me get quite close without flying away. They are not the prettiest birds you’ll see, but hey, they are what they are. And they help deal with dead animals. That’s not actually a bad thing.
As mentioned in my preview post, we wanted to be outdoors today because it was so nice. We went to the Agricultural History Farm Park and after going through the woodland garden and the Master Garder’s Demonstration Garden, we walked around one of the fields adjacent to the central part of the farm. Between two fields there is a line of a dozen or so apple trees and they were in bloom, which was a really nice bonus. I don’t know how much car these trees get but it appears to be the right amount, at least in terms of their flowering. They were absolutely lovely and the bees and other pollinators were a buzz.
I happened to have my camera with me at church this morning and I thought the view through the circular window at the front of the sanctuary was really nice today. We normally sit on the left side of the sanctuary but we were late getting to church and attendance was up a bit so we had to go over to the right side to find seats. I was happy that we did because the view was so nice. There are dogwoods on the hillside outside the church, below the upper parking lot. These dogwoods are in bloom and the sun was on them. I purposefully exposed this for the light levels outside, so the nearly white interior walls show up as very dark here. The small amount of green in amongst the white flowers sets them off very nicely. The beautiful weather encouraged us to go outdoors for a while after church, as well, so the next post is from the same day.
Cathy, Dorothy, and I went for a walk on the Cabin John Creek trail today, from Bradley Boulevard to River Road (and a little beyond). It was warm today but still very good to be outside. This is a a nice walk and one we haven’t done before. There are some particularly nice areas, including an area thick with mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and a few scattered wild azaleas. There is some bamboo growing along the trail in places, as well, which is different, even if it isn’t a native thing. The beech trees are starting to leaf out. On many stems the leaves are still tightly rolled and that’s pretty cool. On a few stems, as shown here, the leaves are open and their color is quite remarkable.
Also visible through the trees from the trail is the Robert Llewellyn Wright House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1953 for his sixth child.
Dorothy had us over for dinner this evening. She made a chunky sweet potato soup with coconut milk and grilled cheese sandwiches for Cathy and herself. I brought a pork chop and a half cup of sauerkraut, since sweet potatoes are not on my diet. We had a nice time chatting while everything was cooking and then, since it was such a lovely evening we ate out on the back deck. We brought home some of the leftover soup and Cathy’s mom enjoyed that a few times over the next couple days.
Dorothy and Anna have been planning to host a regular, bi-weekly worship night and tonight was their inaugural event. Attendance was light but for those who came, I think it was a really nice time. Dorothy and Adam played guitar (and occasionally the piano or the cajón, as Dorothy is doing in this photo). Greg came a little later and added the bass to the mix. We all used our phones to find the lyrics to songs we didn’t know. Eventually we’ll have something a little more organized, but it worked pretty well. This photo is a little grainy, because I didn’t want to use the flash. The ISO was set to 10,000, taken with a shutter speed of 1/80 second at f/4.5.