An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

February 19, 2013

Winter Walk-Off 2013

According to the calendar, there is about one month left of winter, and at A Tidewater Gardener that means it is once again time for my annual Winter Walk-Off.  Part of the reason I blog is to catch glimpses from other parts of the world beyond my own, and this little challenge is a fun way for others to do so. The rules are simple, the rules are flexible.


  • On your own two feet, leave the house and share what can be seen within walking (or biking) distance of your home (if you want to drive to your walk that's OK too).  Your post does not have to be about gardening or a travelogue, unless you want it to be.  Maybe instead you will find some unusual patterns, interesting shadows, signs of spring, a favorite restaurant or shop, questionable landscaping or local eyesores.  Whatever, just keep your eyes and mind open, be creative and have fun, but don't show anything from your own garden.
  • Post your own Winter Walk-Off on your blog, and link it back to this post.  Also, please leave a  comment here when your post is up.  If you have recently written a similar post, you are welcome to recycle.
  • I will keep the challenge open until midnight on March 19th, the last day of winter (or summer for those of you below the equator).
  • Everyone who participates will have a chance to win one of two prizes, and a totally disinterested teenager will randomly draw the names.  One person will win a collection of packaged heirloom annual seeds, and the other winner will be sent some of my wife's handcrafted note cards.  I will contact the two winners and mail the prizes. 


  • I hope these guidelines are simple enough and that you will participate.

    I had my own winter walk-off this past Saturday.  A good friend and I had plans to meet for breakfast, and I thought I would walk to the restaurant.  My friend's plans were cancelled by an encounter with her neighbor's escaped pit bulls (no permanent damage), but I went anyway.  The first few photos are some of what I saw leaving my neighborhood.

    Turquoise Porch


    Porch Mermaid

    We have four traffic circles in my neighborhood that are large enough to be small parks.  In one  someone has planted a vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) in memory of a former neighbor and aquaintance of mine,  Liz Witkowski.  She had a beautiful cottage garden and was the local distributor for Rich Earth, which is how I knew her.  Last year she lost her battle with cancer. Her plaque reads "Forever one with the Rich Earth".
    Liz

    Once out of the neighborhood I headed north on Colley Ave., which runs along Knitting Mill Creek.  This end of Colley is a transitional mix of odd businesses, restaurants, rental housing and storefront churches.  It has been in transition for as long as I have lived in Norfolk.

    Hund's

    Built in the late 1700's, this is the oldest house on the street. Now it is a hair salon.
    Salon


    Trumpet Vine Pipe

    Knitting Mill Creek is still a bit of a working waterfront.  These pots are waiting for crab season to begin.
    Crab Pots

    When I first worked in the hotel business those of us who worked the late shift would sometimes end up at this after-hours club to extend our drinking time. Nothing ever good came from a visit here.
    PJ's

    I wonder if the billboard pays the mortgage.
    Billboard House

    The local laundromat is growing a pindo palm (Butia capitata).  I once cautioned customers about this plant's hardiness here, but I have seen several in the area seemingly thriving on neglect.  The building in the background was once the knitting mill for which the creek was named.
    Butia capitata

    I bet these shrubs wish they had been neglected.
    Pruned

    Gloria

    Self Portrait with Flag

    In the middle of this incoherent jumble is a successful, though small, wetland restoration project.
    Stewardship

    In case you were wondering where it was...
    Center of Hope copy

    TBC

    Tobacco 4 Less

    At the end of Colley Ave. is a bridge crossing the mouth of Colley Bay.  Once on the other side the road's name changes, and you are in a decidedly different and leafier neighborhood.
    Colley Ave. Bridge

    Jamestown Crescent (2)

    Camellia japonica 'Professor Sargent'

    Jamestown Crescent

    Jamestown Crescent (4)

    Camellia

    Jamestown Crescent (3)

    Red Plinths

    Chaenomeles

    Nandina Mermaid

    On their honeymoon in his native Mississippi, Lt. Andrew Weir and his wife, gathered seedlings of Magnolia grandiflora to line the lane leading to their Norfolk home. Maybe he was homesick. Now that lane is Magnolia Ave., and I don't know how many of the original trees remain, but I always like walking under them.
    Magnolia Ave.

    At some point, someone snuck in a coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) among all the magnolias on Magnolia Ave. Maybe they were homesick as well. 
    Sequoia sempervirens

    My breakfast destination was just across the street from the Larchmont Library. I am not certain this is fact, but I think the library's architect used several early Virginia courthouses for inspiration. The library sits on waterfront property and is the site of another restored wetland. 
    Library Mermaid

    Edgewater Haven

    Inside the library's portico you can see the city of Norfolk's seal. The Latin translates to Both by land and by sea thy riches are - thou shalt grow
    Seal

    After my long walk it was time to enjoy a breakfast of French toast, caramelized apples, Virginia ham sausage and black coffee. Maybe my return walk home burned a good portion of that meal's calories.

    My Walk-Off invitation is open to all bloggers, but you're on your own for breakfast.

    76 comments:

    1. Your photos are always such a treat particularly when I view them on my iPad. I enjoyed walking with you! But I am confused: it is a walk off but we can drive to where we walk? That would work for me because my husband and I just visited the orchid display at Longwood. We drove there but then walked for the next two hours.

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      1. Don't be confused. This is the third year of the Walk-Off and I noticed that some people were going places to hike or to nearby parks. I just wanted to give it the official seal of approval. I would love to see the display at Longwood, in person or otherwise.

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    2. Do folks just like mermaids there, or is she an official (or unofficial) mascot for Norfolk?

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      1. Yes folks like mermaids, and yes the mermaid is the city's official mascot.

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    3. Thanks for sharing your winter walk through your neighborhood. Awesome idea.

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      1. I hope you will join the fun Phyllis.

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    4. What a marvelous walk from your house to town! Walking is still quite challenging in Maine but I'm managing to get out with the dog most days on my skis. There's a couple of photos of that up on my blog now. I love that you sponsor this winter walk every year and motivate people to get exercise.

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      1. Skis would count, and I don't think anyone has ever done that (hint, hint).

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    5. There is lots to see in your neighborhood. I like the descriptions too. I'll try to get a post up for your winter walk off. It's always fun!

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      1. Yes there is a lot to see here. A good part of me would like to move to the country, but I also love living in a city, even a flood-prone, sinking one.

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    6. Oh crap Les, things are growing and blooming and looking so lovely were you are. It'll be June before things are like that here. Isn't that awful. What's the deadline for the "Walk-off" post ?

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      1. You have until midnight, March 19th, the last official day of winter. When will winter end in the great white north?

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    7. Replies
      1. Yes there are. There is a particularly nice stretch on the other side of the bridge. I took more photos, but be were do discourteous as to leave their cars in the driveway, and I did not want them in the photo. I should have taken pictures during the weekday.

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    8. That's a worrying number of mermaids hung out to dry... You have some wonderful architecture around your way, shame about the butchered trees though, very depressing. I love that shot of the crab pots. I'll take some time out to wander around our neighbourhood again soon, and link back. Anything to take a break from building and painting the fence!!

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      1. Janet, I would welcome a Welsh entry.

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    9. Excited for this year's stories!

      (and within your post, so many stories.)

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      1. Mermaids seem to be popular in your town. :)

        I will try to put up a winter walk-off post if I can get interesting enough photographs.

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      2. Georgia, will there be confections this year, or maybe a jaunt from the Mother Country?

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    10. Replies
      1. Thank you Marian for being this year's first entry. I have taken the liberty to post a link to your walk-off so others can see too.
        http://marianstclair.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/a-river-runs-through-it/

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    11. I'm in!
      http://agrowingobsession.com/?p=38173

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    12. Sweetbay, mermaids are the non-traditional symbol of the city. The official symbol is a giant silver mace given to the city by the Royal Gov. back in the 1750's. It's a lot less charismatic than a mermaid.

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    13. I love Norfolk's mermaids, but then I love mermaids. ;-) Have taken my photos, but have another post to put up first, then will add my Walk-off.
      I saw this the other day and scrolled through quickly, keep thinking about that pink bike. There are lots of flea markets here...I could find a good color and.............Charlie would probably not appreciate it. hahahaha

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      1. We had an old bike at work, that had front and rear baskets attached. I don't know why, but it always reminded me of something the school marm would ride. It would have made a great planter for annuals.

        I look forward to seeing your walk-off.

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      2. My Walk-off post is up. http://thequeenofseaford.blogspot.com/2013/02/winter-walk-off-2013.html
        thanks for doing this again :-)
        word verification started off with 757.

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      3. Thank you once Janet for three years in a row! 757 was very appropriate.

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    14. Since you have assured me that I qualify, here is a link to my post called Cold Weather Antidote: Longwood's Orchids about the walk my husband and I took in the conservatories at Longwood Gardens: http://carolynsshadegardens.com/2013/02/23/cold-weather-antidote-longwoods-orchids/.

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      1. Thank you for your entry Carolyn. The orchids were fantastic, and it boggles my mind thinking about the money and labor it took to pull it off.

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    15. Hint taken, Les. I've joined your winter walk on skis! The first half of the post is in the mountains, but the second half is from my daily ski just a few miles from my house. Here's the link:

      A Narnia Winter

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      1. I can't believe how beautiful your photos are, they almost make me wish we got more winter here, just almost though.

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    16. I saw from Janet's post that it is Winter-Walk off time. We are snow-covered here and it feels like winter will never end. As always, I enjoyed your series of images. I love the picture of the drainpipe. What a great shot that is! The vine sizzles like electricity!

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      1. I think that is Trumpet Vine growing on the drainpipe. If you turn your back on it, you do so at your own risk.

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    17. Hi, Les. I joined your winter walk-off, sort of.

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      1. Thank you James. It is hard to imagine a Manhattan where people cavorted about in sleighs.

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      2. I forgot to add your link:
        http://federaltwist.com/winter-walk-off-2013/

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    18. This is a reply not only to this post, but also to the two following. I gotta keep reminding myself when I read about the lives of others it is not about me but about them. But, wow, you have a way with words, & pictures, & gardens. AND, everything you experience seems to resonate in my life. Love dogs. Maybe the best (which makes my wife cringe to hear me describe as such although she may agree) is our current dog: Beau, a standard poodle who thinks he is a hound dog. I have 5 standards buried in our backyard, a wooded area with tall oaks, in Alexandria. All are still in my heart. I feel your loss. Walk Off Winter and spring bulbs. Wow, that's the way to get out of a funk. We are going over to Chincoteague where we have a little place. Hope to see what our garden there is doing. Wonder if our bulbs there are as advanced as yours? In Alexandria, we have narcissi & daffodils in swollen near bud, but not in bloom. Hey, I bought 2 kayaks. Maybe one day we shall cross currents, if not paths. Peace. Best Wishes. Always.

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    19. Here's my Winter Walk-Off post. Better late than never! http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2013/03/today-was-two-fer.html

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    20. Hi Les, I have done my very best in very soggy conditions! http://onslowandmissb.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/every-cloud-has-golden-lining.html

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      1. I am so glad to have an entry from down under. To date the farthest anyone has ever come was South Africa.

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    21. Howdy Les, Thanks so much for finding the center of hope for us. I always wondered where that might be. Thanks also for hosting the Walk-Off! My Winter Walk-Off post is finally up. http://www.outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2013/03/winter-walk-off.html

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      1. It has taken me most of my adult life to find hope, and it is so ironic that it was right up the street from me all along. Thanks for your entry.

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    22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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      1. Hi Les,
        I am doing two Winter Walk-Offs. The first (http://thegardenerseye.blogspot.com/2013/03/vieques-winter-walk-off-2013.html) is from our vacation in Vieques, PR. The next post will follow shortly from Peterborough, NH

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      2. Two is better than one, but this one was really good. What's up with all the vacant home sites?

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      3. Les,
        I think there are so many vacant properties in part because much the island was taken over by the US Navy for most of the 20th century and much of the land never had proper titles. BTW, the second post is up now: http://thegardenerseye.blogspot.com/2013/03/peterborough-winter-walk-off-2013_5.html.

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      4. I recently caught a PBS Globe Trekker episode that spent quite a bit of time on Viegues. They mentioned the absent military, the horses and the island's attitude.

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    23. What a great idea the Winter Walk-Off is! Here is my contribution from Stirling, Scotland http://tracyrichdesign.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/winter-walk-off/

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      1. I am glad you found your way to my blog, especially with a Walk-Off post. If you are up to it, you are welcome to do a second from South America. It would be the first from that continent. no pressure though. Thanks again!

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    24. Hi Les, finally, I have got round to (a) doing and (b) posting about another winter walk, I didn't feel right just linking to the one I did last month, it felt like cheating! It's up, and now I am off to enjoy the bumper crop of contributions from this year... Thanks again for hosting, such a great idea.

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      1. I am so glad you were able to walk with me this year, but please tell how to pronounce "Llyn".

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      2. Ah, yes, tricky one. Check out this link to hear it, it is a very tricky language, Welsh, not least because it has never been standardised. So much so that I know a native Welsh speaker who comes from the Island who has to use the subtitles when she watches a Welsh soap because it is set in South Wales, and the language is really different!

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    25. I'm sneaking in just under the buzzer! Here's my post about my walk around the neighborhood. That was fun, thanks for the challenge to do it! I've been reading through your blogs, and I think I'll be a repeat visitor in the future!

      http://gardeninguptoeleven.blogspot.com/2013/03/winter-walk-off-2013.html

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      1. Renee, thanks for taking the time to participate in my Walk-Off. I believe you are the first, ever, to post from the Mojave.

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    26. I love the image of the vine growing up the drainpipe/downspout. It's a great visual for me to remember when my husband gets up set about my encouraging things to "twine" anywhere near our house. Also that Butia capitata is gorgeous!!!

      Here's my walk: http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2013/03/walking-on-wrong-side-of-tracks.html thank you for the inspiration again this year!

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      1. That vine is Campsis radicans which is extremely native here, or in other words a very common weed. The building it is growing on houses a stained glass repair shop that has been there nearly 40 years, unfortunately there is a big bank auction sign on the front window. Thanks for playing along.

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    27. Here's mine from San Antonio, Texas in which I was challenged to stick to my neighborhood.

      http://rockoakdeer.blogspot.com/2013/03/winter-walk-off-2013.html

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    28. I've enjoyed reading the other contributions, so here's mine: http://www.coldclimategardening.com/2013/03/14/winter-yielding-to-spring-a-walk-down-a-country-road/

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      1. Thanks Kathy. Your post reminds me that it is still winter in many places.

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    29. Come take a walk on the wild side with me! www.thedirtdiaries.com

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      1. There is nothing like the Carolina highlands. Thank you Lynn!

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    30. Just made the cut off! I finally took the time to blog about my very short winter walk off:

      http://plantpropaganda.wordpress.com/2013/03/17/winter-walk-off-2013/

      Happy Spring everyone!

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    31. It was a chilly winter like day today when I took my walk around downtown. Here's the link: http://genesgarden.blogspot.com/2013/03/winter-walk-off-2013.html

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      1. Gene, it is nice to see some familiar sights in your post. I got to see a lot of them on Friday as I was stuck in traffic coming back from Richmond. Thanks for participating!

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    32. My first winter walk-off. I actually took two walks - had to cut the first one short, and picked up today (with completely different weather) where I left off Friday.
      http://leafychronicles.blogspot.com/2013/03/winter-walk-off.html
      -Ray

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      1. Ray, my Walk-Off rules are very flexible, and your split post is just fine, particularly since it takes place in Alexandria.

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    33. OK-I took a chance. Better late than never. Hope to spend some time in the next few days getting around to see what others have done.

      http://idyllhaven.blogspot.com/2013/03/winter-walk-off-2013.html

      Thanks Les!

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      1. Sue, you are not late at all. If you can wait, I will be having a virtual wrap-up party later this week. All are welcome, but places of honor will be for people like you that went walking. Thank you for joining along!

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    34. local ecologist (Georgia)March 19, 2013 8:10 PM

      I'm disappointed that I can't participate this year. Thwarted by inclement weather mostly. I look forward to seeing the round-up.

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      1. Just bring cupcakes next year.

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    35. Not much growing my way, but how about a dog walk off?
      http://maisondehiboux.blogspot.com/

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      1. Don't apologize for the lack of growing plants. I think I like going to the beach, especially with dogs along, as much as I like to garden. Thanks for getting this post in.

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    36. Les, thanks for your comment! I'm excited to have won the seeds. I need your email address since for some reason your comment did not go into my email so I could reply directly and I don't see it on your blog.

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      1. Maybe it ended up in your spam filter or something, but you can reach me at:

        morehiways@cox.net

        Les

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      2. Thanks Les, you were sent to spam. I have sent you my address now.

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