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 20, 2017

Winter Walk-Off 2017

     Test 1-2-3, Test 1-2-3. Good, I am glad to see this thing's still working. It's been a while since I used it, but I couldn't let this time of year go by without celebrating my Winter Walk-Off meme. Truth be told, we haven't had much of a winter to walk off. Though I am no fan of the cold, I do wish we were having more normal weather. The plants are about 3 weeks ahead of schedule, and technically, winter is not over yet and could come back to bite us. Yesterday, I made my walk-off with temperatures pushing 70 under clear blue skies, and the extended forecast looks decidedly more like early spring than late winter. The weather is what the weather is, and no amount of complaining or rejoicing has ever swayed it one bit. Now on with the walk-off.

As always, 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 destination that's OK too). Your post does not have to be about gardening or a travelogue (though I do like both), 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 me a link and comment here when your post is up. If you have recently written something similar, 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, who are welcome to join in).
  • Everyone who participates will have a chance to win one of two prizes, and this year a totally disinterested teenager will not be randomly drawing the winning names, as the totally disinterested teenager is away at school, and will only be considered a teenager for another half year or so, though I don't know when, if ever, he will become undisinterested. One participant will win a $25 gift certificate from Brent and Becky's Bulbs. The other winner will receive an assortment of botanically themed cards, handmade by my better half. I'll probably use a random number generator. I will contact each winner, and mail the prizes once the Walk-Off is over. 


  • I hope these guidelines are simple enough to sway you to join in, because the more, the merrier.

    *****

         I started this year's walk-off where I left off last year, biking through a couple of the areas between Ghent and downtown. I started my ride in Chelsea, which like much of Norfolk, is becoming less gritty than it once was, though some of that grit might have just relocated to hipster beards. Chelsea was once an industrial area offering support services to the local docks and shipyards. Some of that still goes on, but now there is also a brewery, restaurants, tattoo parlors, and pop ups. While I welcome the change, I also worry that there may be fewer electricians, longshoremen, pipe fitters, and welders, but more baristas and waiters. The difference in pay grades is probably not good for the city.
    Chelsea (1)

    Chelsea (2)

    Chelsea (10)

    Chelsea (9)

    Chelsea (8)

         Until this fall, the bike trail I take downtown had been closed for several years due to the construction a second Midtown Tunnel. This region has nearly as many tunnels going under various waterways as it has bridges going over, and often you get bridges and tunnels in combination. If you are ever to visit, please know it is strongly encouraged to maintain, or even slightly exceed, the posted speed limit through the tunnel; you will indeed make it to the other side, and will live another day - trust us, we do it all the time.
    Midtown Tunnel (1)

         After leaving Chelsea, and crossing over the tunnel entrance, I headed to Plum Point Park, which offers nice views of the harbor, and where a beautiful collection of what some call weeds were blooming.
    Plum Point (1)

    Plum Point (3)

         Getting closer to downtown, I crossed over Smith Creek. Facing each other across the creek in between are PETA and NOAA. Other than acronyms, they don't have much in common, yet seem to be good neighbors.
    Acronyms

         This building is now home to very expensive and tasteful condos. In the early 80's it was a different place. I went to a party there in an apartment where every vertical surface, and a few of the horizontals, had been used as a canvas; the Talking Heads were playing on the stereo. The party eventually migrated to the rooftop - good times.
    West York

         Speaking of good times, the lower building below is now an architectural firm, but was once home to a popular watering hole called the Operating Room. Directly across the street was another called the Recovery Room.
    Botetourt

         The remainder of my ride took place in the Freemason neighborhood of Norfolk, which is one of the city's oldest and best preserved. In it you can find commercial and residential architecture representing three centuries. It's southern edge was once home to harborside warehouses, a few of which have been converted into condos, while the rest were razed to make way for new townhouses.
    Yarmouth

    West Freemason (4)

    West Freemason (2)

    Norfolk Boat Club

    West Freemason

    West Bute (2)

    West Bute

    College Place (1)

    Freemason Harbor

         Just on the other side of the Pagoda, downtown proper starts, and my Winter Walk-Off ends. I would have shown you more of the Pagoda, but this blog has been there several times, besides it is one of the last places still lousy with people playing Pokemon Go, like zombies they are.
    Pagoda

         I do hope you will play along with me this year; I look forward to seeing your posts. 

    36 comments:

    1. Oh gosh, I so enjoy this meme! It looks like your late winter is stunningly beautiful and warm. So is mine, for once. I'm getting ready for a trip next week, so I'll plan to participate sometime after the first week of March. We are having warm days in the 60s for a week--very strange for Wisconsin in February. So no one would believe it's Wisconsin if I did my post this week! ;-)

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    2. I think the warm weather, and early spring is a common thing this year. I am looking forward to your post. Florida?

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      1. Hey Les: I'm sneaking in with my post at the last minute. Thanks for hosting!
        https://plantpostings.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-mild-winter-walk-off.html

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      2. So glad you were able to make it! Thanks Beth!

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    3. Looks like a retirement spot for mermaids! Beth is right about our crazy WI weather. I am assuming winter is still coming back and leaving the garden alone.

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      1. If I had never heard anything about climate change and global warming, I would probably be loving this weather, but I can't help wondering if it just an anomaly, or a sign of something else.

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    4. Yay! I'm so glad you're continuing this fun. I must say I'm jealous of your blue sky and sun. Here in the PNW we seem to be stuck in the winter that won't go away.

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      1. Though our temps have been higher, we have also had a series of gray days with no sun as well.

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    5. I miss Tidewater, your photos always remind me of that. Three mermaids, excellent!
      Am writing a post now. Will be up later tonight or tomorrow.

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      1. I must say, I thought of you when I noticed how many mermaids made it into my Walk-Off.

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    6. Ok Les, got it written.
      http://thequeenofseaford.blogspot.com/2017/02/winter-walk-off-2017-spoiler-alert.html

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    7. Cool walk! I'm envious of those blue skies. I'm in for your winter walk. This year it will be easier since there is no snow in England. I posted a walk today, but it's an hour away by car so I'll post another from our sabbatical home later.

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      1. Crazy weather for February here today. It was 80 with crystal clear blue skies. The populace in tee shirts and shorts. I look forward to your Walk-Off.

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    8. Glad you are back for the Winter Walk Off. I'm without a blog to enter but a dutiful reader. It's a little unsettling to see the sparkling commuter train going by the magnificent old buildings. I know its progress, but still. I could have believed the cranes in the harbor were the port of Seattel, except ours are orange or white.
      The sale boat in the window: I love that perfect symmetry.
      The mermaids: they need a dedicated post, and I need a mermaid.

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      1. I welcome the light rail. Unfortunately, our neighboring city has rejected it, led primarily by their city treasurer who was incensed that taxpayer money would go for it. Everyone should have a mermaid. Thank you for following along.

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    9. Is that a cherry tree in full bloom? Wow!
      We're a few hours west of you, in the Shenandoah Valley, so a few degrees cooler. Ours are budding but no blooms yet. Not that it will matter when the winter comes back... buds die as well as blooms.
      I'll have to take a walk through the local campus next weekend. The landscapers do lovely work.

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      1. That is a cherry, Okame. It is always the first of the year to bloom for us, usually in late winter (early March), but everything is so early here this year. I am a little concerned. Thanks for commenting.

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    10. Inspired by Janet, The Queen of Seaford, I thought I'd join in on your Winter Walkout 2017. I'm not sure how to link, but here's the url: http://gaiagarden.blogspot.com/2017/02/winter-walkout-2017.html

      This was a lot of fun. Thanks for hosting it. I love the nautical themes in your walkout and (amazingly enough) almost found myself envious of your more urban setting! My favorite photo, though, is the one looking up to the brick gable with the model of the sailing ship in the window. That one really stirs my imagination somehow.

      Cynthia, aka Gaia gardener

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      1. Cynthia, thank you for joining my winter Walk-Off. I look forward to reading your post, and following along. I like the sailboat too. The window was only steps from the harbor, and it was if that boat was trapped behind glass where it could always see the water, but could never do what boats are meant for.

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    11. I was excited to see this post! I enjoy this series. I was struck by the blues (color) in your photographs.

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      1. I hope you walk along again this year, Georgia. We have been enjoying a spate of blue skies, at least until today.

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    12. Hi Les, here's a double winter walk off: Popham Beach, Maine & University Parks, Oxford UK: http://blog.sarahlaurence.com/2017/03/a-winter-walk-in-maine-vs-england.html Thanks for hosting!

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      1. A double Walk-Off, and bridging the ocean as well. I am delighted. Thank you for joining me once again.

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    13. Alright, I made the deadline this year!

      http://pieceofeden.blogspot.com/2017/03/winter-walk-off-to-whole-lot-of-agaves.html

      Your neighborhood walks are always so historic and varied. I enjoy them a lot, seeing places and a climate so different. My neighborhood is a little different this year in that we have finally gotten some good winter rain.

      Happy walking!

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      1. Thank you HB! I look forward to reading your post.

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    14. Always a pleasure to see more of your historic city! What is that beautiful color in the sky and the bright light that seems to be shining on everything in your post? Rain, clouds, fog, and cold temperatures have hung around here for months. Thanks for continuing to host winter walk-off.
      Made it just under the deadline this year. http://outlawgarden.blogspot.com/2017/03/winter-walk-off-2017.html

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      1. Peter, we have had our share of gray skies here too, often weeks at a time, so I relish the blue. Unfortunately, the last week our blue skies have been accompanied by bitter winds and cold, which has singed much of the new growth brought on by previous warm temps. Thank you very much for joining in my Walk-Off; I look forward to your post.

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    15. Hi ya! My Winter Walk-Off went up this morning. No blue sky to be seen for miles.
      http://www.thedangergarden.com/2017/03/my-winter-walk-off-2017-style-downtown.html

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      1. Thank you Loree for joining in. You will need to read my comment to Peter about the nature of blue skies here lately. I will head over very soon to read your post.

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    16. Here I am, just in the nick of time. https://phillipoliver.blogspot.com/2017/03/winter-walk-off.html Your sunny photos and blue skies are very cheery compared to the damp and dreary conditions here!

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      1. Thanks for walking with me Phillip. I am sure you realized that when you left the sunny South, that damp and dreary was a possibility.

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    17. Hi Les, greetings from across the pond! I found you via Loree's wonderful walk around Portland and I love your idea for this meme. I blogged a walk around my neighbourhood earlier in February, which I'd like to add if I may? I see we have cherry blossom in common on our walks, though I have none of the grand architecture and fabulous views you found on your walk. However, I found even a modern housing estate here in England can have a few surprises! http://vegplotting.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/weekend-wandering-post-doris-walk.html

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      1. By all means, you are welcome to join in. I believe in recycling posts, and I really appreciate anything from across the pond; I am a bit of an anglophile. Thank you for joining!

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      2. Always happy to meet an anglophile! I love those mermaids you found on your walk :)

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