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.

November 7, 2010

Williamsburg Walkabout

Yesterday the three of us, plus the two dogs headed to Colonial Williamsburg for our semi-annual (we missed last year) fall foliage pilgrimage. Most of the trees were still very colorful and as no frost has yet occurred, there were a few flowers blooming as well. We never buy a ticket, but just wander the streets, shop a little and have lunch. It is a great place to people-watch, but we were able to people-meet too. So many came up to us because of the dogs, especially about Penny. Everyone wanted to know what she was and then immediately told us what kind of dog they had, how they wished him or her was with them, where they lived and some tidbit about their life that had nothing to do with dogs.

Enough about canines, let's get on with the walk. Perhaps the most stunning foliage was from the various Maples.

Duke of Gloucester Maple (2)

Courthouse Maple

Peyton Randolph House

I also enjoy the Catalpas, though they are not usually listed as having good fall foliage, they were a nice clear yellow and the pods are fun.

Wythe House


The Dogwoods are usually one of the first trees to color-up in the fall, but many were still looking good, including this one in the Bruton Parrish churchyard. Other plants also did a fine job of decorating the venerable church.

Bruton Parrish Dogwood

Bruton Parrish Steeple

There were several plantings of Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) that were offering nice color.

Hydrangea quercifolia (2)

Hydrangea quercifolia

Growing on the fence of the St. George Tucker house was this little red Morning Glory. I think it is Ipomea coccinea. This is one of my favorite houses in the historic area, mainly for its unusual colors, but also for the architecture which reminds me of the houses on the Eastern Shore.

Ipomea coccinea

The St. George-Tucker House

Next door to this house is one of many large Boxwood plantings seen around Williamsburg.

Nichols St.

Just on the edge of the historic area is the William and Mary campus, and the picture below is of an area known as the Sunken Garden. Patrick Henry set up a camp on this spot during the revolution to fight the British, but on Saturday the only confrontation occurred between co-ed flag football teams.

The Sunken Garden

Close by was a fence supporting Purple Hyacinth Beans (Dolichos lablab).

Dolichos lablab

Across the street is the Adams Garden which this blog has visited before. I really like the fact that many of the plants are more exotic compared with what is typically grown in the historic area, and that I did not notice any boxwood either.

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

The Adams Garden - Salvia elegans (2)

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)

The Adams Garden - Eriobotrya japonica

Ginger Lily (Hedychium coronarium)

The Adams Garden - Hedychium coronarium

After the Adams Garden it was time to eat and time for a dog incident. While waiting outside for our lunch to arrive, I saw a couple eating with greyhounds leashed to their chairs. When the woman got up her metal chair either fell over or was pulled over by her dog. The noise startled the dog who ran off down the street still leashed to the chair clanging loudly behind. The woman followed the speeding hound and chair for blocks until it was eventually stopped. After that I double checked how my own dogs were tied, but with food arriving Penny and Loretta weren't about to go anywhere.

(You can see my whole Williamsburg photo set here.)


  1. wonderful walk through Bill-burg. Thanks for sharing. There is a maple tree just off the parkway that is always a blaze of glory. It is the exit where Bennett's Creek Nursery is...think it is the Rt. 199 exit. Just gorgeous.
    Love the photo of the Ginger, nice angle. My Oakleaf isn't red as much as it is burgundy. New to me, it might turn redder as the season evolves.
    I am loving the fall foliage.

  2. What a magnificent blue sky to shoot against. I love how the sky, yellow, and orange contrast in photo 1. And I love the warmer tones of the spire and yellow flowers in photo 7.

  3. After our hot, dry summer, I wasn't expecting much in the way of fall color around here this year. Like you, I have captured many fine examples ... with more still out there to marvel at as I drive from place to place.

    I'm glad the poor frightened hound was eventually caught safely. I teach folks to put their dogs' leash around their ankle or upper elbow while they eat, if they have to.

  4. Magnificent photos and magnificent color. Williamsburg is a beautiful place.

    I bet the dog incident caused quite a stir!

  5. I really enjoyed this series. A trip to Williamsburg for the Autumn color and again during the holidays was a tradition for us when we still lived in Virginia Beach.

  6. What a great way to spend a day with the family & dogs. Love all the fall color you spotted and captured for us. :)

  7. Les, I've never been to Williamsburg~although every Southern middle schooler gets to go on a trip there! I love seeing it through your eyes and truthfully, I love the trees and plants. Your photos are as always a delight! What a scary indicent for the woman and her dog~gail

  8. Janet,
    I think I know which maple you are talking of. We took the parkway home and there were cars pulled over to look at it.

    We were forecasted to have a chance of showers, so I thought I would be shooting against grey skies.

    I thought about you when I saw all this take place. The couple put the dogs into a Subaru with Greyhound Rescue license plates.

    Yes it is a beautiful place, but often crowded. Thankfully it was not so when we visited.

    Rocket Man,
    I would imagine that the scenery where you live would be hard to beat.

    I would hope that you could get there often as close as you are. Although we are not that far, it is always a gamble with the tunnel.

    Here in Va. we got to go in elementary school. It was the highlight of our 4th grade year.


  9. I enjoyed the trip to Williamsburg. It has been a long time since I have been there. Lovely images and great fall color. I have to admit, I liked Loretta's video the best. Quite the opera star.

  10. Inquiring minds want to know what kind of dog Penny is? I seem to remember you have hounds? The fall foliage in VA is lovely. You took great pictures despite all the abundant sunshine. I feel that woman's pain with chasing her dog down. At first I thought you were going to say they got into a fight with yours. I've had that happen before where my dog was attacked by another's dog. Not nice at all. Enjoy the fall! P.S. The dogwoods looked really good here this year too. I love those guys-just not in my yard because they don't do well.

  11. Stunning colour against a clear blue blue sky! Great shots too!

  12. We were just in Colonial Wlliamsburg in mid-October. The foliage was just beginning to turn, but it was still beautiful. We try to go twice a year as well, but don't always make it. I posted some photos of our trip on my blog at

  13. What a great walkabout, and with that jolt of excitement at the end, but good to know the dogs are OK. Our pup would have elbowed out Loretta & Penny at the table when they looked up to watch the greyhound dash down the street.

  14. Your travelogues keep getting better and better. I have a soft spot for this town, my hometown, and you captured the essence of fall on a beautiful day. How divine!

  15. Wow – the bright foliage is spectacular against the blue sky! Thanks for bringing color to my grey day. The gardens are lovely too. Nice you could bring the dogs too.

  16. Great pictures as always Les...and so true about the dogs (being missed). We just returned from 4 days in Nashville and while visiting a nursery we met their dog. We were missing our Lila so much we must have looked a bit creepy how much time we spent petting and talking to their dog.

  17. Beautiful post...I'm so jealous, I've always wanted to visit Colonial Williamsburg...I even bought a "Gardens of Colonial Williamsburg" book a few years ago :-)

  18. GWGT,
    Miss Loretta had surgery on her ear the week before the walkabout, but she was anxious to get out of the house.

    Penny is a Walker hound. Walkers look like tall thin beagles, or a smaller American foxhound. Around here they are used to hunt deer, typically in packs. However they make great pets too.

    Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    Thanks for the link, I will soon be visiting.

    It would take more than next door commotion from other dogs to break their attention from food.

    I am glad you enjoyed the tour. I think all Virginians have a soft spot for Williamsburg. I often try to imagine what the place would look and be like without all the restoration efforts.

    I am glad you enjoyed the trip. And yes the colors were very nice, much more so in person.

    Were you able to get to Cheekwood while you were in Nashville, or the Parthenon? I have been that creepy person fawning over other people's dogs.

    I have the same book. It's not my favorite gardening style, but it looks nice in other people's yards.


  19. Hello, Tidewater Gardener - I love reading your blog. Your photos of Wms.burg are amazingly beautiful. Sounds like a fun trip. Makes me want to go there for a visit also. See ya soon I hope!

  20. Thank you for sharing that. The colors are so much more dramatic than where I live.

  21. Dickeye,
    I hope to see you Christmas day if not before, thanks for stopping by.

    I am glad you enjoyed it.

    Fall is usually very colorful here, though the rest of the state gets more attention for theirs.


  22. Dear Les, Thank you for bringing back happy memories - my husband and I spent our honeymoon in Williamsburg many moons ago. After all, Virginia is for lovers!

    I love catalpas, but I must say that since we were forced to remove two dangerous ones, I don't miss the mess of the beans on the lawn.

    Beautiful pictures. Pam

  23. Pam,
    I am glad to have brought you fond memories. I think Catalpas are one of those trees that I appreciate in other people's yard.


  24. Just beautiful! I guess now that I've lived 30% of my life in the South, it's time for this to be on my "must visit" list....your photos have made it that much more so!

  25. Ah, taking me back to the Fall I was there a few years ago. I am seeing some of the same trees and plants. Thanks for the trip down memory lane....

    I would be one of those chatting with you about your dogs! The Saint and I are so drawn to pets that we just walk right up to strangers and start chatting. We can tell when people are annoyed and we move on. We can also tell when a happy pet owner wants to chat. Guess this is something I get from my Southern Roots. Hee hee… The Greyhound running with the chair is so funny. I have seen that scene before on TV but not in person. Too funny….