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.

March 25, 2011

A Week That Was

This past week was a very busy and exhausting one for me and is likely the last one to include two days off for a couple of months. I got to experience 2 hours of brutalization in the dentist's chair where not one, not two, but three applications of Novocaine were required. I also filmed a spot for the city of Suffolk's cable TV channel loosely about Historic Garden Week. On Thursday I got my second shot at live television and appeared on The Hampton Roads Show. There were also a few more pleasant and less taxing moments including being able to meet Gene and give him his prize from my Winter Walk Off. I also enjoyed delicious food and good company at Fellini's with my family and Virginia's newest and my favorite Certified Child Birth Educator along with her accomplished artist partner fresh from a well-received show at the Courthouse Galleries.

On Friday I debated between spending my day off unwinding with a long bike ride or in my neglected garden. The bike trip appealed to me more, and I choose to head to Old Towne Portsmouth where this blog has been before. In order to get to Portsmouth by bike I had to ride downtown and hop the ferry. My timing could not have been better. As the ferry left Norfolk, the Harry S. Truman was heading upriver to dry dock for several months, creating lots of photo ops for this blogger. Also on the ferry was a very chatty man who worked at the shipyard and filled me in on all the details. He was concerned about a terrorist attack and was perplexed that the armed helicopter gun ships were not in sight. He told me all the aircraft carriers and all of our subs are nuclear powered, and given how many of each are floating on or under local waters at any given moment, it made me ponder the situation, especially in light of recent news on the nuclear energy front. Whatever, I enjoyed the sight of such a massive construction being pushed and pulled between the two cities dwarfing all in sight.
The Truman Heads to Drydock (03)

The Truman Heads to Drydock (06)

The Truman Heads to Drydock (15)
Just steps from the river is Old Towne Portsmouth, and though it's leafy streets and hsitoric architecture might seem a world away from aircraft carriers and loud river traffic, this town owes its existance to what happens on and around the water.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
Acer rubrum
Camellia japonica
Camellia japonica (3)
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Cornus florida
Hyacinths in the park
Hyacinth in the Park

Hyacinth in the Park (2)
Kerria japonica
Kerria japonica

Middle St. Garden

Spring Combo
This is the only time of year I really care for Golden Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus 'Aureo-marginatus').
Spring Gold

Yoshino on Middle St (2)
My weeks are not always so full, and I am good with that. Perhaps this week I can actually get some work done in the garden.

(my complete photo set is here)


  1. 3 shots of novicaine, ouch!

    Portsmouth is looking beautiful. I have a Red Maple near our hay shelter that looks like the one in this post. It's amazing. The shot with the Starflowers is so lovely.

  2. You are not alone in the campaign against Crape Murder!

  3. Really glad you met Gene, hope he gets more traffic on his blog now.
    Looks like it was a perfect day to go on the ferry and take in Portsmouth. Kerria is appealing to me more and more....I do know it suckers and spreads, but not so quickly.

  4. Fabulous shots, Les! You're making me homesick, especially since spring has barely touched us here and it actually snowed this morning!

    Re: the shipyard worker's concerns. I'm a former outside machinist at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co (pre-Grumman). I helped build 688(I) Los Angeles class fast attack subs and even did a little work on Nimitz Class carriers. Yes, they are nuclear powered but a terrorist would have to get through an awful lot of armor plate and HY80 steel to get at one of those power plants.

  5. I enjoyed coming along with on your bike ride through your photographs. ( garden work will always be there waiting for you to return) I like the way you managed to put the aircraft carrier on the horizon line of your shots. This composition really captures the scale of the ship in a striking way. Portsmouth with all the lovely spring flowers looks beautiful.

  6. Your photography is, as always, so very beautiful. Spring just hasn't sprung for us yet up here, so your Portsmouth photos are very welcome indeed. That shot of the red maple is particularly beautiful!

  7. Sounds like the perfect way to shed a busy week - your dentist adventures sound horrific. I've always loved busy harbours, my Nan used to take me down to Southampton Docks on the bus and we'd cross Southampton Water on the old chain ferry watching the cranes and boats. I'm not sure I would have been able to tear myself away to cycle on past all the lovely plants. Hope you get a good week for gardening this week. And no teeth related issues!

  8. Holy smokes! That ship is more like a floating city it's so big! I really like those long shots of the gardens. The red maple is gorgeous. And congrats again on the tv appearance!

  9. Outstanding shots as always. I also enjoyed your tv spot. At least the woman interviewing you was somewhat knowledgeable. We have a similar segment on our local news and the woman who asks the questions is totally clueless. You won't believe some of the things she asks!

  10. The last show I did, the woman interviewing me told me she hated gardening. I have to laugh when I hear about others out there like you promoting in a world of bizzaro behavior!!!!

  11. Really enjoyed your tour as always. I wish spring would come here. All the flowers on my Corylopsis froze and that's never happened before.

  12. Beautiful! I'm so glad you decided to take the ferry and a bike ride after your stressful week as it sounds like you needed to escape. I can almost smell spring wafting from your screen. I also loved your marsh photos in the post below. You are looking forward to summer and I'm just waiting for the snow to melt. Thanks for warming me up. Sorry to be late to visit - I've been having internet problems.

  13. Sorry to hear about your dental woes. That can be really painful. You managed to transcend that with some excellent photographs (as always). I thought we were well into Springtime but your pictures remind me that I've still got many flowers to look forward to...

  14. Les, You made the right choice. I think you're a week ahead of us up north in Gloucester County. No dogwood in bloom at all in these parts. Loved the interview!

  15. Lucky you to see the Ship coming into port! Pictures tell of a wonderful day with your bike...

  16. Looks like you had a very busy week Les. I guess the bikeride was a more relaxing way to spend your day off. Hope your garden gets some attention soon. ;)

  17. Sweetbay,
    The Red Maples have been amazing here this spring, more colorful than I can remember. They are still that way.

    Thanks for your support in the cause.

    As much woods as you have or border, Kerria would be a good addition. Even though it suckers, I don't think it's invasive.

    I have few fears for terrorists concerning the local nuclear fleet. Mother Nature and human error are more of a concern, but I know that people on these ships are thoroughly trained, more so than the equivalent in the private sector.

    It is one week later, and I still have not got the garden work done. Oh well.

    I took loads of pics of that maple. It was particularly colorful.

    You would like it here, a very, very busy harbor indeed.

    Yes it was big. The river barely holds it and the ship can only come in at certain tides.

    I provided the topic ahead of time and she was real good about pulling questions from it. The only thing we missed was my 2 cents for using organic garden products.

    Well I bet that set things off to a good start to hear her say that.

    I have never seen Corylopsis freeze, and I know it has seen freezing weather. I am sorry for your loss.

    It smelled like spring for a while here, but now we have returned to winter, albeit a mild one.

    Spring has been on hold all week. We even had some damage at work on some tender growth, but all will recover.

    Thank you for your comment on the interview. I drove to the Eastern Shore today and they are about 2 weeks behind south Hampton Roads.

    I was lucky. When the man on the ferry told me what was about to happen, I felt like a little kid.

    The garden will have to wait one more week.


  18. Nice post, but even more fun to see and hear you talk gardening. Just read a garden book by a woman named Linden Hawthorne, and now I discover that you, too, have the perfect name for your vocation/avocation: Parks!

  19. I love prowling around our harbor, any harbor really, so enjoyed your day off!