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 27, 2012

The Last Saturday

I start my spring schedule this week, losing my Saturday off and working six days and both weekend days.  I always dread this change, and knowing it must come each year does not make it any easier. What does make it easier is the fact that I have much to do, and at least if I am going to be spending so many hours at work, I might as well be busy and have the time fly.

So this past Saturday was my last one off for a while, and I made it a full day. It started with waking the neighbors by giving my small patch of turf its first cut and trim of the year.  I began early because the weather forecast called for rain later on, plus I had other things planned.  My parents were flying home later in the day from a Ft. Lauderdale spring break, and they needed to be picked up at the airport.  The airport here happens to adjoin the Norfolk Botanical Gardens where the American Camellia Society was having its national convention.  So I figured on a few hours in the garden, a stroll through the camellia show, and then I would head next door to the airport.  In the late afternoon a much deserved nap was taken, followed by keg beer and grilled brats at a neighborhood cookout (in the rain under tents) ending the full day.

The gardens were busy.  Many were there for the camellia show and sale, local high school crews were competing on Lake Whitehurst, and the mild weather brought others out.  Here is a little bit of what I saw.

You don't often see agaves and azaleas (Rhododendron canescens 'Varnadoes Phlox Pink') paired.
Rhododendron canescens 'Varnadoes Phlox Pink' (2)

Rhododendron canescens 'Varnadoes Phlox Pink'

Rhododendron austrimum 'Don's Variegated'
Rhododendron austrimum 'Don's Variegated' (2)

Most of the narcissus and other spring bulbs were just finishing up, but there were still a few that were photo-worthy.

Narcissus Pot

Crocus Box

Fritillaria persica
Fritillaria persica

Fothergilla gardenii
Fothergilla gardenii

Viburnum macrocephalum
Viburnum macrocephalum

I think this is either Viburnum x burkwoodii or V. carlesii. Any thoughts?
Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk'

Many of the planting combinations around the garden included Calendula officinalis (pot marigold).
Calendula officinalis (2)

One combination I do not like is the foliage color and flower color on one of the newer redbuds, Cercis canadensis 'The Rising Sun'. The flowers are the traditional purple-pink of redbud, but the foliage comes out brozny orange maturing to chartreuse.
Cercis canadensis 'The Rising Sun'

Acer palmatum
Acer palmatum

The native dogwoods (Cornus florida) were coming to life.
Cornus florida

The colors on this mahonia's (Mahonia x media 'Charity') fruit were incredible.
Mahonia x media 'Charity'

Packera aurea (ragwort)
Packera aurea (3)

Lake Whitehurst

Loropetalum chinense 'Chang Nian Hong'

You may wonder at the lack of camellia pictures in this post. The few hours I was there the camellia show was closed for judging, and out in the garden I wasn't about take another camellia shot without knowing what I already had pictures of. Next year I will bring a list.


  1. That is one tough schedule! What a hard worker you are and what a wonderful photographer. Your photographs always put us right in the moment. What beauty and we in Texas can only dream of growing these plants. What a sea of ipheion on the previous posting. I have a few clumps and they are such a joy but a whole sea of them. Beautiful.

  2. Looks like the Carlesii outside our bedroom, except the inflorescences seem a little small. Guess I don't know after all. But it sounds like a great day.

  3. Wow, two garden parties in one day... both somewhat intoxicating! Your photos of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens gave me a welcomed kick. I agree with you about the Cercis canadensis 'The Rising Sun.' It just doesn't look right.

  4. That dogwood really was covered with pollen. Ah, spring.
    Thanks for the brief walk through the NBG.
    Did you ever get/plant that Black Rice seed?

  5. How can you not love the Fothergilla! The last photo. Is that a sculptured crape myrtle without the leaves and next to it a Weeping Prunus with the white blooms?
    Sounds like you had a great last day off. Nice images.

  6. Hope the busy season treats you well. I know I'm always faced with too much to do and not enough time or resources. But it's always all good. Count your blessings.

    Love the agave and azalea. And why does crocus in a box remind me of SNL?

  7. Hi Les, I imagine your job is not as fun as it might sound at first blush. Your photos of NBG are fantastic. I loved seeing pictures of spaces I feel like I know very well, but your photos bring out beautiful views I would not necessarily notice.

  8. Wow. I need to come down from that! Your photos are so amazing. We don't see most of those flowers out here in California. Thanks for the tour!

  9. I definitely agree about the redbud. Color combo is just jarring. Great pictures.

  10. Looks to be carlesii but the size of the shrub would be a give away as it is much smaller. Both have a wonderful fragrance.

  11. I really enjoyed the Garden Tour.
    Wonderfully beautiful photography!
    Have a great day!
    Lea's Menagerie

  12. I have what I believe is Burkwood viburnum and it is evergreen. The plant is getting quite large and its profuse flowers were intensely fragrant this year. The viburnum in your picture doesn't look very leafy so that would suggest ruling out Burkwood.

    Here in Petersburg we are, like Tidewater, experiencing a months-long display of loropetalum blooms. Amazing!

  13. Hi Les, The one thing that always made me hesitate about a career in the plant world was knowing that the spring/early summer season might be something I might come to dread. Your schedule sounds exhausting. At least you are doing something you love. Great pictures as always. At least you had nice last day of spring freedom.

  14. Hi Les, Just discovered your wonderful blog through Michael at Bramble & Bean. Your photography is incredible, I think I'll set up camp and stay here this afternoon.

  15. And this schedule comes just when you wish to be busy in your own garden doesn't it? Beautiful photos. Wishing you days filled with great customers and lots of gratification, not to mention flower.s

  16. Isn't that funny? I have that redbud, and it's the star of an area of shaded lawn. Just goes to show . . . .

    I also grow that tiny daffodil, but can't remember its name. It was mostly hidden in some other things, but I got its photo the other day. I love your photos. They are beautiful.~~Dee

  17. Isn't that funny? I have that redbud, and I love it. We all like such different things. Its foliage is now chartreuse.

    I also grow that daffodil, the small one, and I nearly lost it in some other foliage, but I got a pic the other day. I love your photos Les. They are so nice. Sorry your schedule is crazy in spring.~~Dee

  18. Hi Les! These are stunning photos!! I especially love the Acer palmatum and the two photos below it. A beautiful tour. I hope you have a great new season and that you do not work too hard.

  19. I like to see Agaves with unlikely, flowery partners. That Agave, whatever it is, is very nice.

    My tiniest daffodils are blooming now too. Oddly, they just started. The big ones went kaput a month ago.