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 24, 2013

2013 Walk-Off Wrap-Up

By the calendar spring is here, by the senses God gave me not so much. In fact, we had snow flurries this past week, and it is sleeting as I write this, both very unusual for Tidewater in March.  Although winter came late here, after it arrived it decided to stick around, and I for one am ready for this long stretch of cold, gray and wet to be over with.

On a brighter note, this was the best year yet for my Winter Walk-Off.  I had 23 entries, significantly more than either of the two previous years. From the humid tropics to snowy corners of the States, and several place in between, I received some really diverse posts. Since I had so many this year I will list them in the order they were received.

#1 - Marian in Greenville, South Carolina
Marian takes us to Falls Park in downtown Greenville, where this Upcountry city's history is celebrated with the very graceful and modern Liberty Bridge crossing the Reedy River.

#2 - Denise in southern California
Past a cute little bungalow, street-side agaves and hanging Moroccan lanterns, Denise takes us to a community garden where sweet peas are blue and cauliflower is purple.

#3 - Carolyn in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
If you have never been to Longwood Gardens, you need to go.  Until then you will have to let Carolyn's walk through its conservatory during this year's Orchid Extravaganza suffice.

The Pavillion 

#4 - Janet in Greenwood, South Carolina
Janet, a.k.a. The Queen of Seaford, contributed the first post this year to include canines. Unfortunately, her faithful companion Monroe is walking in a differnt place this year. The Queen and her four-legged buddies have walked in all three of my Winter Walk-Offs.

A first for my Winter Walk-Off, Sarah gives us an entry on skis as she makes her way through a snowy, but very beautiful landscape with her daughter.

#6 - James in New York City
James has given us another Walk-Off first, a multi-part post linked by subway.  His entry takes us to Union Square, Wall Street, the Bowery, and gives us a chance to see the Empire State Building dressed for St. Patrick's Day.

The Pavillion (2) 

#7 - Alison in Bellvue, Washington
Killing two birds with one stone, Alison takes us on a walk through the Bellvue Botanical Garden, where she also took advantage of the Northwest Perennial Alliance's March Mania Plant Sale. I like multi-tasking, but don't linger too long, moss may start to grow on you.

#8 - Marissa in Brisbane in Queensland, Australia
Thanks to Marissa we have an entry from the other side of the globe and the other side of the equator where her post became a summer walk-off. Her sub-tropical environment includes a plant I'd like to know better,  Xanthostemon chrysanthus (Golden Penda).

#9 - The Outlaw Gardener in Tacoma, Washington
There are few things I enjoy more than looking at gardens, but one of those things is architecture. I particularly enjoy ecclesiastical architecture, and The Outlaw has given us varied samples to look at as he takes us on a walk around Tacoma.

Signs of a Flood

#10 - Michael in Vieques, Puerto Rico
Given how miserable March has been this year, I thank Michael for giving us palm trees, warm sandy beaches, bananas, breadfruit and blooming bougainvillea

#11 - Michael in Peterborough, New Hampshire
After leaving sunny Puerto Rico, Michael took us on another walk once he got back home.  This is our second stop in snowy New England, but that's OK, as Peterborough looks good in snow.

#12 - Tracy in Stirling, Scotland
In this post, Tracy walks through her city of Stirling. Along the way we see a pyramid, chimney pots, a beheading stone, a bowling green, good architecture, bad architecture and Auld Staneybreeks.


#13 - Janet in Cemaes, Wales
Janet is fortunate to live in a very beautiful part of the world. Cemaes is the most northerly village in Wales and it sits beside Cemaes Bay. The coastline is rugged here, and Janet walks along the beach, but don't expect palm trees.

#14 - Renee in the Mojave Desert of California
I don't think I have ever had a post from the Mojave on the Winter Walk-Off, but I am glad that Renee has shared. I was surprised by the diversity of the landscaping in her neighborhood, and glad to see I am not the only person suffering from zone denial.

#15 - Loree in Portland, Oregon
Loree crosses the tracks (so to speak) for us in this post, in that she walked where she does not normally go. If you know Loree, it is all about the plants, and this post in no different, but we also get to see a few other things as well.

Golden Cypress (2)

#16 - Shirley in San Antonio, Texas
Shirley lives in a unique neighborhood, and her entry shows it off nicely.  One of her neighbors has installed a railroad in the front yard, but I think the most interesting aspect of her walk are all the live oaks.  They are one of my favorite trees.

#17 - Kathy in New York State
In Kathy's part of the world she is between two seasons, icicle season and mud season. She takes us on a walk along the country lanes near her house.  If you have never visited Kathy, make sure you note the on-line list of garden blogs she has complied, which was a great help to me when I first started blogging.

#18 - Lynn in the Mountains of North Carolina
Southern Appalachia is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet, and Lynn is lucky enough to live there.  Her walk takes us through ferny forests and past waterfalls, mind the bears though.

Duck Blind

#19 - Kaveh in Baywood-Los Osos, California
Speaking of genetic diversity, I have enjoyed following Kaveh's blog for a few years now. He shows plants very unfamiliar to me, plus he lives on a beautiful part of the California coast.

#20 - Gene in Hampton, Virginia
Like Janet, (the Queen of Seaford) Gene is a three-time participant in my Winter Walk-Off.  This year he takes us to downtown Hampton, probably the oldest English speaking city in the Country.

#21 - Ray in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is another Virginia city steeped in history, and unfortunately it is often overshadowed by its up-start neighbor across the Potomac.  Ray shows us why any visitor to Washington should make time for a quick subway ride under the river to the other shore.

Bronze Cypress

#22 - Sue in Wethersfield, Connecticut
Virginia is not the only place rich in American History. Between snowfalls and between tourist seasons, Sue shows us another historic community. Form an image in your mind of a picturesque New England town, and Wethersfield will likely be a good match.

#23 - Hwylo in Coastal Carolina
It is fitting that the last entry includes two of my favorite things - dogs and the beach.  The pictures of canines frolicking in the surf are supplemented with a spring update from the natural world along the Carolina coast.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to participate this year, and I also want to thank all who are just walking vicariously.  Now on to the rich swag.

As is tradition, I have a thoroughly disinterested teenager randomly draw two names from all of the walkers and send them prizes.  I don't think the prizes make anyone participate who wouldn't already, it just adds to the fun. This year's winners are:
  • Sue of Connecticut, who has won a set of handmade cards, crafted and donated by my wife.
  • Shirley of San Antonio, who has won several packs of heirloom seed varieties.
Sue and Shirley, congratulations!  I will be in touch to get your mailing addresses.


(All of the pictures in this wrap-up were from a walk I took last Sunday at my parent's house along the shore of Metompkin Bay on Virginia's beautiful Eastern Shore. Being next to the chilled water, the landscape here is never quick to shed its winter cloak.)


  1. Thank you Les for the chance to see so many different places through blogs. I'm excited to have won the seeds!

    I see there are some posts I have missed and will be checking those out shortly too.

    1. You are quite welcome Shirley. I have not made it to the post office yet, but hopefully very soon.

  2. It was fun to take part! Thanks for the chance, Les!

  3. I enjoyed your walk on Metompkin Bay. The photos really are nice at this time of year.

    1. I was actually hoping to see a little less of winter on my walk.

  4. Terrific uptake on your walkabout challenge. I'm not doing as much walking in my 'hood until it warms up a bit more. What you consider a landscape late in shedding its winter cloak, is something I'm yearning for, as winter still has us in its grip.

    1. Sybil, I know winter is all relative.

  5. Les, thank you so much! It was fun strolling along with the other walk off participants to get glimpses of different neighborhoods and chosen local haunts. Now it's time for winter to take a long walk off a short pier :).

    1. You are quite welcome, and just keep an eye on your mailbox.

  6. It was a wonderfully diverse set of posts Les, you will have to do it again next year, such a great way to see interesting corners of the world through interesting and interested eyes. Thanks again for hosting.

  7. What a great idea! Really enjoyed getting away from all the dirty gritty piles of snow still covering most of the landscape here.

    1. That is the worst part of heavy snow in my opinion, those ugly mini-mountains of gray snow.

  8. I'm still reading the all the other walk-offs. (No others with mermaids yet.) Thank you for putting them all (with links) in one spot for us.

    1. I have to take advantage of my urge to organize when the mood hits me. Otherwise it just passes.

  9. A bunch of very diverse ones too! Congrats-you are a growing. Sorry I didn't get one up. I've been so busy it seems.

    1. I am sure you have been busy. Not only is it spring, but you have a new house to build and a new garden to grow.

  10. Thanks for hosting, Les, and thanks for this round up post for future visits. I'll add a link from my post today. I loved your photos, especially of the fresh daffs as it is not yet spring in Maine. I have some supermarket daffs in my office.

    1. Those daffodils are from a house that decades ago was just a memory, but they still come up every year.

  11. This was amazingly fun. I read all of the postings and enjoyed them all. Thank you. I will look for this again next year.

  12. I always enjoy the Winter Walk-off. Thanks for hosting it-- always fun to see where others have wandered.