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.

July 23, 2015

Land, Sea, and Sky

     What follows is an assortment of photos taken this past weekend on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The first few were taken during a morning walk along the edge of Metompkin Bay near my parents' house. The remaining photos were taken later in the day when we took the boat to Cedar Island, where the black skimmers were busy tending to their chicks. This part of the world is very special to me, and this blog has been to both places several times before. God willing and the seas don't rise, I'll be back again.
Via Dolorosa

Metompkin Bay (9)

Metompkin Bay (6)

Metompkin Bay (5)

Metompkin Bay (1)

      A cross is put here every Easter for a sunrise service, and is usually taken down shortly thereafter, but there is a slightly different dynamic here this year.
Metompkin Bay (2)

Metompkin Bay (3)

Metompkin Bay (12)

Cedar Island

Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) (1)

Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) (2)

Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) (7)

Black Skimmers (Rynchops niger) (6)

Cedar Island (9)

Cedar Island (10)

Cedar Island (3)

Cedar Island (4)

Cedar Island (13)

Cedar Island (11)

Cedar Island (1)

     I've been reading too much lately about sea level rise, and I take the potential loss personally. Fortunately and selfishly, I will likely be dead before the worst of this apocalypse-in-slow-motion arrives. When people ponder all the many what-ifs, such as how our coastal cities will fare, and will there be mass migration from the coasts - is anyone thinking about black skimmers and where they will raise their chicks? They are very particular about their nesting sites, and unlike us, they can't just pack up and move. Their species will certainly be just one of many thousands affected.

Welcome to the Anthroprocene.

July 15, 2015

Eighth Annual Citywide Bloom Day

     If you have ever visited here for July's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, then you may remember that I use the occasion to celebrate the crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia species and hybrids). You can get the backstory on the relationship between the city of Norfolk and this particular tree from my first July GBBD. Recently I came across a breakdown of street trees in the city by species, and crapemytles account for 50.9% of all street trees. That's an amazingly large, and frighteningly undiverse, percentage. However, let's not contemplate the inherent danger of mono-cultures right now. Let's instead contemplate twisting, muscular trunks holding up huge canopies of dripping pinks, whites, and purples that gently rain down petals from late June until September, only to be followed by beautiful fall foliage, and later, strong winter silhouettes.

     Like I've down in the past, I hopped on my bike to see what could be seen for this month's Bloom Day. I headed to Ghent, one of Norfolk's most gentrified neighborhoods, and then made my way downtown, and there were plenty of crapemyrtles along the way to fill my lens.
Lagerstroemia (1)

Lagerstroemia (2)

Lagerstroemia (3)

Lagerstroemia (5)

Lagerstroemia (6)

Lagerstroemia (15)
Underneath this live oak, and to the right of the swing, is a stone circle in the ground. It is where my wife and I got married. The pink crapemyrtle had not been planted then.

Lagerstroemia (10)
We had our reception in this building, where the red crapemyrtle pictured had already been a presence for years. 
Lagerstroemia (14)

Lagerstroemia (4)

Church for Sale (2)
The Unitarian Church, with its beautiful waterfront setting, is for sale. However, the congregants are tired of the increased flooding, and are looking for a drier place to worship.

Church for Sale (1)
After New Orleans, Norfolk is the city most at risk from sea level rise in North America. Fortunately it is not being ignored, but many hard choices will need to be made in the not so distant future, and not just at church board meetings. 

The TIde

Lagerstroemia (17)

Lagerstroemia (18)

Lagerstroemia (19)

Lagerstroemia (21)

Lagerstroemia (7)
The most interesting crapemyrtle I saw on my ride was nearly dead, but was adorned with about 50 clear glass ornaments, each holding a small plastic bone.

      Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is held on the 15th of each month, and is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

July 11, 2015

Open Garden in Carrollton

     Back in June I was invited to an Open Garden event at the home of Bill and Linda Pinkham. This was not my first time here (nor this blog's), and I always enjoy visiting. The Pinkhams are consummate plant people, and over the years have designed some of the best residential landscapes in southeastern Virginia, introduced new plants to area gardeners, mentored many in horticulture (including myself), and they have created a remarkable garden for themselves overlooking the James River.
Pinkham Garden (4)

Daucus carota (2)

Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit' and Aralia 'Sun King'

Hosta 'Brother Stefan'

Gothic Window


Koi Pond (2)

     In order to reach the front door of the house, a pond with enormous koi must be crossed first.

Aechmea blanchetiana

Ptilostemon afer

Pinkham Garden

Pinkham Garden (6)

Pinkham Garden (5)

Pinkham Garden (3)

Pinkham Garden (1)

Pinkham Garden (2)

My Eggs!

Mixed Containers

Lily Against Liquidambar 'Aurea'

Lilium, Kniphofia, Yucca

Iris siberica and Carex 'Everillo'

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen'

Hydrangea Planter (1)

Hydrangea Planter (2)