Saturday, April 21, 2012

Flowers, flowers everywhere!

Ian's parents came to visit in mid-April, and we went to the National Arboretum (NE DC) for the first time. It just happened to be azalea peak season, and the woods were gorgeous! The USDA agent who developed azaleas for use in the U.S. planted 15,000 bushes in the Arboretum to showcase this part of his lifework, and every year in mid-April, they come to life. I grew up with rhododendrons (azaleas are part of the rhododendron family), but the intensity of this place is mind-boggling!
Gary, Jaye, and Ian (lovely family!) conspired to make the azaleas look short...
So I jumped in to restore the bush's confidence about its height!
Poor little Ian smiling bravely through a horrific allergy attack! He was a good sport and looked at almost every azalea bush with me!
Redheads certainly can wear pink, especially in the form of a crown of azaleas!
Jaye, this color really suits you! I love the white + pink + bark!
The camera clearly thought this was a photo of the tree branch; still I don't dislike the effect! It's still clearly Jaye and Gary on the bench, and it's a different perspective.
There were lots of little blue and purple ground flowers as well. Some of these (the last one especially) remind me of childhood flowers, but I wouldn't swear to anything. Rhododendrons grow very well in the Pacific NW, and my parents have several big trees by their house.
And when you put 15,000 azaleas, random pretty blue flowers, and the right kind of big trees together, you get gorgeous landscapes!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring! And some flowers!

After our cherry blossom cruise, we returned to the Tidal Basin for a picnic with friends from Mexico. The cherry trees were in full bloom, and we had a great time sitting in a gentle breeze along the Potomac (the Tidal Basin was too crowded). The picnic ended with a thunderstorm, but all picnics must end somehow!
Fluffy flowers!
Ian with a cherry blossom frame.
And a cherry blossom frame for me. I tried to get Guita's picture with a blossom frame, but she declined to sit still long enough.
Another in my famous "self-portrait with spouse" series.
Cherry trees are SO PRETTY!
And we saw the new Martin Luther King, Jr, Memorial. It's, um, big. I agree with a lot of the criticism I've heard: his face looks very stern and sad and Soviet. From a distance in cherry blossom season, however, the memorial blends in to the treeline and looks like a slightly wrong cherry tree.
The Mall and the Tidal Basin don't have a monopoly on flowering trees in the DC Metro area! Northern Virginia is lousy with cherry, apple, and dogwood trees, and we've had the good fortune to live in fluffy pink and white neighborhoods twice now! These are some of the photos I took of our neighbor trees.
Amazing colors and freshness.
Cherry trees and blossoms mingle with (what I assume to be) white dogwood blossoms. Ahhh....
Here's a sidewalk a block down from us. It's just about perfect.
This is so romantic! Pink cherry blossom petals lining all the sidewalks and steps - I can't get enough!
This is spring in DC! If you're not allergic, you can get out and love it! ----- A little doggy update and some of her best spring shots....
Such a girly-grrl! Guita had a bath at doggy daycare and came home with ribbons in her hair and a bow on her collar. The ear ribbons lasted about 10 minutes....
Guita had her photo done with Stonewall Jackson at the Manassas battlefield. She'd be sure to stand like a stone wall if there was a battle raging all about.
Ian used to be really tough on the dog-on-furniture question, but now he's the biggest breaker of his own rule! Guita obviously hates it.
We visited the National Arboretum in NE Washington, DC, in mid-April. It was full azalea blooming season, and completely magnificent. See the next post for the azalea photos!
This is the Arboretum's 150 year old willow oak. They've found Civil War uniform buttons (both sides, I believe) around it. It's that cool in person too!
It's not always hard to see where M. Claude Monet found his inspiration!
The gentleman who developed the azalea that we know and love today also loved a rare and exotic pine tree. This is its trunk; its needles were so fine they were practically leaf-like.
A close-up of the bark of the fancy pine tree.