Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Visit To The Norfolk Botanical Garden

Last week, I was lucky enough to visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Norfolk, VA.  It rained the entire day and I was still so entranced with the gardens.  Perhaps the trees were my favorite part -- the Botanical Garden is home to 23 Virginia State Champion Trees, and even trees that weren't champions were still lovely.  I saw an old crabapple that must be magnificent in the spring.  The Flowering Arboretum alone spreads over 17 acres and is home to 336 different flowering trees.  The rain seemed to make the trunks of the crapemyrtles even more striking:  below is the trunk of 'Natchez' crapemyrtle, shining in the rain.

Crapemyrtle 'Natchez'
I loved the Japanese Garden too.  Dedicated in 1962, this garden was designed in the traditional hill-and-pond style.  The cloud-pruned hollies were striking and I loved the bonsai of the Elephant Bush (or portulacaria.)  Since I couldn't be there at dusk or dawn, perhaps a rainy, overcast day was perfect.  It's a very muted, peaceful place.

Portulacaria Bonsai
Just outside the Japanese Garden
Inside the Japanese Garden
The tropical display house was steamy and quiet -- it reminded me of the conservatory in an old movie.  It's where I saw the beautiful 3-foot-long specimen of Southern Maidenhair Fern.  No more need be said on that subject!  But I was also quite taken with the zebrina and various begonias.

Inside the Tropical House
I love to visit botanical gardens, especially when I'm unaccompanied by minor children.  Norfolk Botanical Gardens was a special treat and I only wish I had been able to spend more time there.


  1. Hmm have Portulacaria and waiting bonsai pots ... and they would be SO much easier to keep alive thru the summer!

  2. EE -
    You should do it! I love portulacaria and the old bonsai was much more beautiful than my photo shows.
    Mikie1 - thanks as always!