As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a North Carolina partisan. I moved here thirty years ago from upstate NY, and never looked back. I love it here.
So, when Bull City Bully Pulpit announced that this week’s topic would be favorite things about NC, I had a quandry. What to write about? Hiking in the mountains? The Rose and Thistle (favorite Winston-Salem restaurant, now closed because an interstate runs through it)? Wandering around Horne Creek historic farm near Winston? Southport?
Then I decided to combine two things – what I like about NC, and all the pictures I’ve been taking at parks lately (I have warned in my blog before about the dangers of an avid gardener with a new digital camera!).
Blogging, lately, has either been done late at night, or on rainy days. We spend as much time outside as we can during the spring and the fall. We arrange our homeschooling around that – there’s plenty of time to study in the summer when the temperature is in the mid-90’s. That’s what comes of being a Scandinavian in the South!
But the large amount of time spent outside is also a part of our homeschooling. I’ve always wanted to encourage my children to appreciate nature – and that’s much easier to do when you’re actually out in it! (So far, it seems to have worked; older son wants to be an entomologist, and my daughter wants to be a marine biologist)
So, here’s some of the local beauty we've seen this spring (mountain pictures will appear in a few weeks after we go camping).
This is a small pond in the NC Botanical Gardens (part of UNC-CH). The kids are usually better at spotting wildlife, like this frog, than I am.
Ferns at the NC Botanical Gardens. This spring, I've been fascinated by the shapes that emerging plants and leaves take as they emerge. On the sides, these ferns are still "fiddleheading" - the shape their branches take as they uncurl.
Plox and Acquilegia Canadensis (columbine) at the NC Botanical Gardens.
We also like to hike the nature trails of the NC Botanical Gardens. We found these rue anemone flowers (or windflowers) nestled in the roots of a tree. To the left are the leaves of trout lilies (which bloomed in late February).
The beginning of the "Poet's Walk" on the grounds of Ayr Mount,an 1815 plantation home in Hillsborough. The Poet's Walk goes around the grounds and down to the Eno River.
The Ayr Mount house with dogwoods blooming, in double rows, down both sides of the front walk.
One of my favorite spots in Duke Gardens, the bridge over the pond in the Asiatic Arboretum - here with dogwoods and redbuds in bloom. I'm always amazed that the gardens are free (except for the parking).
I love Florida azaleas. These wonderful ones are in the wildflower/natural section of Duke Gardens.
Irises in the Asiatic Arboretum. This hillside used to be just a field about twenty years ago (filled with sunbathing Dukies). They've been gradually transforming it into the Asiatic Arboretum. Now, you can hardly tell it was ever anything else.
One of my favorite spots on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus. This is a small garden behind the Psychology building with wonderful azaleas and dogwoods. Every spring I make sure to go there, sit, and drink it all in.
I'll end with the chorus of one of my favorite songs, Southland in the Springtime, by the Indigo Girls (from Nomads, Indians, Saints):
And there's something 'bout the Southland in the springtime
Where the waters flow with confidence and reason
Though I miss her when I'm gone it won't ever be too long
Till I'm home again to spend my favorite season
When God made me born a yankee he was teasin'
There's no place like home and none more pleasin'
Than the Southland in the springtime