Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: The Conservatory, Part 2 - Orchids

Back in mid-January, dear husband and I spent a beautiful day at the Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA.  It was our early anniversary celebration.  We haven't gotten away for our anniversary, just the two of us, for a number of years.  

We'd had a cold, dreary week before that weekend.  Although we had some indoor plans in case the weather didn't work out, it sunned up and was in the 40's and lower 50's.  We spent most of the weekend outside, soaking up the sun.

However, we did spend about an hour inside the Conservatory, enjoying the flowers (Part 1 here).

I wandered around and took lots of pictures, and dear husband sketched orchids.  The orchid room was beautiful:



Begonias can get huge when they're not living as annuals.






One more view of the Conservatory in the late afternoon sunlight:



Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden: The Conservatory, Part 1

I took lots of photos a few weeks ago when dear husband and I were at the Ginter Botanical Garden during our anniversary weekend.  I probably won't get to blogging about most of them, but I did want to post the Conservatory pictures because they're a welcome bit of color this time of year.

The first time we went to the Ginter Botanical Garden, they were just building the Conservatory.  It was a hot, September day, and the Conservatory site was mostly red, muddy clay.  It's beautiful now:

2013_01_20_2099cs copy

It had been a cold and cloudy week so the sunshine outside and inside was wonderful.

The fountain at the other side of the atrium

This is the room on the left when you look at the Conservatory from the front.  It was wonderfully cheerful.  

The rainbow chandelier was made up of 2500 origami cranes.  


 There weren't many people at the gardens that morning so I could sit on the floor and enjoy the flowers close-up.

The view from the other end of the room

A wonderful weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains: Part 1 - Kayaking

Dear husband and I had a wonderful weekend.  Of course, there are lots of photos!

For the first time since... I can't even remember, dear husband and I went camping - just the two of us.  Older son was too busy with schoolwork to be able to go, and younger son decided to stay home too (he's been too tired lately to deal with trying to sleep in a tent). 

We camped at Price Campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, NC.  It was a bit noisy - there were drunken (we assume from the sounds) campers late both nights.  We were so tired that we only briefly woke up.  

Saturday morning, we headed over to Rivergirl Fishing Co. in Todd, NC to rent kayaks.  We've been kayaking twice on the Eno River in Durham and once on the French Broad River in Asheville, but this was our first time kayaking in the area where we usually spend our fall vacation.  

Rivergirl is in an old train depot:


They have already decorated for Halloween, and Petunia was out front:


The temperature was in the lower 70's, and the day was beautiful:




There were wildflowers all over the banks:






The water was very clear, and it was very shallow in parts.  We got stuck on rocks fairly often (not here, of course) because the water is low this time of year.


Dear husband:


More beautiful scenery:


Steve took some pictures of me.  Here's my favorite:


 It's, by far, my favorite place we've kayaked.  

Blue Ridge Parkway: The Beginning

We were up in the Charlottesville area this weekend.  Today, we came back by way of the first hundred miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Yesterday, we spent the early evening on Skyline Drive (That will maybe end up as another blog post - if I get around to it.).). [Enough periods?].[Just for good measure.]

We don't get up to this end of the Parkway often. 

Here are some of my favorite photos:

2011_09_18_6949s Asters

Milkweed bugs on milkweed




I love milkweed pods and seeds.

The pedestrian bridge is suspended under the Parkway bridge over the James River.

View of the James River from the pedestrian bridge


 Goldenrod and a view

Peaks of Otter

Yellow wingstem and white snakeroot

View across the pond the other way



Various Asheville photos: Part 2

I posted Part 1 (about our trip up to Asheville to see daughter's dance performance) two weeks ago, and, even though I had the photos ready, I never got back to posting them. 

The plan was that we would drop daughter off at her dorm at 4 pm so that she could get her work done and we could get home by about 8:30 pm.  However, after dropping her off, we realized that we needed a bathroom, and the Asheville Botanical Garden was just around the corner so we'd just stop there for a minute.

You know we can't just stop in briefly at a garden:

2011_04_02_3368csDear husband, off to do some sketching while younger son and I wandered.  Here is his sketch post.

There were lots of (trilliums? trillia? trillium?  I've found all three recommended) trillium plants blooming that day.

Dear husband has gone to sleep already.  I'll ask him what these are tomorrow.

Sweet white trillium (I took a photo of the tag for these)

Bleeding heart

I love the way the white sycamore branches caught the sunlight.

We left the Garden in time to get home by 9:30. However...

... as we were approaching the town of Black Mountain, where we stayed for a wonderful vacation two years ago, I mentioned that, if we were younger and had less sense, I'd suggest a walk around Lake Tomahawk.  Dear husband said that he had been wanting to take a walk there and that we'd be tired whether we got home by 9:30 or 10:30.  Younger son, actually, almost was the only voice of reason, but he decided he'd like to take a walk too.

It was beautiful there:

Cherry blossoms framing the lake and the Seven Sisters Mountains

Fish by Dave Taylor, part of the Black Mountain Sculpture Stroll

Close up

A duck with an unusual hairdo

We got home at 10:30, but we had a wonderful day.


As the summer winds down...

2010_05_28_5110s I've been posting a bit more lately - mostly because I hurt my knee two weeks ago.  I won't say "re-injured" because it's not as bad as the original injury, but I've been taking it easy and sitting more while icing.  I twisted my injured knee while wading in the Eno River, and then twisted my good knee while trying to get my balance so I've been icing both knees. 

It was gradually getting better last week, and I even got back to physical therapy, with really light weights, by Friday, but, last weekend, I spent too much time standing while cleaning for daughter's going away parties and also standing during the parties.  This week, I've been back to manic icing again.  I was able to swim a bit yesterday, but nowhere near the 20 laps that I had worked up to (the very day before I hurt it!). It just felt good to do something active. 

Daughter leaves for college next week and older son goes back.  If you remember my angst last year when older son started college, it's worse with daughter because she's going four hours away.  I thought I was handling this very well at the beginning of the summer... until I realized that I was angry at everything and everybody.  All the time.  That's what happens when I try to bury my emotions; it all comes out as anger instead.  Now, I actually try to make myself cry about her leaving (not hard as it gets closer) - during my morning walks so I don't disturb anyone else.  There aren't many people walking at 7 am lately.  

Enough said.

They both finish their summer jobs tomorrow so I expect that posting will be sporadic as we get things ready.  I do have a few posts that I just need to finish up (like part 2 of the Paperhand post and, of course, Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the 15th (or as soon after as I get it up!))(some of the posts actually will involve writing and not just photos!), and a really fun song for tomorrow. 

I had been hoping to start teaching aerobics again in the fall, but that's not happening - not just because of recent events, but because I also have to get recertified, and that takes more time.   However, I have been trying to be in shape to to take Broadway dance again!!!!  I'll post more about that as the time gets near for those in the area that might want to try the class.

When I thought about a four hour drive back after moving daughter in to UNC-Asheville - a drive back to a House Without Daughter - I realized that those would be long, depressing hours.  Now, I almost always discuss things with people and work out a mutually agreeable solution.  This time, I didn't discuss or even ask.  I just told dear husband that we were going to stop in Charlotte on the way back (fortunately he's got lots of hotel points from all the traveling he's been doing)(I haven't complained at all this week even though he's been gone for four days)(Ooops...).  The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont is supposed to be one of the best gardens in the state, and we've never visited it.  We'll do that the next morning and then we'll take younger son to Discovery Place, the science museum in downtown Charlotte.  The last time he went there, he was in a stroller.  It's still three hours from there to home, but at least we'll have something to talk about besides how much we'll miss daughter.

For a long time, I didn't want to think about the time after she left.  I eventually realized that I wasn't looking forward to anything.  It was like mid-August was the end of the world and I was just going to fall off of it after that.  That certainly wasn't doing any good so I made myself start thinking about things.  Younger son has been wanting to go to a fun park in Raleigh with laser tag, go karts, etc. so we're going to try later in August.  Of course, there's the beginning of Broadway dance, choir starts the next evening, I'm getting involved in the website redesign for our homeschooling group, we're going to go camping at Lake James (we've never been there before) in the mountains in September (and bring the canoe!), and I finally reserved a place for our October vacation.  Older son and daughter are going to try to come during their brief fall breaks, but it will just be the three of us for most of the time. 

I got so used to throwing myself into things this summer that, when I read about the Carrboro Music Festival (Sept 26), I thought that it would be fun to volunteer.  It would, but that will be less than a week before we go to the mountains so it makes more sense to just go listen. 

What I really would like to find, but neither the Durham Arts Council nor the ArtsCenter in Carrboro have it, is a beginning acting class for adults.  I can do the singing for the summer musicals just fine, but I still find the acting, even for the chorus, to be a challenge. I'd like to get some practice before next summer, but I don't know how to at this point.  

There's so much to explore.  I'll miss her while doing it, though.

[Photo:  Daughter and dear husband at Castle Rock in Marblehead, MA last May.  In case you're curious, dear husband is wearing a t-shirt from the Blue Ribbon Diner in Mebane.]

Road Trip! High Point, NC

Although it was sunny, last Saturday wasn't the greatest day, weather-wise, for a road trip.  We love to go wander someplace new and see what we find. Even though it was unusually cold for NC, it was the only day we would have for quite a while so we went anyway.  We'd never been to High Point so we decided to go wander around there.


IMG_2010_01_02_0568sOur first stop was the Doll and Miniature Museum

Originally, dear husband and I thought that only daughter and I would be interested.  We were wrong; everyone was fascinated.  This museum started as the collection of Angela Peterson (1902 - 2000), who was a fascinating woman.  She lived an ordinary life, for women of her time, until after her husband died when she was 45.  When her children went to college, she embarked on a number of careers.  Her father, a West Virginia, U.S. Senator, tried to block her admission into the army Special Forces.  She served in Korea.  She traveled the world, and she found that she loved Turkey so much that she set up tours there. There were many more details, which, unfortunately, I don't remember and can't find online.  

[Right:  The John Coltrane doll (he originally came from High Point]

Dolls of prominent African-Americans


A whole case of Shirley Temple dolls (which gets a bit creepy)


A dollhouse of Angela Peterson's childhood home

Part of the Serta Imperial Bedrooms Collection, which included bedrooms for King Tutankhamun, Peter the Great, and Queen Elizabeth I (above).

Different nutcracker versions of Santa Claus

My childhood in a museum.

When I was around 6 or 7, my father built me a dollhouse.  My mother sewed curtains and made carpets, and they furnished it.  It was my favorite toy of all time, and I spent hours playing with it and making up stories. 

  The "Petite Princess" line of doll furniture wasn't popular with stuffy collectors because the furniture wasn't made of wood (it only sold for a few years).

However, the furniture was very well loved by a small girl who kept it up in her room even when she got older and didn't play with it often.  Her daughter played with it when she was little.  It's now waiting in our closet to be played with again someday.

I love the details in the furniture.  Yes, it's plastic, but it's done well.  The drawers and cabinets all open, the little mirrors on the sideboard are real, and the tea trolley (which you can't see because of the reflection), rolls quite nicely.  I still even have the tea set.


We ate a delicious lunch at Grateful Bread.  There was someone there playing the Celtic harp.  Since I enjoy Celtic music, a number of the pieces were familiar.  Maybe in a few years when I'm not so busy, I should look into learning to play it...
High Point grew up around the furniture industry.  This building is one of High Point's landmarks.
Fountains don't freeze all that often in NC.  High Point University has a pretty campus, and, someday, we'd like to wander around it when it's a bit warmer.
We loved the furniture industry display at the High Point Museum and Historical Park.  Daughter and I discussed the social and political aspects; younger son and I discussed the mechanical ones (I'll have to ask older son and dear husband what they discussed).  Younger son particularly liked this display about the stages of furniture production.

Of course, younger son also liked the Thomas bus exhibit where you could sit in the driver's seat.  The Thomas Bus Company, which started out making streetcars, still builds 15,000 buses a year in High Point.

We had dinner at Mimi's Cafe in Burlington on the way home.  Daughter and I have been there for lunch twice, but the guys hadn't been there yet.  The food is good, but the muffins are wonderful!