Sunday, April 19, 2015

No-name begonias

Begonia 'Helen Teupel'
Begonia 'Helen Teupel', sold unlabeled

In an online begonia group that I frequent, not a day goes by that somebody doesn't post one or more photos of begonias they got from a friend, or purchased without any label, asking "what is it?"  These are often rex hybrids, one of the groups I most often see offered without any names in garden centers.  There's something about rex begonias that seduces people into buying them, but there's apparently also something about them that makes people lose their names.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pollarding, or just plain murder?

Pollarded crape myrtle
Pollarded crape myrtles, National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

It's that time of year again, when southern homeowners and landscape crews look at crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia species and cultivars) with murder in their hearts. "Crape murder", as the brutal pruning of crape myrtles is often dubbed, is also becoming depressingly common here in Washington, DC with many mature, beautiful specimens being hacked to bits. Who on earth thinks this looks good? Who on earth thinks this is the right thing to do?  Enough "professionals" do this that my biggest question is, who on earth is TRAINING people to do this?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Washington, DC: more than just cherry blossoms

Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle and Enid A. Haupt Garden, July 2014

If you asked almost anybody what Washington, DC is known for, cherry blossoms would probably be in the top five things they list.  This time of year, tourists start taking picture of pretty much any tree with pink flowers, thinking they're cherry blossoms.  In reality, these are often flowering plums or magnolias, both of which bloom a bit earlier than the cherries.  There are a few early cherries blooming here and there, but this has been a late spring and it will be another week or so before the cherries reach their peak.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DC Tropics on TV!

Photo:  Michael K. Wilkinson

[Re-posted from November 2013; the episode is re-airing on Thursday, April 2, at 7:30 am (Eastern) on HGTV; check your local listings.]

In 2007, Dan and I started planning a renovation project for our 1927 rowhouse in Washington, DC; construction was completed in late 2008.  Earlier this year, part of our project was featured on an episode of HGTV's "Bang For Your Buck".  In case you missed the episode, it will be airing again on Friday, November 15 at 10:00 am Thursday, April 2, at 7:30 am (Eastern) on HGTV (but check your local listings).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring forward?

Crocus carnage
Crocus carnage: Bird?  Squirrel?  Gremlins?

Spring is never a straightforward season and March is especially unpredictable.  I had 77 degrees (25° C) two days ago, and a frost last night.  I guess I shouldn't complain too much because it snowed in Buffalo yesterday!  But complain I will, because when I came home from work last night I discovered that, just as they were about to open, some critter had nipped off nearly every bud on my 'Ruby Giant' crocus.  @$%&#!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A bird of a different feather

V-22 Osprey

I've had neither the energy nor inspiration for blogging the past couple of weeks.  It happens.  So to go completely outside the box, here are some photos I took yesterday.  I felt like crap in the morning and called in sick, but as I was trying to sleep in some large low-flying aircraft kept circling over my neighborhood for at least an hour.  I looked out the window and this is what I saw.  This is the kind of thing that reminds me that Washington, DC isn't like other cities!

V-22 Osprey

I had no clue what this thing was until I saw a flurry of activity on Twitter and somebody identified it as a V-22 Osprey.  I've seen many different kinds of military aircraft flying over the District, but this was a first for me.   There were also several large military helicopters flying over, which usually means the President is on the move.  Since I was awake anyway, I grabbed my camera and was able to get a few decent shots from my roof deck, including one that also captured a jet flying far overhead (which I didn't even notice until I downloaded the photos from my camera).

V-22 Osprey

V-22 Osprey

V-22 Osprey

Saturday, March 14, 2015

I hate the Philadelphia Flower Show

Flower show (2)
Marquee should read: abandon hope, all ye who enter here

I hate the Philadelphia Flower Show.  There, I said it.  It's heresy, I know.  The Philadelphia Flower Show, which bills itself as "the world's longest-running and largest indoor Flower Show", is certainly one of the best-known and best-loved flower shows in the entire country, with a practically cult-like following built around it.  I managed to avoid it for over 20 years, having found it just too damn crowded the last time I went.  This time around, I was already in Philadelphia for another event on the first weekend of the show and decided what the heck, I'll give it another chance.  I arrived at the show at 10 am on Sunday morning, and fled at noon.