Friday, May 1, 2009

Rosie And Xmaskatie Visit The Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

Yesterday, Rosie and Xmaskatie took a little road trip to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Before we left, I wanted to walk Xmaskatie around my garden and show her my roses. Please enjoy.
After about a two hour drive, we arrived at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Located adjacent to Lake Whitehurst, Norfolk Botanical Gardens has over 30 themed gardens with 12 miles of paved paths encompassing 155 acres.
The gardens were started in 1938 under a grant from the WPA (World Progress Administration). Their mission was to create a garden for tourists during the Depression. Over 200 African American women and about 20 African American men cleaned the site set aside by the city of Norfolk, comprised of 75 acres of high, wooded ground and 75 acres of reservoir. Now, I may be totally P.I. (politically incorrect) about this, but I have a problem with the word "African American." I don't know any "person of color" who is actually from Africa, but if I did, I would consider them Africans, as I would "persons of whiteness" born in Africa. Take for example, actress Charlize Theron. She is an African American. All "African Americans" I know were born in America, thus they are Americans. By the same token, I guess I could refer to myself as European American, but I don't. I'm American. And God Bless America. But I digress. Back to the gardens. Thirty acres of swamp needed to be cleaned out. And the workers were paid 25 cents an hour. By 1939, over 4000 azaleas, 2000 rhododendrons, and several thousand miscellaneous shrubs and trees had been planted. Numerous theme gardens have been planted, among them: A hydrangea garden featuring nearly 200 different varieties of hydrangeas. A one-acre perennial garden, with water channeled through the center pathway, containing over 200 varieties of perennials, woody ornamental shrubs and annuals. A Renaissance Court, depicting the classic style of the Italian Renaisance gardens of the late 16th century, and serving as the official site for the annual coronation of the Azalea Queen of Norfolk's International Azalea Festival. A Camellia garden, featuring one of the largest collections of camellias on the East Coast - over 500 varieties. A Statuary Vista featuring tall, evergreen hedges and display beds, punctuated by a series of marble statues representing great European artists, carved in Rome by Sir Moses Ezekiel between 1879 and 1884. The only American artist featured is Thomas Crawford, a Neoclassical sculptor who created the statue for the dome of the Capitol building. His colossal figure of "Freedom" was posthumously cast and hoisted atop in Capitol dome in 1860. By the way, Sister Hawthorne, Thomas Crawford also did the Washington Monument in Richmond. A 2-acre butterfly garden. A 15.5 acre flowering aboretum featuring ornamental trees and shrubs of Southeastern Virginia. A 6-acre Virginia Native Plant Garden. A hummingbird garden. A Japanese garden. A tropical garden. A 3.5 acre rose garden containing over 3000 rose bushes representing over 400 different varieties of roses - one of the largest collections on the East Coast, with my rose garden being right up there on the list. The Norfolk Garden is also an official test garden for the All America Rose Selection Association. Here's Baker Hall Visitor Center where we started our tour.
Pretty garden with pansies and other stuff in front of the Visitor Center, but I didn't understand the purple fake bamboo and the round orange thingies.
They have a live web-cam of an eagle's nest with 3 little eaglets.
Views from the back of the visitor center.
We were maybe a week or two too early for the full display of the roses, but what we did see was beautiful.
I noticed numerous artists in the 3 1/2 acre rose garden. This one had left her easel set up and Xmaskatie had to restrain me from going up and "correcting" her drawing.
This is the fountain in front of the visitor center where we started our tour on a tram which runs every 30 minutes. The tram was in 3 separate sections and Xmaskatie and I got in the very last two rows, on the LAST SECTION by OURSELVES, so we could take pictures on both sides. (We're both "back of the bus" kind of gals.) The first two sections of the tram were empty. As the tram started up, 2 rather large people rumbled over to catch up, the driver stopped the tram, and of course they slid into the seats next to Xmaskatie, even though the TWO FRONT SECTIONS of the tram were COMPLETELY EMPTY. So, Xmaskatie quickly scrambled back to the rear-most seat with me. For the next 30 minutes, Xmaskatie and I were downwind from some very strong, objectionable perfume.
Norfolk International Airport is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the gardens. The next series of shots was taken on the tram.
I don't know what this is, but I liked it.
Although we missed the peak of the rose blooms, the azaleas were absolutely beautiful, as Ticky, of Reinventing a Boomer blogdom, can attest to.
This was taken from a moving tram, so sorry it's not sharp. These are crape myrtles, which have been fashioned into this shape, with the wood of one tree blending into the next. This is called Belgian Fencing. I just wonder how long it took to form this. And I would absolutely love to have a personally guided tour of these amazing gardens.
This is a 198-year old white oak.
I loved this "green" ticket booth. After our 30 minute tram ride was over, Xmaskatie and I took our own little walking tour. We started at the Japanese garden.
One of the features I really want in my own garden is a water garden and water fall. This was lovely. Very tranquil. Very serene. Next, we entered the tropical garden.
And my camera lens immediately fogged up. Outside temp was 62 degrees. In here, it was in the nineties.
That tall plant at the center in the back is a bird of paradise. Ten or so years ago, when the children were little, we took them to Disney World . Upon leaving, at the Orlando airport, I bought a packet of 5 bird of paradise seeds for $5+. Only one germinated and I still have it. It's never bloomed. Perhaps I need to keep my home temperature in the nineties and set up steam machines.
Beautiful azaleas.
I'm thinking this is the Perennial Garden with the water channel. But what do I know?
Azalia-lined pathway.
Here's the view of the Statuary Vista. The Vista has 11 7-foot tall statues of notable sculptors and painters. It's a 400-foot long bordered expanse stretching from the Renaissance Court to Lake Whitehurst.
The first statue is of Thomas Crawford, the only American featured here. Crawford designed the statue of Freedom atop the dome of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
Boy, am I getting a bunch of foppish, dandyish, gay vibes from these guys.
Rosie, checking out Phidias' junk.
Bright yellow azalea.
Bright orange azalea. I've never seen azaleas of these colors before.
Another plane taking off from NIA.
Some kind of Chinese tree that smelled really good.
And yet another plane. Then, Xmaskatie and I arrived at the cutting garden. There are three sculptures here.
Action shot of Xmaskatie.
Random woman sitting on a bench.
Arbor with Lady Banks Rose and Fourth of July rose. I'm thinking the Lady Banks Rose was named after the wife of the wealthy explorer, natural historian, and botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, who sailed 3 years around the world with Captain Cook, aboard the Endeavour. He returned to London in 1771 with an immense collection of plant and animal material. And that is the end of Rosie and Xmaskatie's Great Adventure at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Hope you enjoyed it. We certainly did.


Kathy said...

Sorry my JOB prevented me from joining you. Would have been more fun than what I did at WORK.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Sheesh. People that have to WORK, like SUK.

Hairball T. Hairball said...

So beautiful!!

Marilyn said...

Lovely. Thanks for the photo tour!