Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What a Difference a Zone (or Two) Makes

HH and I are very proud of ourselves because twice in the last couple of weeks these two country bumpkins drove all the way to the big city -- from the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, to Arlington, Virginia. We even took the metro into Washington, DC. (What an experience that was! For a start, we needed help figuring out how to retrieve tickets from the machine.) Of course, we have a great incentive to come here: spending time with grandchildren! My son and his wife were away on business last week, and again for a few days this week, so we are doing double-babysitting-duty. What a joy these two little boys are!

A bonus, as an avid gardener, is seeing what is blooming in other states. Last week, we stopped off in Maryland to visit HH's cousin and his wife. Their garden is simply beautiful! And what a difference two panting zones make in bloom times. The adorable candytuft is probably my personal favorite of the perennials already in bloom in their garden.

The lilacs were coming into flower already ...

                                                                           ... and so were the azaleas.

In this lovely Maryland garden, the birdsong was notable, as was the heavy scent of blossoms on the trees. I wish I could convey the wonderful sounds and smells we experienced there.

I have to say, this year many plants in my zone 5 garden have bloomed early. So my daffodils were flowering at the same time as those in zone 7. But mine did not compare to these in the Maryland garden. I must plant more varieties this fall.

More Maryland flowers: The bleeding hearts are way ahead of mine.

What a perfect family visit, and it was enhanced by time spent in a garden.

I photographed this spectacular wisteria near my grandson's school in Arlington, VA.

When we went into Washington, DC (did I tell you we took the metro?) the orange blossoms had passed their peak, but we found lots of plants blooming in the gardens around the Smithsonian Institute museums. One that I think can be described as a "secret garden," is the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden. Tulips were everywhere.

I think you will agree the tree peonies are amazing:

My tradescantia does not even have buds yet. Take a look at this ...

 For someone who always wanted to try to espalier a tree, this euonymus is really impressive.

 Tulips and pansies are spectacular in the Enid A. Haupt Garden next to the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building.

Finally, there I spotted this chubby bird. Can anyone name it?

It is an exciting time of the year for gardeners, whatever your planting zone. Enjoy!

I love reading your comments. I hope you leave one so I’ll know you visited!


  1. Isn't it wonderful to visit other gardens in different zones? The Maryland garden has so many beautiful flowers. I absolutely love Candytuft too :-)

  2. It sounds (and looks) like you had wonderful adventures Pam (and you took the Metro!)
    The tulips in the Smithsonian garden are just lovely. Do you happen to know what the name of the daffodil in the third photo is (green/yellow petals and white trumpet)? I like the look of that one!

  3. I can't help admiring the dafodils. They are so very lovely. I'm sure you had a memorable time with your grand children and vice versa. I remember all the wonderful times spent with my grandma. I will think of her whenever I tend to my plants, afterall it is from her that I got most of my gardening knowledge and fond memories.

  4. Glad you had such a wonderful time visiting your grandsons. You've certainly captured some wonderful blooms. My dicentra is in bloom at the moment too, I've just planted a dicentra alba in my garden. The lilacs are gorgeous, I'm waiting for mine to come into flower now.

  5. Yesterday I would have whole-heartedly agreed with you about it being an exciting time whatever zone one gardens in. Today it snowed. A lot. I'm a bit more depressed than excited. And my Tradescantia is buried under two feet of snow (sigh).

    Christine in Alaska

  6. Great bloom shots Pam. That wisteria is something, isn't it? Just think though - when we're all sweltering here in zone 6 in July and August, you'll be enjoying cool mountain breezes!

  7. Isn't spending time with your Grandchildren special? It's too bad they aren't closer for you to enjoy a bit more.
    You certainly did get a lot of beautiful pictures. I enjoyed them so much I had to scroll down to other posts and see some others that I've missed. ;-)
    Sorry I can't help with naming your little bird.

  8. What a gorgeous post! Spending time with grandchildren is simply sublime, not to mention fun and wild. I love that soft yellow with creamy white trumpet photo. Do you know what variety it is?

    I've got to read all the posts I missed. BTW...your new blog looks fantastic!

  9. Your photos are just great. Ilove seeing all these beautiful flowers. I am a zone 5 and we have the lilacs azaleas, candytuft, daffodils, tulips all blooming. I know it's too soon by a couple of weeks or so. It's so nice to see all the bright spring colors and all the green too. Congratulations on winning the rain barrel.

  10. We don't travel much, but would if our grandchild lived in another state. I enjoyed your photos.

    Yes, this is an exciting time of year.

  11. I'm starting to get interested in Candytuft myself, and your sons is lovely! Don't you love visiting other gardens? I'll be off to Florida soon, and visiting gardens there, of course.

  12. Thank you Noelle, Gippsy, Belle, Jo, Christine, Kelly, Raingardener, Teresa O., Teresa, Sue and Robin for visiting. Sorry I am not responding individually here at this time, but I have left a comment on each of your posts.

  13. It soothes anybody's heart to see candytuft spreading like a carpet... ~bangchik

  14. Those flowers are soooo adorable and soooo beautiful! I am amazed to see such beauty. This is the advantage of traveling to other places. You get to enjoy the scenic views around you.

  15. So odd....swear I commented last week. Road trips are fun. I always envy zones that have blooms I don't have yet. The bird looks like a grackle.

  16. So true how the zones make such a difference... to see flowers blooming in your photos that are only just budding here. Love the euonymus! Great photos!

  17. All of it is very beautiful. It is always fun to visit other places Your bird is either a grackle or a starling. I'm not a true bird expert.

    So glad you are getting to play with your grandchildren. I'd like some someday.~~Dee

  18. Wonderful pictures! Next time you're in these parts you may wih to visit two fantastic gardens if you haven't so already -- Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown in DC (really grand) and Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, VA. Both are lovely and doable in 1-2 hours. Happy gardening! Yvonne

  19. I am sorry I was not able to find out the name of the daffodil for those of you who asked.

    Bangchik, Mary, Patsi, Carol, Dee and Yvonne. Thanks for visiting. I love your comments.

    Yes, the bird is a grackle. I've seen lots of them in flocks, but never close up before.