Saturday, 19 March 2016

Journey's End

We have been looking forward so much to Lauren, James and Theo coming  to stay and so today was full of anticipation.

Their day had started early at Heathrow and then getting Theo settled on the plane..

The welcoming party was ready at Dulles..

And finally back to the house for Theo to discover some of the toys that were waiting for him..

Just before bed time some heavy flakes of snow were falling and the birds were very busy on the feeders.  Theo and Grandpa looking on..

Friday, 18 March 2016

At Last!

After a week without heating, it is mended and back on this evening - which is a great relief - partly because Lauren, James and Theo will be with us tomorrow afternoon, and partly because it is due to snow on Sunday!

In the garden the second camellia is out, although the flowers are rather small.  Hopefully these will not get eaten!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Spring Bulbs

In Washington at the weekend there were a few Spring bulbs in flower - firstly at the National Botanic Garden..

Then three different colours of Iris Reticulata at the Enid Haupt garden..

And finally, in the same garden, the darkest colour purple hyacinth (I think) - almost black - that I have ever seen!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Each year we have seen on sale in the supermarket the traditional St Patrick's Day meal ingredients - corned beef brisket with cabbage, carrots and red skinned potatoes.  However we have never actually tried the meal itself.

David received a recommendation that the corned beef dinner at the Glory Days grill was good and so this evening we walked up there to try it out - albeit one day early for the big day!

Obviously it was also necessary to have the traditional accompaniment!

This traditional St Patrick's Day meal - as with the alternative of Shepherds Pie (made with beef), topped with cabbage in the mashed potatoes, is not in fact an Irish meal.

The tradition is an Irish-American one which began when Irish immigrants to the US were unable to afford the salt pork that was part of their diet in Ireland.

The tradition seems to be well established now around this time of year and all year round appears on menus in the form of a Reuben sandwich (salted beef brisket, sauerkraut).

Well we were pleased to have tried it but are not sure that it will become a tradition for us!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016


Just one flower today, after all yesterday's showy orchids.  This cream camellia grows next to the decking at the back of the house.

Through the winter it has on several occasions been heavily weighed down with snow and completely encased in ice.

The bush also gets regularly 'pruned' by deer as they pass through.

However, this lovely flower, just high enough to be out of reach of the deer, has survived the winter and produced a near perfect flower.

There is also a red camellia which I last looked at during the snow, so I must check on that one tomorrow..

Monday, 14 March 2016

Orchids at the National Botanic Garden

On Sunday we returned to Washington DC to see the orchid exhibition which we had narrowly missed on our last visit.

In addition to one whole gallery of orchids, the main conservatory at the Botanic Garden was decorated with orchids.

There were many huge pots with very large orchids on show.

Even the light fitting was garlanded with growing orchids..

There were some spectacular individual flowers..

In the orchid exhibit itself were some very unusual shapes and colours..

So many to see!!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Magnificent Magnolias!

Today was dull and eventually rainy but in Washington's parks and gardens there were plenty of splashes of pink - not cherry blossom just yet - but wonderful magnolias.

In the Enid Haupt garden behind Smithsonian Castle the trees are in full flower.

There was another, rather waxy yellow flower also in full bloom and smelling of honey.  We didn't find a label to know exactly what it was.

On the National Mall there were several witch hazel trees, also blooming and heavily scented.

On our way to the metro we passed a square which was full of magnolias..

Just a little blue sky would have been nice!