Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gardens of the Washington D.C. Area

We finally made it to D.C.  Actually, we are now in Florida and I have some catching up to do regarding our stay in the city of our nation's capitol.  Unfortunately while we were there it was during the time of a bad heat wave with temperatures in the high 90s.  We also had no desire to take on any intense touring of many of the usual sights of D.C. because John and I have already done some of that. Secondly we had our two year-old grandson with us, as well as his mother who is seven months pregnant.  Still, we had a good time in that city primarily visiting with our son Dan and his wife Amanda.  One of the reasons we came to D.C. during the hottest part of the year was to see their rain garden which they have worked so hard on during the past several years. 
They literally tore up their front and back yards to establish a system of water conservancy, and also to plant native plants.  Stone walkways wind around a large variety of plants that are thriving as well as hosting a variety of bees and butterflies and other unknown flying creatures.
On Saturday morning, after our arrival in D.C.,  we made a  visit to the Franciscan Monastery which is located near our son's home.  You may recall a posting which I had done several years back on this place.   We returned to the monastery this time for a guided garden tour.   Pictured above is a bronze stature of St.Francis of Assisi.  He is begging a boy not to sell into captivity some of the doves which he holds.  Notice in the background of this picture the Rosary Portico.  On the colonnades of  its ten arches are inscribed words of the Hail Mary in 150 languages.
In the gardens of the monastery, as well as through-out D.C., are crepe myrtle trees - the blossom  of which is pictured above.  What a refreshing burst of color for this hot time of the year!
It was tempting to stay inside because of the brutal heat, but that did not seem right while we  had the wonderful city of D.C. to explore!  Also, our grandson Nathan had lots of energy to burn off.  We did spend some time at the National Zoo on Sunday.  However, we did not stay long there, and very soon opted to spend our time at a swimming pool.  On Tuesday we decided to visit Wheaton Regional Park in Maryland, just for the fact that it had a train and carousel for Nathan to enjoy.  Here we could also explore Brookside Gardens, where we found the beautiful dogwood tree pictured above.  No, it is not in bloom- the leaves are white in color.  It is a Variegated Kousa Dogwood.
Brookside Gardens has a section called Wings of Fancy where Monarch butterflies as well as hundreds of other exotic African, Asian, Costa Rican and North American species are actively nectaring, puddling, ovipositing, basking and spiraling- you know, the things butterflies normally do.
In Brookside gardens we toured a children's section, formal gardens, as well as perennial gardens.  It was amazing how much of the garden we saw what with having a two year old along with us!  

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