Tuesday, September 17, 2019

WILLIAMSBURG BOTANICAL GARDEN, VA

Another place where the admission is free.  Great for anyone who enjoys gardens.  We saw friends getting together with their young children turning it into a bit of a play date/educational experience, great for families with several children, or taking visitors.  
But, I am going to start off by saying don't be put off when you first enter the garden.  It is very pretty but feels like a relatively small enclosure compared to other much larger gardens, and at first you might be underwhelmed.  I also don't think we explored the other half of it.  There is no visitor center yet and I didn't see the map until I got on line later.  There may have been ones available and I may have missed them.  We never plan too far ahead and take things as they come most of the time.  My first reaction truthfully was, "Huh!", but, I was not thinking outside the box. 
As I have found on our road trips several times now, larger doesn't necessarily mean better.  Quality is more important and after ten minutes my initial reaction was turned around 180 degrees.  You just have to look outside the box.  It reminds me of what I think a Secret Garden would look like.  And, I would not hesitate to put this on our itinerary when we find ourselves back in Williamsburg.  
 That little flowerpot man reminds me of a British children's show, "Bill and Ben The Flowerpot Men", which I watched avidly as a child in the early 50's.  

But I don't want to got off on a tangent here.  This little flower pot man was a cute garden decoration sitting next to the...
The palace provides a home for bees, wasps and other insects that don't live in hives and are a very important  part of our gardens.  This one is made up of clay pots, bottles, bricks with holes, plastic pipes, bamboo and pallets.  All recycling materials and five star accommodations for their VIP guests who do much good in our world.

We were there at the end of August, the perfect time to visit and the perfect time for butterflies, and other flying things.  The flowers were absolutely gorgeous.  Whoever put the garden together, they chose the perfect pollinator flowers. 
We found ourselves in the Native Plant Garden and the plants are indigenous to the area, and native to the coastal plain.  There is also an Heirloom Garden that display plants from Eurasia.  There is the Wildflower Meadow also.  I found my information at this link.  Happily, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and are looking forward to returning for further exploration.
I am sharing photos of those happy pollinators.  It was magical seeing so many while walking along the pathways.
I was surprised at this one's appearance, and noticing it in my peripheral vision, and thinking it was a hummingbird, I turned and immediately realized it was not a hummer but a hummingbird moth.  I had never seen its type before, maybe remembering vaguely a photograph some time ago.  Certainly not the Clearwing Hummingbird moth that I have been used to photographing on occasion further north.
It was a White-lined Sphinx moth (Hyles lineata).  You can go here to see more information. It is one of the hummingbird moths and its average wing span can be two to three inches. I have photographed the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe), which you can learn more of here.   The photographs I took in Williamsburg were with my cell phone by the way.  I was amazed at how it slowed down the wings so that I could get a decent enough photo.  I cropped them for a better view.
It was a lot of fun keeping company with this beautiful creature.
There were many Swallowtails in the garden, and other butterflies, but those didn't land long enough for a photograph.
This is a Carpenter Bee, a good pollinator but it doesn't make honey.  Also not good if you get them burrowing into your house or fence posts, or as we have at home, a big hole made in the wooden pole that holds our mailbox.  They aren't as damaging as say termites or carpenter ants, but still can be a bit of a nuisance.  You can read about them at this link.
A Scoliid Wasp.  It is considered a beneficial insect because it helps control green June beetles and other grubs.  
The Williamsburg Botanical Garden is in an area called Freedom Park, and is open at 7.00 a.m. to Sunset every day of the year.  The address is 5537 Centerville Road, Williamsburg, VA 23188.  Their phone number is 757-880-1893, and you can find their website here.  (Find the intersection of Longhill and Centerville Road.  Follow the road into the park and the entrance is about a mile in.  I add this because our GPS didn't get us there.  We had to do a bit of guessing to find the gate.  Yes we probably could have looked this all up before we left but then that would have been way too easy and sometimes our GPS takes us in new directions, rarely I admit but it's always fun. You will see the entrance on your left-hand side (see first photo), but you have to drive a short way past, turn right, then another short way and turn left into the parking lot, and then walk back to the garden.
I liked the decorative ironwork on the gate.


A larger version of my favorite.

The following map is of the actual garden and what you will find there.  You will see a pathway opposite the gate.  I believe this takes you back to another parking lot, just across the road from where we parked our car.  


There is a lot more activity in the larger parking lot, an area I don't know much about but it, like the garden, is located in Freedom Park.  Its history dates back to the 1650s.  There is an 18th Century cemetery and one of the nation's earliest Free Black Settlements in America dating from 1803-1850.  I have a post coming up soon about this settlement.  There are other activities here too, but for now I am concentrating on the garden.

I have two more posts on the garden coming up, of flowers and birds.





42 comments:

  1. Wow, what a fantastic post!!! I have never heard of or seen a Hummingbird Moth. He is gorgeous, large and almost fairy-like!! What great photos you got! Of course that is my favorite. And I also love your first butterfly picture. And the flowerpot man! He is adorable. Carpenter bees are rather gentle and will not usually sting you. There are many around here. Being smaller, this garden would also be nice for people with handicaps. The really big botanical gardens are just too much for me anymore. You have outdone yourself today!!

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    1. Hi Ginny, I am always happy you like my posts. It is very nice to get your view on the Carpenter bees. I have never had any real problems with them. Thank you for all your sweet comments.

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  2. They look like excellent gardens. I will admit to a little envy about your Sphynx moth sighting. All of the Hummingbird Moths are beautiful. Thank you so much for showing us some of the wonders.

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    1. Thank you EC and you are very welcome. Happy you enjoyed this post, and especially the Hummingbird Moth. They are rare sightings for me and when I do see them, it is magical :)

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  3. I am glad you wrote this, Denise, it was pure educational. Love the photographs.

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    1. Hi Valerie, that's great. So happy you enjoyed.

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    1. Obrigado! Visitar jardins é o meu passeio favorito. Uma boa semana continuada para você.

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  5. Hello Denise, The Phinx Moth is beautiful. I like the flowerpot man is cute and the bee palace. Lovely flowers and butterflies. Great post and photos. Enjoy your day, have a great new week!

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    1. Hi Eileen, so glad you enjoyed. A great day and week to you too :)

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  6. A beautiful botanical garden. The man with pots is fun, and the insect house is badly needed. Beautiful photos.

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  7. Oh, I think I'd reslly like to peruse this garden. And, I LOVE the flower pot man!

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  8. I had no idea this exotic and oh so beautiful hummingbird moth existed. just this is worth the visit. love the iron work and the home for bees and wasps, although I would have to stay far away from that and use my zoom, since I am terrified of bees/wasps.

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    1. I remember the first time I saw one, I was amazed!

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  9. I just showed this to Bob, he says he has seen them at the big lights at the park. I never have though

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    1. That's great! I always remember seeing different colored crickets when we were down in Florida. Always fun to go to different areas and see the different critters.

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  10. Wow that looks a great place to me and fab insects. Cheers Diane

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    1. Hi Diane, I always love seeing your insect photos on flowers :)

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  11. Beautiful gardens, excellent photos.

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  12. Great post. You saw the quality. Your knowledge could let recognize it.

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    1. Thank you Red, it is fun learning as I go along :)

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  13. Gorgeous photos of the butterflies but, that hummingbird moth is pretty special. I've never seen one in person.

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  14. If a place reminded me of the Secret Garden, I would love it immediately. Thanks for the tour. It’s fun to visit Williamsburg with you and see the less obvious “secret” places. (Although I’d be delighted to see the obvious ones again sometime).

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    1. Thank you Sallie and you are very welcome. There are another couple of posts coming up :) I'm delighted at all the gardens I go to just like you. Definitely my happy place :)

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  15. This has to be one of your best posts ever! what a great place, and your photos of the hummingbird moth and other creatures are amazing. How did you ever capture them? Really I can't praise this post enough. Plus we agree heartily: "never plan too far ahead and take things as they come most of the time."

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    1. Thank you so much Cloudia, I am very happy you enjoyed this post. All those beautiful insects were very cooperative and posed beautifully, and long enough for me to get my photos. Glad we are kindred spirits as far as not planning too far ahead :)

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  16. What a lovely post, they do look excellent gardens …
    I also used to enjoy watching, 'Bill and Ben The Flowerpot Men' :)

    All the best Jan

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    1. I think you are the first "Bill and Ben The Flowerpot Men" fan I've ever met :))) All the best to you too Jan and thank you :)

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  17. Oh, the hummingbird moth is incredible … I don’t think I’ve ever seen one before. Denise, you did such a marvelous job of taking pictures of these fluttering beauties!

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    1. Thank you Penelope, I felt I had been given a wonderful gift when the moth allowed me to take so many photos. It was busy sipping on nectar and stayed long enough on each flower to allow me to get these treasures.

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  18. I love this post, Denise. As I mentioned before I'm not familiar with this garden. Your photos are exceptional and knowing you took them with a cell phone, I'm amazed! The hummingbird moth is beautiful. Such an interesting one and quite large. Thank you for the details of its location. I will refer to your post and hope to visit here. Oh, the Pollinator Palace is brilliant! I want to make one of these.

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    1. So glad Martha Ellen and you are very welcome. I hope this post has given you enough information now to guide you to the garden :)

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