Thursday, March 31, 2022


I will start off by providing a link to a YouTube video, that tells you all about the garden, including its history of how it came to be.  It is a wonderful video.
It was especially nice to see the daffodils blooming.  

For me, this is very true!  And there is a nostalgia element here, as next to Calla Lilies, daffodils were my Mother's favorite flower and I always think of her when I see them.

Next is one of Gregg's photos.
My plant app gave me two ID's this time.  It said it was either a Black Alder or an American Hazelnut?  I love my plant app but it is not 100 percent sure on this one.  The small tree was about my height and the branches were like a corkscrew.  Would you please tell me if you know the correct ID?  I am always grateful for those who have more knowledge about these things than me.  I just had another thought, I could email the garden and ask, but would still be grateful for some help from more-in-the-know blogging friends.  Added note on 3-31-22 at 4.00 p.m.  Sandra at Madsnapper found the ID for me.  It is a Corkscrew Hazel.  Thanks Sandra :)
The next photo shows a favorite tree, not too far from the house.  The leaves are starting to show.  It has a light bark and is another I would like to ask the garden about when I email them.  I found this interesting website with information on the kind of trees that have that color bark.  Here again if you know what it is, please let me know, always appreciative of any help.

There were also Crocus.  I always enjoy seeing them bloom.  These are native to the Alps, southern Europe, the Mediterranean area, Northern Africa and the Middle East, and across Central Asia to Xinjiang Province in western China.
I mentioned the herb Saffron when talking about them before.  I read that saffron comes from, " in particular, called Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus, and this blooms in the fall.  It is native to Greece and Southwest Asia.  The plant is cultivated for the production of the spice saffron, especially in Iran, and it is known to have numerous medicinal properties.  Also a famous medicinal herb with a long history of effective use.  Saffron acts as an antioxidant, sedative, an immune system booster and is also known as an anti-carcinogenic. It is also used in cosmetics and in perfumes.  One more fact about this particular crocus, Saffron-based pigments adorned a Prehistoric cave.  50,000 year old depictions of prehistoric beasts have been found in today's Iraq (north-west of Persian Empire)."
This is called the Spring starflower (botanical name Ipheion uniflorum).  It also goes by the names of Springstar, Mexican Star and Starlikes, and is native to Argentina and Uruguay.  This star-like flower appears early in the spring and lasts for about two weeks.  "Uniflorum" means 'single flower', referring to the fact that each stem bears only one flower.  It is a member of the onion family, so although the flowers have a sweet and slightly spicy scent, the leaves when crushed smell of onion or garlic.

Next we have Glory of the Snow, botanical name Scilla luciliae (more up-close pictures can be seen at the link).  Its common name is Boissier's glory-of-the-snow, blooms in the spring and is a perennial.  Native to western Turkey, it sounds like quite a hardy plant, being deer and critter resistant and is described as virtually disease and trouble free.  It can grow up to 4 to 6 inches tall (10 to 20 cm), and easily grows in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.  Lots more information at the website above.

The following bloom many of you will recognize as the Hyacinth.   Its botanical name is Hyacinthus orientalis.  Other names are Common hyacinth, Garden hyacinth, Dutch hyacinths and Dutch hyacint.  It is a perennial and likes full sun but will grow in part shade.  
The word 'Hyacinth' has also surfaced in an ancient language called 'Thracopelasgian', which was spoken 4,000 years ago. The wild Hyacinth is a native of Turkey and the Middle East, along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Hyacinths were grown in Europe in the time of the Greeks and Romans. Both Homer and Virgil noted its sweet fragrance. After this, the Hyacinth faded from history and did not reappear until the 16th century when it was reintroduced into Western Europe from Turkey and Iran. Leonhardt Rauwolf, (a German doctor) collected some Hyacinths when he visited Turkey in 1573.

Next is the Helibore.  It is also called the Lenten Rose, or Christmas rose (not related to roses at all), and its botanical name is Helleborus orientalis.  It is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the buttercup family.  There are around 20 species of hellebore that originated from Europe and Asia.  It was used extensively as an herbal remedy in the past, but due to a high content of toxic substances, they are mostly cultivated for ornamental purposes today.  Historians believe that hellebore was one of the plants (part of herbal mixture) responsible for the death of Alexander the Great.

Another one of Gregg's photos below.  This is a Callery pear, also known as a Bradford pear.  Its botantical name is Pyrus calleryana.  It is named after a Frenchman, Joseph Marie Callery, who brought the plant from China to Europe.  It has a lifespan anywhere from 20 to 150 years, and can grow to an average height of 25 to 30 feet.  It produces sterile fruit because they do not self-pollinate.  They have been widely planted throughout the United States since the early 1900s as an ornamental.   More information on this can be found here.

That's all from our latest walk around the garden.  I am always looking forward to what will be blooming next time, and will probably be back in a couple of weeks.

Our weather turned very chilly and we were very surprised we got a snow shower a few days ago.  It lasted all of five minutes!  Messages from blogging friends told me that some of you had a lot more.  I hope it didn't hang around too long.  I am looking forward to our next walk and it won't be long before the temperatures start rising again, hopefully.  I haven't checked our ten-day weather forecast yet. 

Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022


We come here often for our walks, as you will see from all the blog posts I have made from the beginning. You can visit those if you click on the garden's name among the labels at the end of this post (too many to view in one sitting truth be told).  If you are ever in the area and would like to visit, I am including their address this time, and also with a map below:

Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Rd, Alexandria, VA 22312

There is also a very cute YouTube video I just found, of a walk around the garden, seen from the eyes of a Shebainu.  A very cute dog!  You can see it here.  And talking about dogs, here are four that we saw being walked around the large green.  They were cute too!

As mentioned in my previous post I stopped off at the Edgeworthia chrysantha plant, to see how it was progressing bloom-wise.
   I can be seen on the other side of the plant as Dear Other Half takes a photo.  He takes many of our photos during visits to parks.  I always enjoy seeing what catches his eye on our walks.  This time it was me plus plant.  He uses our larger camera with the zoom lens.  It gets too heavy for me and he carries it most of the time, until I see something like a bird, when I ask for it back.  I take a lot of my photos now with my cell phone.
The plant is not too far from the visitor center.  
At this link I read, "Edgeworthia chrysantha, commonly called paperbush or edgeworthia, is a deciduous suckering shrub that typically grows to 4-6’ tall and as wide. It is native to woodland areas in the Himalayas and China. Short-stalked, lanceolate-oblong, dark green leaves (to 3-5” long and 2” wide) are crowded near the branch ends. Alternate, narrow-oval, dull dark green leaves (to 5” long and 2” wide) are gray-green beneath. No fall color." 
"Young leaves are covered with silky white hairs. Tiny, apetalous, tubular, yellow flowers are compacted into dense, rounded, umbelliferous flower heads (up to 40 flowers per head). Flower buds begin to form in late summer each year, overwinter on the bare stems and burst into bloom from late February to early April before the new leaves emerge. 
Silvery winter flower buds and brown branching are ornamentally attractive. Fruits are dry drupes."  I may be repeating some of the information from a previous post, as I have shared several, but sometimes it is easier to repeat than to look back at the others.
There were freshly planted pansies at one of the entrances... 
and other areas.
The blossoms of the pansy are edible, and are being used for cake decorating and cocktail garnishes.  I think it is very important to note though, and probably goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, that anything we might use for such things, should have been grown without pesticides, or indeed anything that would pass on any toxicity.  I have, some time ago now, seen small containers of pansy petals in supermarkets.  I bought one two or three years ago and used them for a salad.  They looked pretty but I never thought to buy them again.  My curiosity was satisfied.  I thought at the time I would rather see them growing in the garden.
Apparently both the blooms and the leaves are edible and high in Vitamins A and C.  The description I read about them said they taste like a slightly floral version of lettuce.  (I can't remember what they tasted like.)  The flowers can also be used to make syrup-flavored honey and used as a natural dye.   (There were other flowers blooming, but I am going to put those in my next post.)
The only bird that came close enough to photograph was this American Robin digging for its lunch, a worm.  Below, in the top left photo of my collage, you will notice that the robin's eye seems to be opaque.  I smiled at the description found on the Audobon page where the title reads, "Birds Have Built-in-Goggles" and goes on to say that "A third eyelid provides the extra protection needed to fly and hunt". The article goes into more detail which you can read at this link.  
It further goes on to say, "...beneath the outer eyelids lies an extra eyelid, called the nictitating membrane. Nictitating, for all its alliterative syllables, simply means “blinking”. This extra eyelid is hinged at the inner side of the eye and sweeps horizontally across the cornea. The nictitating membrane is largely transparent, and it helps keep the eye moist and clean while guarding it from wind, dust, and hazards."  It is a very interesting article and worth reading

As I usually do, I have more photos to share from our walk, but will post those next time.  Thank you for walking with us, and I hope your day is a great one. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


 Just in case the words embedded in my photograph are a difficult read (there are days for me too), I am repeating the words here.

"Go out, go out I beg of you, and taste the beauty of the wild.  Behold the miracle of the earth with all the wonder of a child."

Canadian Poet 1891-1978

We don’t necessarily have to go far to enjoy the wild.  It could be in our own garden.  What miracle of the earth did you see recently? Spring has many of them.

Photo from trip to Alaska in May 2018

Monday, March 28, 2022


I wanted to find the simplest recipe as I didn't feel like fussing the day I made it.  I found it at Creme de la Creme, and the original recipe is at this link.  There is lots of information at the site that I recommend you look at sometime.  I shall be going back.

Best, Easy Healthy Baked Salmon Recipe 


Calories per serving: 306

Approximate total time to make: 25 minutes

4 salmon fillets - about 6 ounces each

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt - or to taste

¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper - just a pinch if using finely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning blend - or Herbs de Provence, or ¼ teaspoon each dried thyme, parsley, oregano, and basil

1 medium lemon

Salmon Fillets – look for fresh salmon fillets that are nice and pink and moist. Alternatively, purchase frozen fillets that are vacuum sealed with no freezer burn.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a large baking pan (I put a piece of parchment paper on the pan and didn’t need any).

Arrange the salmon fillets on the baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper.

Stir together the olive oil, garlic, herbs, and juice of 1/2 of the lemon. 

Brush this sauce over salmon fillets, being sure to cover all over the tops and sides of the salmon so it has no dry spots. Thinly slice the remaining 1/2 of the lemon and top each piece of salmon with a slice of lemon.

Bake the salmon in the oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the salmon is opaque and flaky when pulled apart with a fork. You can broil the last 1-2 minutes if needed.

Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley and serve.

Suggested tip: swap out the lemon for lime and add a sprinkle of cilantro at the end.

This was a very good recipe.  I followed it without making any changes, except for only using one piece, as it was just for me.  Dear Other Half’s choice was fried clam strips.   As I have said many times, it would be a boring old world if we all liked the same thing. He doesn’t like salmon and I don’t like clam strips. 

There was enough salmon for two meals and I used the second piece with a mixed green salad.

Sides were store-bought coleslaw and fresh sautéed mushrooms.

Thanks for looking and have a great week.

Friday, March 25, 2022


 The photo and poem are from an old blog post dating back to a road trip in 2013, out west somewhere.  It is fun for me to look back to see a previous post years ago.  I forget sometimes that I started blogging in April of 2008, starting this 'new' blog officially in 2016.

A Little Further

The reason I never can quit the road
Is a reason that's plain and clear.
It's because no matter where I may stop
And whether it's far or near

There's a place beyond the place I am
Wherever I may be at,
And then beyond is a place beyond
And the world beyond all that!

And as long as a man has eyes to see
And a brain that wants to know,
I figure there's things he's bound to miss
If he doesn't go on and go;

For there's always a place beyond the place
I happen to hang my hat,
And another place beyond that place
And the world beyond all that.

There's some folks stay in a single spot
Or a town of which they're fond,
And never worry a little bit
At the thought of a place beyond;

But the place beyond the place beyond
Won't never let me rest,
For there's a sort of a kind of urge
That's burning within my breast.

To go and go till the end of life,
And when I've left it flat,
Go on beyond the place beyond;
And the universe after that.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2022


 I am sharing a photo our son took a couple of days ago.  He often sees deer on his walks, and he always shares them with us.  

It rained today but we went to a store we don't always go to.  I don't mind rainy days, and this wasn't a heavy rain, one of those rains where you can put your hood up and not have to get the brolly out, just avoid the puddles and maybe put on a pair of jeans that are not too long for my short legs.  The bottoms were dripping wet by the time we got home.  Note to self, get your needle and thread out dear and shorten those jeans!

I had fun walking around the store.  We didn't buy much but came out with a couple of loaves of bread (sour dough and whole grain), celery, pine nuts, a container of coleslaw and a piece of salmon for tonight's dinner.  I will be sharing the recipe next Monday.  

Our son and daughter-in-law came over to help dad celebrate his birthday. Always lovely to see them at the best of times, but this was even more special and they are such great company.  I had chats with my dear niece in Germany, and another Facetime with my brother-in-law over there. We had a phone call from an old friend who is moving back to Virginia soon, to this area, and we will be making plans to see each other.  I have loads of letter writing needing to be done, sadly lagging behind, but I get some comfort that this blog is a good way for family and friends to catch up with us in the meantime.

After last week's walk around the nature refuge, we went back to Green Spring Gardens.  I wanted to check out this particular plant to see how the blooms were progressing.  Still not fully in bloom but it's coming along.  This plant I have mentioned before, "Edwordia Chrisantha", which I have shared photos of, and will be sharing again in a post.  
A young lady started chatting to me about it.  It is the 'friendly' plant I call it, and is the second time someone has come up to me when taking photos of the soon-to-be-in-full-bloom-but-not-quite-yet blooms. We chatted for about 15-20 minutes.  She told me she only lived three-quarters of a mile away and came often.  She was drawn to the plant just like I was. Neither of us had seen it anywhere else. She also told me what a lovely scent it had, which I wasn't aware of, and I checked it out.  Yes it has a delightful scent.  She also told me about another favorite of hers and where to find it.  It is called Korean Spice Viburnum.  It was in one of the small alcove-type gardens we walk by and quite often sit in.  It also blooms but not yet.  The leaves were only just starting to grow.

 I will be going back in another couple of weeks to take more photos of the Edwordia Chrisantha, and this one now. The rain is going to hang around for a couple of days, so will have a rest from walking.  We want to go to Huntley Meadows to see what birds are visiting on their way up north. 
And as far as our own birds are concerned, the Grackles have arrived!  They are a bit naughty!  There is a large flock, at least a couple of dozen of them, that stop by twice a day.  They are voracious eaters but I am enjoying their interactions.  It's like everyone is a boss, no one seems to back down, all lay claim to their own patch and refuse to give it up. Lots of fluffing up of feathers and strutting around going on.  And the Cardinals come round well after they have gone.
I have started Spring cleaning and got into some closets, but before I bore your socks off any more, I'll quit now.  It has been a good week and has gone quickly.  

Thanks for listening to my rambles and I do  
hope all is well where you are.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022


Continuing our walk at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, we are on the way to Painted Turtle Pond.  We see another Hermit Thrush hopping on the ground.  Gregg took its photo.  

Cropped from above.

At this link it will give you information on how Occoquan (the town) received its name, and much more.  The following information I found at Wikipedia here.  

"Occoquan (/ˈɒkəkwɒn/is derived from an Algonquian Doeg Indian word, meaning "at the end of the water."
We continued walking along this trail, and it wasn't long before we reached the pond.  
As the sign says, it is an ecological study area.  I couldn't find much more information, but I will keep looking.
I don't think I have ever seen a group of turtles as big as this one.  A group of turtles is called a bale, so…
we left our bale of turtles without further investigation.  
This walk is always quite a long one and our energy level had been depleted.  Knowing that we had to get back, we decided it prudent to leave it for another day.  Good news is that on following this loop around, the distance back to the car was about half as long.  We now know a short cut to the pond and will be returning in a couple of week.  
We came across a large patch of Sumac and there is an interesting article at this link.  It says that it is related to the cashew and there's talk of toxicity if you are interested.  I am not sure what type of Sumac this is. 
There are about 35 species of the flowering plants in the genus Rhus, (also spelled sumach).  Sumacs grow in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, including East Asia, Africa and North America.  Sumac is used as a spice, as a dye and in medicine.  Its scientific name is "Rhus". This info came from here...
and at this website, The Spruce, has more.
Another gift on our walk was the sighting of our second Eastern Bluebird.  
It stayed around long enough for me to take a few photos.
It was wonderful seeing the blossoms and there were signs of Spring everywhere.
This was identified as a Callery Pear, botanical name Pyrus calleryana, also known as Bradford pear.  Unlike other blossom trees, it is said to have an unpleasant odor when it blooms.  It does, however, look quite spectacular.  It was named after a French man, Jospeph Marie Callery (1810-1862), who originally brought the plant from China to Europe.  He traveled extensively in Asia (Java, Philippines and China).
We made our way past the gate, turned right and a short walk took us back to where we had parked our car.  It was a wonderful walk and we are looking forward to going back in a couple of weeks.