Sunday, February 12, 2006

A snowstorm and a flower show

If you live in central Virginia, you know the routine. We go through it once, twice, sometimes three times a winter. Weather-persons on the local news fall all over themselves to gush about it: "Winter Storm Advisory!". "Heavy Snow Accumulation!".

We should know better, but we always get excited. We raid the supermarkets. We stock the fridge. We put on a pot of soup. We hunker down. And we get a whopping 2 inches, which mostly melts by lunchtime.

It was pretty while it lasted:

View from my front porch

A copper sprinkler I have not yet put away for winter - do you think it's time?

A birdhouse purchased at last spring's plant sale at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.


I didn't make it to this year's Maymont Flower & Garden show until today, the last day of the event. There's a risk in waiting until Sunday -- as flowers and displays can look drooping and spent by the end. Despite that, the displays seemed to have held up fairly well.

Here are a few of my favorites:

A display by the kids at the Chesterfield Technical Center, which was my favorite of the entire show.

A very interesting and unusual "Snake & Glass" display.

Some stunning tulips. (Click picture for larger image)

Some very impressive miniatures.

What was surprising to me was what seemed to be a lack of vendors as compared with years past. Maybe it's just the spaciousness of our new & improved Convention Center. Maybe some vendors pulled out early yesterday in anticipation of our so-called "blizzard".

Or maybe there really were fewer vendors, for whatever reason, which seems silly -- gardeners are always chomping at the bit to spend good money on garden-related items. There weren't many folks selling plants, which isn't so unusual at this time of year, but it was hard to find anyone even selling seeds.

I was good this year, and only bought:

an issue of the creme-de-la-creme of gardening magazines, and

three jars of yummy wild blueberry jam from Maine - one for me, two for other family members.

I'd say I escaped without too much damage -- more money saved to spend on plants at the spring plant sales!

What was more disappointing to me was the lack of interesting speakers, which is normally the highlight of the show for me. Yes, they had a full slate of speakers, and even had some on Sunday this year, which is a nice addition to the schedule. But the topics were all very ho-hum. Same-old, same-old. Not worth my time or money. And in my opinion, not up to par with speakers of past garden shows.

Last year a wonderful presentation was given by Norie Burnet, (the "Moss Lady"), a Bon Air gardener whose entire "lawn" is moss. She's been written up in several gardening magazines, and pictures of her moss lawn are a feast for the eyes. Her talk was interesting, her slides fantastic. At the end, she expertly answered lots of questions, and even had a "show-and-tell" of living examples of different kinds of mosses that grow in our area. Moss is a topic near-and-dear to my heart, as I, too, have lots of it growing in my yard, and I love it. (One of my all-time favorite gardening books is Moss Gardening by George Schenk.) I always have to chuckle when I get a flyer from ChemLawn in my mailbox telling me they can help me get rid of my "moss problem". Thanks, but no thanks!

Inspired by Norie's talk, I came home from the garden show last year and took some interesting pictures of my mosses, and I really should get out and take some more right now, as it's looking especially green and healthy. Perhaps I'll do that this week and share some in my next post, as there is nothing else flowering or exciting happening in the yard, now that the snow has melted.

Stay tuned!