Lexington Virginia – A short business trip

Colorful Bricks

Not very long ago I had to go to Lexington, Virginia for a short business trip (on-site work) and I managed to get out and take a short walk the one night I stayed in town.

Downtown Lexington

Downtown Lexington

I lived in Lexington for a short time (less than a year) just over ten years ago. It’s a really cute little town with a lot of interesting architecture. I did not get around to touring the neighborhoods- where there are many wonderful old homes- but I take a walk around the downtown area while it was lightly raining.

Detail Bricks

Detail Bricks

The sidewalks are paved with these wonderful bricks that (I think I remember) were made locally. The designs are supposed to help with traction when it gets icy.

Stonewall Jackson House

Stonewall Jackson House

The reason I lived in Lexington was that I worked here- at the Stonewall Jackson House. It has since been absorbed into the VMI museum system. It was closed for the day when I came by, but they have a wonderful garden in the back.

Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church in downtown is an imposing structure. The sanctuary actually burned in 2000- if I remember rightly, it started from workers restoring the church using heat guns to strip paint. Old wood + too much heat = fire.

Gate at Episcopal Church

Gate at Episcopal Church

I made a large circle around the downtown (there aren’t that many streets) and most of the shops close around 5 PM. At the other end of the downtown area, both VMI and Washington and Lee University are right next to each other. This episcopal church is right at the edge of the W&L campus.

Giant Viburnum

Giant Viburnum

I’m much more aware of landscapes now, and I took note of this giant viburnum outside the church. It was huge and had these beautiful clusters of bright seeds.

Liriope

Liriope

Further down, on the W&L campus, I found these Liriope with giant flowers. It really stood out to me, I’d love to try and find the variety.

Detail Liriope

Detail Liriope

The Washington and Lee campus is very traditional looking, and has a great lawn. I saw many critters- rabbits and squirrels and birds- everywhere.

Washington and Lee Campus

Washington and Lee Campus

Lee Chapel is where I spent most of my time.

Lee Chapel

Lee Chapel

Outside the museum entrance is the marker for Traveller, Lee’s horse during the Civil War. Someone left him an apple.

Apple for Traveller

Apple for Traveller

People are serious about the civil war here. I stayed at the Sheridian Livery Restaurant and Inn, and had a wonderful experience. I recommend both – and not just because the owners were sweet enough to make me hot chocolate in the evening when I asked for it. I drove back around midday, stopping at the scenic views on 64 while passing over the blue ridge mountains.

Selfie at Scenic View

Selfie at Scenic View

I actually packed myself a picnic lunch, to eat at these stops. I never get tired of the Blue Ridge mountains. (Click on the picture for the full panorama).

Scenic View Blue Ridge

Scenic View Blue Ridge

If you are ever traveling through western Virginia, I highly recommend a stop in Lexington.

This Week in the Garden – August 24

Garden Orb Spider

As we head well into mid-summer, I think the garden is really starting to shape up for this season. I’m still bummed about most of the garden phlox not blooming, and about the mophead hydrangeas not having any blooms this year either (too cold last winter). But I do think the cardinal flowers are really helping to distract me with so many of them.

Mid Summer View of Lower Garden Triangle

Mid Summer View of Lower Garden Triangle

I haven’t been liking this triangular bed in the lower garden as much, but the more color it has, the more I like it. I also liked keeping some of the red shiso for the beautiful dark purple contrast, and the hot pink impatiens really pop. The cardinal flowers are just so interesting though, and they (along with all the flowers in the garden) are buzzing with all kinds of bees and other pollinating insects.

Detail of Cardinal Flowers

Detail of Cardinal Flowers

Also in the lower garden, I found this interesting and cool looking sedge growing. I haven’t been able to figure out the variety yet. Some people may consider it a weed, but I think it adds interest, and I’d love to have more of it.

A Sedge of some sort

A Sedge of some sort

And I know I posted a similar photo two weeks ago, but I absolutely love this view. It’s so nice to just sit for a spell after working in the garden. I think you really see the plants in full bloom here- the stonecrop sedum in front, the cardinal flowers and orange coneflower (rudbekia) in back.

Mid summer view from bench

Mid summer view from bench

This stonecrop is probably towards the height of it’s blooming right about now.

Stonecrop Sedum Flowers

Stonecrop Sedum Flowers

Coming down the path to the lower garden, the pink hardy begonias are really getting going too- lots of little pink buds everywhere.

Pink Hardy Begonias blooming on path

Pink Hardy Begonias blooming on path

And on the hillside, I found a few white hardy begonias. At first I thought they had just been bleached by too much sunlight, but after a quick search I realized they come in both pink and white.

White Hardy Begonia

White Hardy Begonia

This photo doesn’t really do the view justice, but I love eating out in the sky room every day to see this pretty view.

View from the Sky Room

View from the Sky Room

And to the right of the Tulip Poplar:

View from the Sky room 2

View from the Sky room 2

It’s hard to see, but there is a light purple butterfly bush in the middle of the photo above. The butterflies and hummingbirds love it- and we saw a tiny red hummingbird go to nearly flower this afternoon. My favorite butterfly bush though is still this pretty dark purple number in the side yard.

Dark Butterfly Bush

Dark Butterfly Bush

Here’s a view of the veggie patch, which sadly doesn’t have too many veggies growing in it this year. One zucchini plant, two tomatoes, and one pepper are trying hard. It’s kind of sad with the phlox not going either. I need to do some serious trimming this winter of the Fourth of July rose too, to try to stimulate some more growth next year.

View of the Veggie Patch

View of the Veggie Patch

Some new flowers are starting to poke out though- Chelone – or pink turtlehead is blooming.

Chelone or Pink Turtlehead

Chelone or Pink Turtlehead

And this late blooming daylily just showed up the other day. Which looks a lot like one that was blooming way back in Spring. I will say though I’ve had a couple of weird blooms come out here and there- one was a late wisteria bloom after I chopped a bunch back, and last week a sole pink azalea bloom showed up on a bush under the deck. A purple Encore azalea has started to bloom again in the lower garden too- I thought it would come out a bit later in the fall but… oh well.

Late bloomer daylily

Late bloomer daylily

I’m sharing the side yard again because I’m just amazed that I get to see this whenever I go outside in the daytime.

Mid Summer View of the Side Yard

Mid Summer View of the Side Yard

And here’s the front side yard, which is looking a little worse for wear right now- but you can see another Joe Pye Weed blooming (I think). I’m also glad they finally took away the dumpster in our neighbor’s driveway.

Front Side Bed

Front Side Bed

I don’t know for sure what the tall, dark purple flower is but I think it’s a Joe Pye Weed. If I’m wrong and you know what it is, please let me know!!

Another Joe Pye Weed

Another Joe Pye Weed

And some new additions I made in the last week is this cute little celosia. Celosia is an annual around here, but sometimes they can re-seed themselves. I’m really hoping to see some more next year…but if not it wasn’t much of an investment. And it makes me happy to add a little color to a few spots that needed it.

Celosia

Celosia

I also bought a pair of big blue pots that I love the color of (and I got them on sale for $21 each!). For now, I’ve put one on the front porch with a “White Queen” Caladium sitting inside (in a plastic pot). I need to bring the caladium inside over the winter anyway, as it will not survive outside here. I plan on giving it a more permanent home (in a pot) in the spring– something that I can easily move inside and out as needed.

White Queen caladium in blue pot

White Queen caladium in blue pot

And this morning, we stumbled across this big guy, who had spun a web from the corner of our house by the front door, to the caladium, overnight. I think it’s a garden orb spider.

Garden Orb Spider

Garden Orb Spider

I also bought and planted a smaller blue salvia, which I’m hoping will have no problem coming back next year.

 

This Week in the Garden – August 10

Hosta Stairs

This week in the garden will actually encompass the last two weeks.  As it is now the middle of mid-summer, a few new flowers have opened up. Sometimes I get so caught up in finding new flowers, I forget to take shots of the overall view. Here is the side yard with all the pretty crape myrtles in bloom.

Side Yard Mid-Summer

Side Yard Mid-Summer

In the side yard, I have a couple of Joe Pye Weed plants that are easily 6 feet tall, or taller!

Joe Pye Weed Blooms

Joe Pye Weed Blooms

The flower heads have been covered with bees since they opened up- here’s a detail of the flower.

Detail Joe Pye Weed

Detail Joe Pye Weed

Also in the side yard I have a few garden phlox blooming. I noticed in looking back at my pictures from a year ago that I had a lot more in bloom, but unfortunately, most of the garden phlox this year were completely eaten up by phlox bugs. So early in the fall I will cut them all down and dispose of them, and keep an eye on them next year.

Double Pink Garden Phlox

Double Pink Garden Phlox

Some of the varieties of liriope are blooming now too- both a purple and a white flowered variety.

Liriope Flower

Liriope Flower

This white variety is growing on the hillside, down the middle “rock slide” area.

Liriope with white flower

Liriope with white flower

I did a lot of work on the hillside this weekend, and spent over four hours pulling up the unwanted houttuynia. Here are the before and after shots:

Before - hillside of houttuynia

Before – hillside of houttuynia

After- hillside

After- hillside

In the after shots you can see the rocks and some smaller plants that were hidden, as well as more definition in the ferns.

Before - hillside lower garden

Before – hillside lower garden

After - hillside lower garden

After – hillside lower garden

I had to be very careful down at the very bottom because there are quite a few miniature hostas that are mixed up with the houttuynia. The hostas I want to try to keep!

Also on the hillside, another bush started blooming- I think it’s Clethra Alnifonia.

Clethra bush

Clethra bush

The bees sure do seem to like it too-

Bee on Summer Sweet

Bee on Summer Sweet

Taking a break from all that weeding, I had a pretty view from sitting on the bench in the lower garden.

View from the bench

View from the bench

You can see the cardinal flowers and black eyed susans are really at their peak now. While I was sitting, I saw a hummingbird come up to at least half of the cardinal flowers.

Cardinal Flowers and Black Eyed Susans

Cardinal Flowers and Black Eyed Susans

The sedums are starting to set buds as well, and this is the first one to flower:

Sedum bloom

Sedum Blooming

Here’s a detail of the sedum flower:

Sedum Flower

Sedum Flower

In my last “This Week in the Garden” post I had mentioned that one hardy begonia just started flowering- but this week it’s really going! I also saw several more pink buds today.

Hardy Begonia bloom

Hardy Begonia bloom

The top of the hosta stairs is still looking beautiful- this is one of my favorite vignettes in the garden:

Hosta Stairs

Hosta Stairs

Both in the vegetable garden and in the front side bed, I have several of these Texas Star Hibiscus blooming. It’s a striking plant, but I’m not sure I like how it looks in these spots. I may end up moving it around.

Texas Star Hibiscus bloom

Texas Star Hibiscus bloom

And while I was weeding in the veggie patch, this not-so-little guy jumped near my feet.

Pickerel Frog

Pickerel Frog

Right now I feel like it’s mostly a battle just trying to keep the unwanted plants at bay. I haven’t had too many weeds to pull not counting the houttuynia. And I’ve even managed to score a few vegetables this week! I pulled two little cherry tomatoes, a red ace pepper, and one zucchini.

A Mid-Summer Mantle

Hydrangea and Crape Myrtle Bouquet

After the houttuynia bouquets died, I kinda sorta left them (dead) up on the mantle for a while…but I finally got my act together and went outside in the garden and gathered up some fresh blooms last Sunday. I knew I wanted to use some of the “Annabelle” hydrangea blooms before they started to turn brown, and I also wanted to use some Red Shiso (since I have sooo much of it). Starting with those plants as the base, I went out in search of some other colors and forms to add the new bouquets.

Mid Summer Bouquets

Mid Summer Bouquets

I’m pretty happy with the final result, but I didn’t shape the arrangements quite how I wanted to. And the Black Eyed Susans are hard to see with the vases so high up. I can’t keep them lower because otherwise the cats will try to eat them.

Mid Summer Bouquet

Mid Summer Bouquet

So the plants I included in this arrangement are: Annabelle Hydrangea blossoms (lime green), Crape Myrtle blossoms (pink), Black Eyed Susan (yellow), Red Shiso (dark red/purple leaves), and a couple sprigs of Rainbow Leucothoe (light-mid green).

Hydrangea and Crape Myrtle Bouquet

Hydrangea and Crape Myrtle Bouquet

It was more difficult than I thought it would be trying to arrange the crape myrtle. I cut off a small branch, and had to deconstruct it further to have it fit in the vases. I really hope this arrangement lasts more than a couple of days.

Mid Summer Color on the Mantle

Mid Summer Color on the Mantle

It’s so nice to have some fresh color on the mantle! In my last house, there wasn’t really any where to display fresh flowers (without the cats getting to them) and I didn’t have much of a garden either so I rarely had flowers in the house. So it feels like such a happy luxury that I can just go outside and gather a gorgeous bouquet.

 

Partying here: Remodelaholic, Thrifty Decor Chick