Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Storm Sandy

Well, we seem to have done okay with Storm Sandy--we never lost power, a few flickers, but a lot of people are without power in the area, including Brooks in Arlington. Things really got wild last night, with really strong winds and hard rain, but this morning things seem calmer. Still raining, but no wind. I just went out and took a long walk and took these pictures. I didn't see any damage in our neighborhood, just lots of leaves and some branches down. So much for fall foliage. But it did feel good to get outside and get some fresh air. Things should improve today as the storm moves away. Federal government is closed again today, but the metro reopens at 2 pm, so life should be getting back to normal soon. Phew!

Monday, October 29, 2012

USMC Marathon and Hurricane Sandy

Ready to run
We had a busy weekend, mostly taken up with the USMC Marathon yesterday. Of course everyone's mind was on Hurricane Sandy, but the race went off well, only a slight drizzle at the beginning and some wind, but no big rain. They were incredibly lucky, as one day later and it would have been canceled. It's very inspiring to watch this race--all these people who have made such a commitment to run the distance. Walt had a good run, but says this will be his last marathon. I've heard that before...

The start of the race

Yea for the Marines

Hello monument
Almost to the finish line and he's still running!
The rain started last night and has not stopped, and it's only supposed to get worse later today. Everything here is closed--federal government, schools, libraries, no metro or metro buses. It's so weird to have a weather event like this in October. We are expecting massive power outages, strong winds, and tons of rain. This rain is scary already. Hurricane Sandy is here. Fingers crossed.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Button Ferns and Paris

Planting button fern in Paris, 1974
As I was watering my indoor plants the other day,  I started thinking about which plants are my favs. I have several kinds of ferns that I like, but if I had to pick one it would be my button ferns (pellae rotundifolia). They are a very graceful small fern, with dark green button-like leaves. The first button fern I ever had was when I lived in Paris in graduate school. I planted it in an old yogurt pot that I had brought back from Turkey after visiting Tom and Evie in Istanbul. So many times I have wished I still had that pot! Anyway, since then I have always had one or two button ferns. They need frequent watering and I can't tell you how many times I have found one all shriveled up. But fortunately, they are great rebounders, so you can cut them all the way back and new growth always comes up and in a month or so it is a happy plant again.

Maidenhair ferns getting a drink
Button fern
Button fern

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Still Going Strong

I know I've said this before, but this Mexican heather plant is amazing. It has bloomed and looked good every single day since June, even when I forgot to water it. Another pot that has been a real winner this year is my big pot with perilla, lantana, angelonia, purple sweet potato vine, and that's a variegated scented geranium next to it. I love the combination and it has bloomed all summer and fall, too. I keep thinking I should pull these out and replant with mums for fall, but I can't make myself do it because they still look so good. But their days are numbered, as the first frost is coming soon, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tapestry of Colors

I really have to get outside and do some clean up in the gardens. We have been away so much this month, I feel really disconnected from my garden.  I was just reading an article in an old Fine Gardening about whether to clean up your garden in the fall or wait until spring. It seems most people advise waiting until spring to cut back everything, but I like the idea of getting things cut back and  cleaned up and "put to bed" before winter. We'll see. While there is not a lot blooming right now in late October, there is plenty of color. I love this view out my kitchen window of the back fence. I like to think of all those vines weaving together like a tapestry, with a random zinnia peeking out, and the yellowing foliage of hostas and hellebores. By this time last year,  I had already cleaned out most of my pots, but many of this year's pots are still going strong.

Lantana--one of the best
I do love the colors of fall, and the trees this year are spectacular. I need to do a tree photography session soon. When I drive to work now, I take a different road through Reston just to see and appreciate  a beautiful stretch of trees turning colors right now. It's so easy to just drive mindlessly and not notice things, but I am making a conscious effort to look!

Solomon's Seal


Fading variegated hydrangea

Virginia creeper and hyacinth bean

Hyacinth bean blooms

Christmas cactus setting blooms (in dark purple leaves)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Paris, A Love Story

I like memoirs, like to read about other people's lives and experiences, and even better if it has something to do with Paris. This is a memoir by Kati Marton, a journalist and writer who was  married to Peter Jennings for 15 years,  and then to American diplomat Richard Holbrooke. She wrote this book after the sudden death of Holbrooke in 2010, when she sold her apartment in NYC and moved to Paris.

I was hooked right at the beginning of the book,  when she talks about her time as a student at the Sorbonne in Paris, because it brought back so many memories of my own time as a student at the Sorbonne. She was there during the student riots in 1969, about five years before I arrived. When she talks about the huge amphitheaters of the Sorbonne, I remembered being so terrified and thrilled at the same time in those huge lecture halls.  I loved reading about her discoveries in Paris, because they felt so familiar. She even studied in the same library I did.

She spent a lot of time in Paris with both Jennings and Holbrooke and so it is no surprise that she goes back to Paris at such an emotional time to reflect on her life and to write this book.  In the rest of the book she talks about her childhood in Budapest and the trauma of her journalist parents' imprisonment by the secret police, her rising career as a foreign correspondent and how her ambition threatened her marriage to Jennings, and her much happier and more fulfilling marriage with Holbrooke.   She has certainly had an interesting and exciting life, filled with adventure and well-known friends (including close friends Bill and Hillary Clinton) and it was fun to read.

Monday, October 22, 2012

On The Road Again: Outer Banks, NC

We were at the Outer Banks of North Carolina this weekend for the wedding of the daughter of our good friends, Kirk and Yasha. We used to go to the beach every summer with Kirk and Yasha and their three girls, another family, and a few assorted friends, and it was nice to hear that the reason the bride chose to get married there was because she has so many happy memories of summers spent on the Outer Banks.  A lot has changed on the Outer Banks--many of the old beach houses are now gone, replaced by fancy, pastel-painted mini-mansions, and lots of condo developments, so strange to see. Even the dunes in Kitty Hawk seemed smaller. On the other hand, we did find two restaurants we used to like that are still there, Sam and Omie's, and The Dunes.

It was a beautiful weekend, warm and sunny, so we spent some time on the beach, walking each morning, and reading on the beach in the afternoon. I was hoping to drive down towards Hatteras, but the weather was so nice we decided to spend time on the beach rather than in the car. 

Kitty Hawk Pier

The wedding was held in the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, which were just beautiful. There is a rose garden, an herb garden, a sunken knot garden, and masses of azaleas and camellias, many still in bloom in this warm weather. It was a fun weekend, and great to celebrate with their family and see old friends.

Taplin and Scott get married

Knot Garden
Queen Elizabeth I
Sisters of the bride, Mariah and Jessie

Friends, Phil, Kirk, and Dave

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Fleurs: Yellow Roses in Kitchen Window

I love these last roses of the season. The yellow ones seem especially beautiful  and I am picking them while I can.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Time

Love these pink ribbon pumpkins in Leesburg

On our way back from New York, we stopped at a few places for pumpkins, and I have had fun this week placing them around the garden. We started out with a cheap and cheerful pumpkin in N.Y. for $2, then stopped along the way in Thurmont, Md., and Leesburg for a few more. Pumpkin time is the best, always free cider and I love to pick up a basket of apples, too (applesauce, apple dumplings). And gourds of course, I am kind of obsessed with gourds.  Then yesterday I was reading about this place in Linden, Va., that is famous for its apple butter donuts--don't those sound delicious? Walt and I may be taking a field trip out there some Saturday morning soon. Love fall.

Thurmont, Md.

I'd like this in my yard
Such pretty countryside