Thursday, November 10, 2011

Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia

First of all I am happy to report that Gully - my father-in-law - visited his cardiologist a few days ago, is doing great and doesn't have to go back for another three months. Hard to believe he only had his heart surgery on the 13th of October, almost a month ago. To recap he is 91 and very fit and was told at the time of his operation that he looked better than a lot of 40 year old's who had the same thing done. Gully is a good role model for us as he has really taken care of himself, exercises regularly, eats all the right things, reads up on the latest health issues and follows his doctor's advice to the letter. Of course it helps that he has those sturdy Norwegian genes.

On one of our visits Gregg and I visited the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. We found the pumpkin planters at the entrance of the visitors' center.

It was only a bit nippy and the sun was shining. The weather was ideal for a good walk.

We each have a camera, a pocket one and another that is a little larger with a zoom lens. All throughout our time here we will exchange them depending on the type of photo we want to take. I also have my cell phone which takes pretty decent photos in daylight.

The statue of the eagle was placed here as a tribute to the mother eagle who sadly collided with a plane taking off from the neighboring airport while she was hunting for her babies earlier in the year. The marker below the statue reads,

"In Remembrance of a Special Eagle. In 2003 a pair of American Bald Eagles selected the garden as the location to raise a family, and began nesting across the canal from this site. To our delight they returned here annually to hatch and nurture 19 eaglets and teach them to fly. The eagles also taught millions of people around the globe about nature through "eagle cam" internet broadcasts sponsored by Norfolk Botanical Gardens, WVEC-TV and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, with additional assistance from the Center of Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary.

On April 26th, 2011, the female eagle was killed after colliding with an aircraft while hunting for food for her three newest eaglets. They were relocated to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro to mature and were released into the wild late July 2011.

This plaza, made possible by generous donations from eagle fans world-wide, was established to recognize the female eagle's life and contribution to environmental education."

If you click here, it will take you to a page at the garden where you can learn all about the Bald Eagle and here for updates on Facebook. There is already a new female helping Dad to build a nest, and sad yes but life goes on.... Earlier in the year I visited the garden to try and get a look at the mom and dad in the nest with newly hatched eaglets, the ones that were subsequently removed after the accident and who have since been released into the wild. My post from that visit is here. The Eagle-Cam is off line until next January.

One of the first places we headed for was the Japanese Garden. It was created in 1962 to honor Norfolk's sister city, Moji, Japan and was rededicated in 1963 to Kitakyushu, formerly Moji. I think one of my favorite flowers here is the lotus. None were blooming at this time of the year of course but it was still very pretty.

There are 155 acres to look around and it has the largest collections of azaleas, roses, camellias and hollies on the East Coast. Originally it was called The Azalia Gardens and back in 1938 it started out as a project of the Works Progress Administration. 200 African-American ladies and 20 men transformed what was then swampland, into the incredible place that is is today.

There are several fountains and here's Gregg in front of one of them. He borrowed my scarf because as I said earlier it was a bit chilly and he was wishing that he had brought something warmer to wear.
This is Cataldi's Madonna and Child, is one of my favorite statues in the garden and I have taken several photos over the years.

I have not been able to identify this plant but it was truly one of the most interesting ones I've seen lately. A large fluffy pillow, a grass of some kind. I looked for an identifying marker and couldn't find one, but I won't give up trying to find out what it is.

We both liked the bark on this tree. This is one of Gregg's photos.....

and I took this one of all the carpet of pine needles and fallen pine cones.

I was trying to take a shot of that pretty camellia but as sometimes happens when you take a photograph, even though you don't get what you were thinking of in the first place, you come up with something that you like anyhow. The flower is out of focus but the tree bark is sharp and clear, and I liked it just as much as if I had gotten my intended result.

This is part of the Million Bulb Walk which starts on November 19th. You will experience two miles of colorful lights. I hope to see it the next time we visit. You can see a video and information right here.

So much to look at and enjoy.....

and Gregg and I love this place.

Mother Nature had even left us some flowers.


  1. This is quite a beautiful place to spend the day. So glad you shared it with us! Hugs!

  2. I love your photography, Denise. That short essay about the eagles was very touching. I remember seeing a video of the little baby eagle that was being born and waiting for food. Glad your father-in-law is on the mend. What a compliment to be told he looks better than some 40 year olds.

  3. really nice!

    Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


    < ° ) } } > <

  4. this is my local botanical garden, although I haven't been here for a few years - nice pics.

  5. Hi Denise..What a lovely place..everything in your photo's is beautiful and interesting!
    I can tell your thoroughly enjoyed yourselves!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  6. This is so beautiful, Denise. You have motivated me to work on my Chicago Botanic garden post. It will go up in a few days.

  7. Oh wow. That was such a beautiful post. Thank you. And I am thrilled to hear that your FIL is doing so well.

  8. Thank you for all your wonderful comments.

  9. i miss visiting this blog and miss those lovely images of yours..thanks for the visit Denise..have a good regards from men and my blogs..

    Europe Travel Pad
    Countryside Trip
    Travel Snapshots