Winter and Spring Tussle

Yesterday I opened the blinds to a beautiful winter day. After letting myself absorb the clear sky and the brightness of it all, my first thought was Dumbarton Oaks. There is nothing like a trip to the fabled garden to make me feel all is right with the world.


I could tell some snowdrops came out earlier than others, depending on their position. These were fresh.

T.S. Eliot talks about midwinter spring in the Four Quartets. It may be that was what we were experiencing in the last two weeks before the latest cold front blew in. More likely something else, but the poem, Little Gidding, talks about light blazing on a branch and certainly I saw that yesterday.


I’m not sure what kind of pears these are, but every fall they have lovely fruit.

There had been a smash up between winter and spring, as though winter rose furious from a near knock out punch. The magnolias got the worst of it, but from a distance the frosted blossoms look like exotic buds of some sort.

The grass, unmolested by the sudden cold, looked very like summer. In this view, with no deciduous trees, it’s hard to believe it’s not June.


Early March? June?

Before we get too far into the ecstasies of Dumbarton Oaks, you may remember that a couple blogs ago, Jan of The Snail of Happiness offered me a custom made pussy hat. At the time, I thought I probably wouldn’t be wearing it until next year, but hat weather arrived at the same time the hat did, from a different direction. Perhaps the cold and the hat had arranged a rendezvous. I certainly gave it to them yesterday. Β Does it go with my coat and jacket or what?

I went through the garden out of my usual order and it provided some surprises, views from angles I don’t often see. It was looking for the snowdrops that took me off route and then I had to spend some time with two–I think–flowering quince. Those of you in the know can correct me if I’m wrong. They were so stunning, I walked up to them without getting a photo of the big picture. They were magical.


There were two of these breathtaking bushes and they mesmerized me.

There was other magic, of course. In the forsythia walk.


This path has one moment of glory all year.

In the cherry tree alley.


This was the only crowded place in the garden.

In the naturalized lawn full of crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils and little blue flowers.


There was coming magic on cherry hill where the yoshino cherry trees are.


These often blossom before the ones in the Tidal Basin because they are sheltered.

They had some fat buds, undamaged by the cold, that will be out in the next week or so if it gets warmer.


Buds!! Unmolested by frost!

Up above, I could see the petals of cherry blossoms drifting east in the chill breeze.


See the guy looking in? Everyone did that before walking under the blossoms.

There was also evidence of winter repairs.


New wood…

And around the corner from the repaired bench, more magic.


I have written about the art installations at Dumbarton Oaks before. This one was something, with sounds of a quartet coming from each of the chairs, like a conversation. Of course, when you sit in one of the chairs you insert yourself into the sound, actually feeling it at times. Is it any wonder I love this place?


In any season it blazes with beauty.


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42 Responses to Winter and Spring Tussle

  1. I don’t remember why we missed Dumbarton Oaks when we were there with you Lisa, every time you post about the place it makes me want to have a wander around with you! Love the pussy hat! You like very mischievous in it too πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanne Hutton says:

    Yes to quince, which is why it’s so magnificent. The little blue bulbs are Siberian squill (Scilla siberica).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Tang says:

    We’ve had a lot of rain and looking at the end of summer so it’s nice to see that you are welcoming spring. How fortunate to have such a place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    What a shame about the magnolia blossoms. I wondered if this latest cold front had wreaked havoc on the early blooms. You’re right, the quince is stunning! It’s a reminder that I need to cut some of mine to force inside. How wonderful that you are so close to such a great garden!

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      This place is a haven. It’s only about a 10 minute drive, so it’s a little bit of heaven close by. If I had quince, I’d be bringing some in to force as well. Most of the blooms seemed to do okay. I think the magnolias are a little more delicate, were further out, and of course, higher up to get hit. We’re going to have another cold night. I hope all things that were going to be hit have been hit…


  5. Sylvie G says:

    Beautiful flowers and great hat! You definitely seem to be in a very good good mood! This is another effect of the sun. A lot of rain and cold weather is heading our way apparently.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes, I was talking to someone today about how beautiful it was, who said, “It could be a bit warmer,” but really, I just needed some sun! Hunker down for the cold with hot cocoa and good wine, along with some good reading. I need to go to DOaks more, not to mention Great Falls. If I did, my mood would be better all the time…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely pictures… what a garden. I’m still recovering from my trip to London, but I’ll email you later… the lovely sand dollars were waiting for me when I got home – thank you!


  7. Beautifully written and photographed; splendidly put together, Lisa.


  8. Brenda says:

    That quince is magnificent. You are weeks ahead of us, so provide a nice preview for what’s to come. I can see why you love Dumbarton Oaks. You are fortunate to have it so close by.


  9. Ohmyohmy, Spring looks so gorgeous!!! We still have roller coaster weather here…those poor plants don’t know what to do! The hat is fab!! Xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie Graves says:

    A beautiful post, both the writing and the photographs.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jennypellett says:

    Love the hat! Dumbarton Oaks looks a joyous place.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Maria F. says:

    Beautiful images! Beautiful winter!


  13. Pingback: The currency of memories | The Snail of Happiness

  14. KerryCan says:

    Well, that was fun, taking this walk with you, and you looking so cute in your new hat! What beautiful signs of spring you’re enjoying already!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bun Karyudo says:

    It’s great to see spring bursting out all over. Incidentally, the hat was cool (in a cosy way). πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Lavinia Ross says:

    Your spring is well ahead of ours! I have one of those red flowering quince too, although I am not sure of the name. I’m going with you unless someone tells you differently.

    Nice hat! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I just love flowering quince. There are a lot around here in neighborhoods with old houses. They must have been fashionable at some point and my goodness they are astonishing! The hat has come in handy as it has stayed cold and is predicted to snow!!! So much for the early spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Robbie says:

    love this garden! thank you for the tour:-) Lovely photos-I can’t wait until our trees start blooming. You are a bit ahead of us right now. We have snow coming tomorrow and possibly 4inches. ( ugh) I thought we would be having an early spring. It was just a tease. by mother nature. About 3 weeks ago I was biking on the river with a t-shirt! Now we are back in the freezing zone.
    I like your colorful hat, what a beautiful gift. Did you march?

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      We’re going to get snow early in the week! Hard to tell how much at the moment–predictions range from 2-13″, with NWS saying 7 is likely. I don’t mind anything under 8. Once it goes over that, well, ugh. And we’ll likely lose cherry blossoms, which are a big deal here! It may be that the hat brought us cooler weather! I hadn’t expected to be able to wear it, but I’m certainly getting the chance now. No, I didn’t march. Snail offered the hat as I was so down in general and a cheer up it was!


  18. LB says:

    Lisa, this has been a great tour and I can completely feel your contentment and happiness with being out there … for the nature, the art, the music. I need to visit someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Looks like you had a lovely day. Our spring is getting off to a very slow start.


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