Nature and the Nursery

Last weekend I got together with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Saturday was warm and partly cloudy and we decided to drive out to Manassas to walk the battlefield at Bull Run. It was a nice hike and we got to catch up with each other’s lives while noticing the spring landscape.


A farm house and outbuildings were on the hill here. They survived the battles, but apparently burned in the early 1930’s.

There was green coming up under the trees.


I loved seeing the new grass, but there were so many dead trees!

Along Bull Run, bluebells had come up in little swaths.


These were close to Bull Run.

Families fished.DSCN4816

The landscape looked stressed. We are very near drought here in Virginia and I noticed more than the usual amount of dead trees. The bluebells were also a bit stunted, about half the height they are normally. There were a few spring beauties as well, looking themselves, so some things had not been adversely affected.


Normally these are taller plants, not so compact. It could be that they are a different variety than what I usually see in the woods.

On the way back, I asked Penny if she would mind stopping by Merrifield, which is a large nursery and garden center. I didn’t have anything in mind to buy, but I go there sometimes just to smell the plants and the earth and see the colors of masses of blooming things. Once I bought live ladybugs here to eat the aphids off my roses.


NOBODY was in a bad mood here…

Penny was up for it. The first thing we saw as we parked was a forklift carrying two cherry tree saplings in bloom. Pretty cool. I didn’t get a picture of it, because I gaped at it in delight for too long. I missed a second chance later because I was carrying my purchases. In my mind, the only visual better than a forklift carrying cherry trees in bloom is a truck full of watermelons.


I did capture a vehicle hauling a lot of bamboo. Whoever plants that will rue the day…

There were a lot of flowers out: potted bulbs, flats of pansies and other early flowers, begonias, gerberas, ranunculus, geraniums.


There were vegetable garden plants as well. I picked up some parsley, cilantro, sage, and lavender. I also got a pink gerbera and some snapdragons. I’ll plant them all out sometime this week or weekend.


I grabbed a Radio Flyer to haul our purchases around in.

Penny had strawberries on her mind and bought a box of plants as well as some garden herbs, lettuces, and flowers.


She’s got plans for these strawberries, if the birds don’t get them first.

We headed back to her house where her husband had been trying to fit the carrier for their kayak on their new vehicle. Apparently it wasn’t very successful, but a glass of red wine on the porch made it all better, especially when a neighbor with a sweet dog joined us. We took turns petting the dog, sipping wine and telling stories. All in all a nice way to spend a spring day!


My purchases, snug in their box…


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43 Responses to Nature and the Nursery

  1. Sylvie G says:

    It is nice to see spring in your post, full of sun, friends and renewal as nature is getting ready for its big winter sleep here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love to visit the local nurseries in spring – you feel so inspired don’t you! It’s that first outbreath after the long inhale of winter and we all suddenly remember there is a whole wonderful world of colour and scents to explore. I like the look of your purchases – (except for the cilantro, I’m one of those people who abhor the stuff. I can’t bear the smell and can’t have it in the garden. It’s a thing apparently). It sounds like you had a lovely day with your friend – that’s another nice thing that we remember to do for ourselves in spring – and ending it on the porch with a glass of wine and a dog sounds pretty darn fine to me! I hope you have a wonderful week!!


    • arlingwoman says:

      Sometimes I go to Merrifield in the depths of winter and wander through their greenhouses and the tropical places where they keep the succulents and just suck up the smells of growing things…It was a great afternoon, Pauline!


  3. I was very confused about your bluebells, but a bit of research confirms that Virginia Bluebells are a completely different genus and species (Mertensia virginica) to the thing I know as Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). I shouldn’t be surprised – in Scotland Campnaula rotundifolia are known as Bluebells! Isn’t taxonomy grand?
    Here’s wishing you some respite from your drought – it does look like your land is getting desperate for rain.


    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Jan. I almost mentioned that these were not Spanish bluebells with their grass-like foliage. It goes to show you need the taxonomies, especially with a woodland plant. I was surprised the first time I saw bluebells on a British blog and did what you did–but didn’t remember the Latin names after I realized they were different species.


      • Interestingly, Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) have become quite a problem in the UK – they are widely planted, but they are not the native British bluebells (H. non-scripta) and in some places are taking over from the natives. We are being encouraged to remove the Spanish ones when we find them. All said, though, all of them get called ‘bluebells’ and it can get very confusing!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        I’m going to look up the non-scriptas…


  4. KerryCan says:

    You’re killing me, Lisa! I am SO envious of trips to garden centers, bluebells, green grass, etc.! We’re a long way off still . . . Is it always sort of weighty and blue, taking a walk at Bull Run?

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      No, it’s a pretty walk with a weight of history–probably like you feel around Champlain about the Revolutionary battles. You remember things you read and other lives, but it’s not heavy.


  5. I lovely trip, Lisa, with a bit of history thrown in. I rather mistakenly interpreted the following sentence to mean that you weren’t going to buy anything: ‘I didn’t have anything in mind to buy, but I go there sometimes just to smell the plants and the earth and see the colors of masses of blooming things.’ Silly me πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laurie Graves says:

    A finest kind of day, as we would say in Maine. Wish we could send you some moisture to relieve your drought.We’ve got plenty here. Still buried under snow.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eliza Waters says:

    Merryfield – even the name sounds joyous! Very pretty gerbera, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Tang says:

    I love trips to nurseries too and ALWAYS buy intentionally or otherwise πŸ™‚ We’re heading into Autumn (though it’s 31ΒΊC today) but being frost free here we have colour all year round. The year I went with the University of WA to collect plant specimens for their herbarium, we found wildflowers that are usually waist-high shrunken to an inch tall! Amazing how they can be adept to desert conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa, what a delightful day! Of course any time spent in a nursery ranks high on my list. Everything is so fresh and green and healthy, not to mention full of promise. It sounds lovely, too spending time with good friends, a sweet dog and a glass of red wine. I’m looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Thanks, Alys. Let me know what plans are in the making. Re the drought, it just hasn’t rained much. Apparently if we are right on the edge of having to declare drought, but if we get good rain this spring we might be alright. It has rained a bit in the last few days, but not a lot and we didn’t get much moisture this winter (unlike you!).


  10. PS I had not heard about he drought. How bad is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Looks like a great way to spend a day – friends, flowers and fido. Sorry, had tostretch it a bit there to get the alliteration in.) πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Robin says:

    Such a lovely way to spend a spring day. πŸ™‚ It’s nice to start seeing the flowers again. Things are pretty dry for us, too. We could use a good dousing. Are the trees dying from drought or from the pine beetles that have been attacking the pines in Virginia?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Brenda says:

    I love your comment, “it’s a pretty walk with a weight of history.” There is such an odd disconnect, don’t you think, to be in a lovely place that held so much human death and pain in the past? We are still covered in snow and ice, so a glimpse of your spring green is very welcome.


    • arlingwoman says:

      If I had studied battles, for instance, I would view it differently; Sherman forded the run here; so and so brought his troops over that hill, etc. Lots of people do that at Gettysburg. It’s enough for me to know that Bull Run ran red at some point during the first battle of Manassas. I think of history a lot–sometimes just to wonder what the first settlers thought when they saw a particular place. I do hope you thaw soon and get some crocuses and daff’s.

      Liked by 1 person

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  15. Lavinia Ross says:

    A lovely view of your early spring, Lisa! I enjoy visiting garden centers after a long winter as well.

    I am sorry you are so near to drought there in Virginia. This year we have been lucky here in Oregon that the snow pack in the mountains is 125% of normal, and we have had plenty of winter rain. Last year was horribly dry.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Karen says:

    Its hard not to be inspired when visiting the garden centers when spring arrives. It sounds like you bought some nice additions for your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Such a nice feeling of Spring in your photos. I hope the almost-drought will lift. a lack of water is such a hardship for everyone but particularly those whose livelihood depends on it (and us gardeners, of course!)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Robbie says:

    The rain will be coming your way! We have had a week of rain and it is still coming. Our rivers are starting to flood. Everything is greening up and I am eager to get out there in the garden this week. I love the photos of your trip. I enjoy first blooms of spring and bluebells just delight me:-) A friend gave me a clump a few years ago and it keeps growing. I always wait for spring to come and when it arrives it passes too quickly. This winter was not as harsh but it seemed sooo long. I am so glad to be back in the garden + happy gardening for you too. Watch for the rain it is coming:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Such a dazzling approach to spend a spring day…It’s pleasant to begin seeing the blossoms once more. Things are quite dry for us, as well…

    Liked by 1 person

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