It was sad leaving Pam Harper's garden but the journey continues. Driving about one hour south to Norfolk was the Norfolk Botanical Gardens which had been recommended by Pam and others. Along the way, we drove through some torrential downpours (ah the memory of rain!), went through some scary tunnels and across enormous bridges. The rain had stopped once we arrived at the gardens but it had turned hot and steamy. This was the only time during our trip that we experienced hot temperatures.
A guided tour on a tram was just about to depart so we jumped on board. As soon as we pulled out from the welcome center, the rain started again. Thankfully it was a covered tram. The tram took us through the major parts of the garden. Most impressive was the Flowering Arboretum, a massive field with the biggest tree specimens I had ever seen. Even the smaller trees, like crabapples and crape myrtles, were huge! Since we were moving, I wasn't about to get good photos, so we decided to depart at the last stop before arriving back at the starting point.
We had left the tram at a good spot - the Kaufman Hydrangea Garden. By this time, the rain had stopped and it was sunny again. The hydrangea garden included about 300 varieties and it was spectacular. The plants were labeled so I was jotting down the names of the ones I liked.
The first hydrangea that caught my eye was Hydrangea luteovenosa (below).
|Another striking one was Hydrangea 'Kuroshime'|
|Hydrangea "Lemon Wave"|
We then walked to the sunnier areas of the gardens. There are several different gardens listed and I'm afraid I may have gotten some of them mixed up. There was the Conifer Garden (below) and several different perennial gardens. Some of these areas were blocked off because of the Bald Eagle nesting season.
|The Colonial Herb Garden|
|This photo was taken from atop the NATO Tower Overlook|
|Blue Atlas Cedar|
|Last, but not least, the Bicentennial Rose Garden, displaying over 3,000 roses representing more than 300 varieties.|
Our Trip Itinerary
Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy