Tuesday, May 10, 2016

garden envy and some ducklings!

I was in Durham yesterday for an appointment and stopped by Duke Gardens to enjoy the afternoon. The gardens were a favorite spot when I worked at Duke and studied there, it's where my husband and I got married, and it became a favorite family destination for years when we lived in Durham. We try to visit several times a year. It's a gorgeous place.

Yesterday we bought some lunch and ate it by the duck pond. The ducks, swans, and turtles were all clustered nearby and I ended up with a duck friend who came within inches and then settled down in arms' reach for a nap. The two swans came on the shore a few feet from me to groom. It was lovely. I took photos of all of them but this is one of my favorites:

There were two duck families on the pond but these were the younger ducklings. They were quite independent and giving their mama a hard time. They all hopped up on this rock and stayed there, even when she swam a little away and called to them to join her. She had to come back and just hang out with them. Then one of the ducklings took off on his/her own and mama had to keep an eye on the brood while going after the wanderer. Minutes later they all hopped off into the water in different directions. I can't imagine! It was so much fun to watch them.

Later we wandered to the formal gardens and I literally shrieked with delight. The foxgloves and allium are all at peak bloom and were simply gorgeous. 

This photo doesn't do justice to how lush and beautiful it is there right now. Sometimes I wish I had time to create a formal or cottage garden and keep it manicured to look like this. As it is, I have beautiful things growing and blooming but there are grape vines threading through the roses, weeds in the beds, and nothing looks as lovely as it could if I were out there keeping it up. Sigh. 

But thankfully I can visit Duke Gardens and enjoy the fruits of others' labor!

My husband and I got married in the pergola some 21 years ago. At that time it was totally covered in wisteria and remained that way until last year when they removed the wisteria vines. I wish I'd taken a shot yesterday of the long walk up the middle aisle through all these terraced beds that my dad and I took during the wedding march. It was a glorious place to have a wedding and I love that we can visit whenever we want.

It's odd to see the pergola so bare but I see they have something (maybe the same wisteria?) climbing up already. It won't take long to cover the structure again.

This morning I looked out at the red roses and the tiny white primroses and several goldfinches flew into the garden to add their color. There are purple irises and even with the weeds it was pretty spectacular. A few hours of weeding, a load of mulch, and maybe I can get the November Hill gardens in shape. 


Matthew said...

Beautiful photos from a lovely place. I hope the Wisteria grows back quickly!

billie said...

Me too - it looks so bare!

Grey Horse Matters said...

What a gorgeous place. I'll bet the pergola was beautiful with the wisteria. A lovely place for a wedding too and nice to revisit. I wouldn't worry about the weeds just think of them as unusual flowers that grow without the slightest bit of care!

billie said...

Arlene, we have the same gardening philosophy wrt weeds!! :)