an afternoon at doukénie winery

Saturday, May 24:  This afternoon is gorgeous, so we drive out west into the country to taste some wines at Doukénie Winery, a family operation in Virginia’s Wine Country in Loudoun County.  The Bazaco family traces their success back to a 14 year-old Greek girl who in 1919 boarded a boat for the journey to America.

Welcome to Doukénie Winery
Welcome to Doukénie Winery
Silo at Doukénie Winery
Silo at Doukénie Winery

In 1981, the land at the foot of Short Hill Mountains was being farmed for corn, hay and cattle. The mid-eighties were an exciting time in the viticulture business in Virginia and the Bazacos decided to plant their first vineyard in 1986. The winemaking business came later as the winery itself was constructed in 1995. In many ways, this activity takes the family full circle as the young Greek girl who was boarding the boat was leaving her farm where her father, a local sheriff, also was a winemaker.

Me at Doukénie Winery
Me at Doukénie Winery

We taste the wines and then buy a bottle, which we share out on the patio under an umbrella, accompanied by cheese and crackers.  We have a lovely view of a small pond, some farmland and cows.  After having our wine we wander along a path beside the pond.  A relaxing afternoon all around.

Mike, Adam and Alex
Mike, Adam and Alex
the vineyards
the vineyards
vineyards and pretty clouds
vineyards and pretty clouds
Silo and picnic tables at Doukénie Winery
Silo and picnic tables at Doukénie Winery
the pond
the pond
the view over the pond
the view over the pond
a lone cow
a lone cow
Doukénie Winery
Doukénie Winery
Silo & pond at Doukénie Winery
Silo & pond at Doukénie Winery
farmland at Doukénie Winery
farmland at Doukénie Winery
fence to infinity
fence to infinity
pond and pretty clouds at Doukénie Winery
pond and pretty clouds at Doukénie Winery
fence
fence
fence on the grounds of Doukénie Winery
fence on the grounds of Doukénie Winery
a lone cow on the farm
a lone cow on the farm
ducks on the pond
ducks on the pond
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a morning visit to the franciscan monastery

Saturday, May 24:  Today, I go with a photography group to visit the Franciscan Monastery in Washington.  I already wrote about it a post in August 2011 (the franciscan monastery in washington: gardens & shrines), and I don’t want to repeat myself, so if you’d like to know more of the history, you can check out the earlier post.  For today, I’ll simply post some pictures from this beautiful May morning.

Entrance to the Franciscan Monastery
Entrance to the Franciscan Monastery
Gardens at the Franciscan Monastery
Gardens at the Franciscan Monastery
the Monastery
the Monastery
facade of the Monastery
facade of the Monastery
cloisters
cloisters
peeking out from the cloisters
peeking out from the cloisters
roses
roses
roses
roses
gardens
gardens
roses and gardens
roses and gardens
view of gardens from cloisters
view of gardens from cloisters
the Monastery
the Monastery
a cute little building covered in vines
a cute little building covered in vines

To see a slide show, just click on any of the images below.

springtime at lewis ginter & a milestone birthday party

Friday, May 9:  Today, I drive to Richmond to meet my daughter Sarah to celebrate her 30th birthday, which was on April 26.  We’re a couple of weeks late.  She’s been busy with four classes and as today is the last of her final exams, she’ll finally be able to relax and enjoy the party.  Mike and the boys drive separately to meet us at 4:00.  They plan to drive back home after dinner, while I intend to stay the night with Sarah in Richmond.  We have some shopping to do on Saturday for that birthday.

Since I arrive in Richmond around 2:00, and Sarah is still taking her exam, I drop by Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens to see what’s in bloom for spring.  As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the nicest gardens in Virginia, although I’m sure there must be many more beautiful ones throughout the state that I haven’t visited.  Here’s a little of what I find.

Click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slideshow.

I have probably misnamed some of the flowers, so I would appreciate any gardeners out there who can set me straight.  For instance, I’m not sure if the flowers I’ve labeled azaleas are such, or if they’re rhododendron.  And I wish someone would tell me the name of the white flowers with the yellow Chihuly-like centers.

{Thanks so much to Carol of Wanderings of an Elusive Mind and Jonah from Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens for setting me straight on the flower names!)

By the time I finish walking around the gardens on this hot and humid day, I’m soaked and my hair is sticking out like it’s been whipped with egg-beaters.  I run to Sarah’s and take a shower so I won’t look like the dregs of society when we go out tonight.  The celebration is mainly for Sarah’s birthday, but also for the end of her demanding semester. It’s also a celebration for Mother’s Day.  It’s not often I have all three of my children together.

Sarah has the idea to go to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for wine tasting on the patio.  In the pond beside the patio are Chihuly’s Red Reeds.

Chihuly's Red Reeds
Chihuly’s Red Reeds

I take a picture of my three children, but, as I don’t have my glasses on, I don’t realize until later that Sarah’s eyes are closed. 🙂

Alex, Sarah & Adam
Alex, Sarah & Adam
Mike, Sarah, Alex & Adam
Mike, Sarah, Alex & Adam

We then head to dinner at Bacchus on Main, where we have a feast fit for kings, a queen and a princess.  As Sarah seems to know all the waiters in the Richmond establishments, we get some little perks, like a dessert we don’t order and an extra appetizer.  Happy birthday to Sarah!

Bacchus: Sarah on the left, Alex, Adam and Mike on the right. :-)
Bacchus: Sarah on the left, Alex, Adam and Mike on the right. 🙂
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spring at meadowlark gardens

Thursday, May 8:  It won’t be long before summer is upon us, so I thought I’d better drop by Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna to see the spring blooms.  Here’s a little of what I found.

Click on any of the photos below for a full-sized slide show. 🙂

of wisteria & tulips at dumbarton oaks gardens

Saturday, May 3: In 1921, Mildred Bliss, American art collector, philanthropist and one of the co-founders of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, chose Beatrix Farrand to design the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks.  The two women developed a friendship that spanned 30 years, while collaborating on every aspect of the gardens’ design.  Both women were well-traveled and well read, and they shared a knowledge of European gardens and garden traditions.

the house facing the gardens
the house facing the gardens

Approaching the house from the entrance gate to the gardens, the Orangery, built in 1810, is covered within by a large creeping fig planted in 1860.  The outside of the Orangery is draped with fragrant wisteria.

Inside the Orangery
Inside the Orangery
Inside the Orangery
Inside the Orangery
wisteria-draped Orangery
wisteria-draped Orangery
the Orangery and its wisteria
the Orangery and its wisteria
Orangery and wisteria
Orangery and wisteria

Close to the house, Farrand created intimate entertaining spaces, enclosed by walls and carefully selected plantings, according to a Dumbarton Oaks brochure.  She designed a series of terraces, framing views of the terraces below to enhance the sense of anticipation and flow.

wall bordering one of the terraces
wall bordering one of the terraces

One of the first views I can see when I walk out of the Orangery is the Swimming Pool and the Loggia’s tile mosaic of Diana and Actaeon.  At the end of the Loggia, a path leads upwards through the boxwood to the Beech Terrace and Orangery.

Azaleas along the Swimming Pool
Azaleas along the Swimming Pool
Loggia alongside the Swimming Pool
Loggia along the Swimming Pool
Mosaic of Diana
Mosaic of Diana
Mosaic detail
Mosaic detail
Mosaic of Actaeon
Mosaic of Actaeon
View to the Swimming Pool from the Loggia
View to the Swimming Pool from the Loggia

The Pebble Garden is a pattern of colored Mexican pebbles designed in the 1960s. The Bliss family crest and motto are incorporated into the design.  The arbor around the Pebble Garden is today covered in fragrant wisteria.

the Pebble Garden
the Pebble Garden
the arbor in the Pebble Garden
the arbor in the Pebble Garden
the Pebble Garden
the Pebble Garden
wisteria along the Pebble Garden
wisteria along the Pebble Garden
Wisteria
Wisteria

The Urn Terrace is curves of brick and ivy with a pebble mosaic.

Urn Terrace
Urn Terrace

The Rose Garden is the largest of the terraces. Over fifty varieties of nearly a thousand roses are planted here.  The Blisses’ ashes are interred behind an inscribed sandstone slab in the west wall.

View of the Rose Garden from the Urn Terrace
View of the Rose Garden from the Urn Terrace

The Ellipse is made of a double row of American hornbeams clipped into an aerial hedge surrounding a 17th century Provencal fountain.

The Ellipse
The Ellipse
Provencal fountain
Provencal fountain

A walkway leading to the cutting garden has blooming trees offering shade from today’s heat.

shade and blossoms
shade and blossoms

The Cutting Garden is all about tulips today.

border to the Cutting Garden
border to the Cutting Garden
tulips in the Cutting Garden
tulips in the Cutting Garden
pretty tulips
pretty tulips
more tulips
more tulips
Cutting garden
Cutting garden
Cutting garden
Cutting garden

The English-style herbaceous borders  are planted seasonally with tulips, annuals, perennials and chrysanthemums.  Today, tulips are the stars.

The Fountain Terrace has two lead fountains within a grass plat bordered by flowers: tulips in spring, perennials and annuals in summer, and chrysanthemums in fall.

Fountain Terrace
Fountain Terrace
Fountain Terrace
Fountain Terrace
Purple flower in the Fountain Garden
Purple flower in the Fountain Garden
View of Arbor Terrace from Fountain Terrace
View of Arbor Terrace from Fountain Terrace
View of Arbor Terrace from Fountain Terrace
View of Arbor Terrace from Fountain Terrace

The Arbor Terrace is named after the wisteria-covered arbor.  Formerly an herb garden, the paved terrace is a pot garden in summer with tubs of gardenias, lantana, and citrus.  An aerial hedge of Kieffer pears partially encloses the terrace.

Arbor Terrace
Arbor Terrace
Arbor Terrace, looking away from the arbor
Arbor Terrace, looking away from the arbor

It’s a fantastic time of year to explore gardens in northern Virginia before the onslaught of a hot and humid summer. 🙂