We spent a few days in colonial Williamsburg (restored 18th-century capital of colonial Virginia) this week and of course, I wanted to see the many gardens that sit nestled behind and beside the homes and shops in the historic district.
At one such spot a gardener was tidying and cutting back some of the spent flowers. She remarked a bit apologetically the gardens were not at their best, but rather were transitioning, caught at an in-between stage. Nonetheless, I felt the plantings offered plenty to enjoy. In that very garden was this red spectacle of a flower, which I think is Celosia cristata (Cockscomb), underplanted with white Gomphrena.
I was particularly delighted when we happened upon this next little garden at mid-morning.
Last year I planted 5 or 6 Lycoris radiata (spider lily) bulbs, but in early fall the foliage emerged without the plants having flowered. This year not even the foliage returned. My grandmother grew spider lilies and I always associate them fondly with her.
So to be able to lift the latch on the gate from the street and step into this sea of calm green and lively red was sheer indulgence.
My husband and I were alone in the small, quiet garden. Summer finally letting go, the air was cool and crisp, the sunlight soft and warm. Being here was a lovely, private morning meditation.
Further down the street at the Colonial Nursery’s eighteen century display garden and sales shop, these flowers were tucked into a back corner behind a small hedge. Colchicum, I believe.
Planted in an out-of-the-way place, they were an unexpected and charming discovery for wandering visitors.
Note: To learn more this Gardens Brochure is a good starting place. Colonial Williamsburg has information about the history and design of the gardens (use the menu on the left for viewing more garden topics). In the Related Info section on the right-hand side there are more articles and slideshows.