Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Beginning and an End

It is with a bit of sadness that I (Beth) write my last post.  It has been my privilege to be at Welkinweir as the Horticultural Fellow for a year and a half.  I have thoroughly enjoyed caring for the arboretum and being in charge of this blog.  It will be someone else's responsibility now, as I am moving on to new adventures in Arizona.  But the holidays are not a time to be sad!  The Welkinweir estate house was beautifully decorated for the holiday open house this past weekend.  I took pictures of some of the decorations for those who were unable to attend.

Students from OJR decorated our entry with silver and blue.  I think they did a fine job.

I was able to help decorate the tree this year.  It was a silver and gold theme with a bird influence.

Some of the ornaments were cute little hand-made animals created at the Children's Holiday Workshop.

I was walking around the grounds this morning to see if there was anything of interest for this post, and I encountered a hellebore in bloom.  I think it is very fitting to end my last post on the same note that I began this blog.   (The real first post was about snow, but I'm ok with not having pictures of that today.)  

Enjoy this parting shot of a bashful hellebore. :) 

Please continue to check this blog, as I am sure there will be many exciting posts in the future.  And come visit Welkinweir!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Odd Morning Ritual

Sometimes I see unexpected things at Welkinweir, especially in the early morning hours. Turkey stampedes come to mind, as well as skunks.  I rarely have the camera with me.  

On a nice quiet morning this week, when the sun was just peeking around the trees and starting to take the chill out of the air and the sleepiness out of me, I was greeted by an amusing sight in our visitor parking area. I had never seen anything like it, though I'm sure it's not that uncommon of an occurrence.  High in a dead tree, two turkey vultures were perched in a tree with their wings spread out to warm in the sun.  I hurried back to the house, quite certain they wouldn't still be there when I returned.

The scene had indeed changed a little when I came back with the camera.  The first turkey vulture was not interested in being photographed.  The second turkey vulture had rotated and seemed to be putting itself on display.  It tipped its head at me as I tried to get as close of a picture as possible, laughing the whole time at how ridiculous this particular pose looks for a large bird like that.  Little did I know that the next morning, when I was lucky enough to have the camera at first sighting, I would see something much greater.

Did you know turkey vultures grow on trees?!  I counted over 30.

And to my delight, when the sun came out a little more, many of them spread their wings just like the two turkey vultures the morning before.  And then I looked over at our visitor kiosk, and laughed at what I saw. 

Four turkey vultures, lined up, wings spread.  And the best part was, they were slowly rotating their bodies from side to side, as if to soak up as much sun as possible.  I couldn't get a very good angle without scaring them off, and I couldn't get very close because I was laughing too much.  They didn't seem to appreciate it.

They is something strangely foreboding about a turkey vulture perched in a tree with outstretched wings.  So, to balance out the creepy factor, I'm moving on to Christmas!

This Saturday, December 8th, from 10-2 is Welkinweir's holiday open house for the general public.  The estate house is nicely decorated for Christmas.  Come check it out and bring your friends!  Here is a small preview of what you will find inside.

You can find directions to Welkinweir, and other information about the gardens, on our website.