Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The View from Columbia

Here are just two of the beauties of the Riverbank Zoo and Garden in Columbia, SC. On Oct. 14 I was at the gate when the garden opened for business, and I stayed until after noon, taking pictures and wondering if there is room for these beauties in my own garden. The pitcher plants (Dana's Delight, above) were looking carniverous and spry. There is a large collection of old roses, including Rosa "Natchitotches," a noisette that was found in Natchitoches Parish, LA in 1714. Surely I can find room for this one.

This garden is operated by the South Carolina Extension Service which is part of Clemson University. I had a nice talk with a Master Gardener while I was there; we discussed ring nematodes, among other things.

Thanks to some quality knitting time on the trip, the Hydrangea shawl is finally complete. It is my first, and possibly last, adventure in lace knitting. the pictures show it before, during, and after blocking. The effect of blocking is so gratifying that I'm tempted to knit lace again. In this climate the shawl season is pretty limited, though.

While I was in Columbia I visited one yarn shop (Hooks and Needles) and bought more sock yarn for myself and my husband. He was wearing self-patterning socks on the way home, and the airport security guard just had to comment on them. Gary stuck up for his hand-knit socks. What a guy!

While Columbia is a nice city, there is something passing strange about South Carolina's morbid obsession with the past. On the interior wall of the rotunda of the state capitol there is a big marble placque engraved with the Ordinance of Secession. In front of the building is a large statue of a confederate soldier and a confederate flag, both of which are lit up at night. It is as though they think fighting against the United States was the finest thing South Carolinians ever did.

Cathy, the flower you posted is indeed an hibiscus, Hibiscus mutabilis. I used to have one but did not realize how big it would get and planted it too close to the driveway. They are so beautiful this time of year.

Does anyone recognize this plant? It was in the garden in Columbia but it was not tagged and no one was around to ask. It was about 3' tall, and the long narrow leaves do not belong to it.

Gotta run now. I may start a new knitting project tonight; a sock on needles is not enough of a challenge.


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