A Look Back at the Cherry Blossoms

Every spring, for the past 10 years, Bobby & I have been coming to the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  For the first few years, it wasn't always a success because the blossoms only bloom for about 7-10 days.  (Peak bloom lasts for about 2-3 days)  And because we lived so far away, we would have to make our travel plans months in advance.  Sometimes we would get it right, and other years we would completely miss the blossoms.   

It's funny to say, but one of the main reasons I agreed to move to DC was because of this one week...the week the blossoms come to town!  Living here, I am able to visit the tidal basin nearly everyday.  This past spring was no exception!  I literally spent 8-10 hours a day walking around DC and taking in all of it's beauty.  Most days, I was here by sunrise and then back again to see the sunset.   

I wanted to capture every stage of the blossoms.   Unfortunately, the poor weather this spring was the hardest part to deal with.  I think in all...the blossoms only bloomed for 2-3 days this year.  Where as in years past, if the weather holds out, we can get a good week or week-and-a-half of blossoms at their peak.   

But unfortunately, mother nature had other plans...On the 3rd night of peak bloom, a bad wind and rain storm hit and took all of the beautiful blossoms with them :(  I am very thankful to have spent so much time there and wanted to share these images with you today.  Hope you enjoy!

Trip to Longwood Gardens

A few days ago,  I was lucky enough to spend one of the most beautiful days of the year with my mom and dad.  We spent the day at Longwood Gardens, located in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  While there, I had the opportunity to photograph some of the prettiest flowers I have ever seen. 

The Longwood Gardens story began over 100 years ago with a young philanthropist named Pierre du Pont.  He originally purchased the nearly 1,000 acre property in an effort to save the many trees growing on the land.   Over time, he used his fortune to further develop the land with many fountains and green houses to enhance people's experiences while there.  As early as 1914, du Pont was focused on creating Longwood Inc. which would help to manage the property and continue his legacy for many generations to come. 

I  remember frequenting Longwood Gardens all throughout my childhood and was so pleased to revisit it this week.  I am already looking forward to my next visit! 

The Little Nest

This week, I visited my aunt in Harleysville, Pa.  While there, she showed me this year's birds' nest in her front door wreath.  Last year, there was a nest in the same wreath however the mama bird abandoned the nest for some reason and the eggs never hatched.  After a few weeks of the eggs in this abandoned nest and no mother in sight, she decided to keep the nest.  We used this abandoned nest in some of the photos where she is holding it in her hands.

In the years past, she remembered that this mother bird always lays 5 eggs.  We decided to boost ourselves up to see inside this little nest and discovered something strange.  Four of the eggs were the usual slightly speckled white eggs while one was obviously larger and speckled brown.  We continued taking pictures and joked that another bird had left their egg in this mama's nest. 

That night I posted only one image on facebook and one of the comments said that it looked like our nest had been visited by a brown-headed cowbird because of the unusual egg.  I laughed at the name "brown-headed cowbird" at first but after doing a bit of research, we realized that this egg was an imposter egg in this mama's nest.  It actually is pretty common for the brown-headed cowbird to lay an egg in another bird's nest and then leave and depend on this other mother to care for her baby.  Sadly, we also read that since this different egg is so much larger it will often kill the mother's real babies after they hatch. 

Knowing how dangerous this bad egg can be to her nest, we quickly removed it with a spoon in order to give the mother's eggs a chance to survive.  Enjoy some other pictures of our day!   

Carlsbad Flower Fields - Here we come!

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields while visiting southern California.  We arrived early morning to a partly-cloudy and on-and-off showers kind of day in San Diego.  I know what you're thinking...how can that be?  Isn't it always sunny in San Diego?  Well, apparently Bob and I will always bring the rain, wherever we go.  Including our trip to the Sahara Desert while on our Honeymoon, YES - it poured on us there too.

Oddly enough, we were about half way up the hill on our self-guided tour of the fields and the sun suddenly popped through.  Within 15 minutes, the clouds and rain had blown their way off to sea and we were blessed with that gorgeous blue sky that San Diego is known for.

The rows of flowers went on and on as far as the eye could see.  Every row was as straight as could be and all in coordinating colors.  I never thought about where the flowers that I see at weddings in the centerpieces and bouquets actually came from.  But there they were, millions in bloom and soaking up the warm San Diego sun right along the Pacific ocean.  

After an hour or so of walking up and down the rows and taking as many pictures as possible, I told Bob that I had seen all that I wanted to see in California.   Just Kidding, that was only the start of our 2 week trip and we had days and days of jam packed exciting adventures to come.

Holly