Today Kirk took me to the Cylburn Arboretum. It was a great day for a nature walk - the air was cool, not rainy as the weatherman predicted, and delightfully breezy. I figured it was a good opportunity to learn some eastern trees. My camera is dead, dead, dead, but happily, Kirk was sweet enough to loan me his new camera, so let the photo taking commence!
I trotted off chasing some red and fawn tinted girly Cardinal birds, and found this amazing female Ginko Biloba tree - it's female and has fruit. Had NO clue Ginkos can be male or female. I tried the fruit which was vile. Of course I made Kirk try it, & he said it wasn't too bad. It has the scent of rotted fruit and... I kid you not... volmit! Strange stuff.
Kirk wandered down to a bog which was heavily tree covered and there were beautiful purple wildflowers I haven't ID'd yet. A tree trunk looked as if it was carved with different figures - it reminded Kirk of the Tree of Life in Disneyworld.
I did a fair amount of butterfly chasing and managed a few photos of a Buckeye Butterfly, which is also found in California. What caught my eye was a 'mystery' insect with pop-art colors that showed up on the left of the photo.
buddy, the 'Mystery Insect' on the left
Later I found out the I.D. of the mystery insect is a mystery moth; an Ailanthus Webworm Moth. An Ailanthus is a tree. Famously it's the tree species touted in the book, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn". The Ailanthus Webworm is a pretty little moth, that rolls its wings, giving it more the look of a fancy beetle -than a moth.
We briefly toured the Cylburn Mansion. I particularly enjoyed a room with watercolors of Maryland's wildflowers.
All the mansion floors were highly decorative parquet. There were also several marble fireplaces that made me want to light them up and bask in their glow.
After the mansion, we strolled by the rose garden and the 'demo' gardens that show what those with green thumbs can accompish. Kirk says my nephew in law Avon has a green thumb. Though my mother's was green, mine is uh... wilted.
We had lunch at a beautiful Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck). The building was stone and I bet it was at least 100 years old.
After lunch we picked up James Allen at his daycare. It's right adjoined to the very church where Kirk & Nicole were married. The building is the second oldest Baptist Church in the country and was recently given Historical Landmark Status.
Cool side note is across the street from the church is the project that was featured in the HBO series - the Wire.
Next at my request we visited Baltimore's Washington Monument which predates the monument in nearby Washington D.C.
There were all sorts of parks nearby, and great little metal statues. Here's James posing for me at a cool pool with a posing Nyad. Isn't he sweet?
All in all it was a nice day, romping around and seeing the sights of Baltimore with my nephew and nephewlette. Why does Maryland have to be so far from California - yeah - I know - all those darned other states between the two. *sigh*