So much has happened since the last column, I hardly know where to begin. Last Friday morning was lovely, awakening to a snow-covered world. I love how even an inch of the stuff covers a multitude of “sins.” I speak only metaphorically of all my sorely neglected garden chores.
I must give a shout out to Matt Tobin up at Eden. All the ceramic pots were neatly arranged on the shelves until spring. Only splashes of color showed through the snow in a most pleasing fashion.
I am happy to report on my trip to our nation’s capital for the second inaugural of Barack Obama. We had a blast. Luckily the trip was a few extra days. We were able to do quite a bit of sightseeing. Violet had to go back to the National Zoo. The last time we went we missed a few things. Even in the dead of winter there was quite a bit of garden to enjoy. There is a ton of Heavenly Bamboo in full berry. The only person I know with that plant is my friend Kitty Burke. Next week I will try to look up the particulars for you.
Sunday was an absolutely perfect day. We got ourselves down to the mall where there were all kinds of activity preparing for the big event. We got a huge kick out of carrying on in front of the CNN news booth. Don Lemon came out into the crowd and later Anderson Cooper, much to the delight of all.
Our visit to the Botanical Gardens was awesome. We absolutely will make another trip to spend more time there. Every house plant you ever owned is in there, but 40 or 50 feet tall with orchids dripping from their branches.
There are rooms with every imaginable climate — deserts, jungles, Hawaiian rain forests and primordial ooze. Most of the federal buildings that are recognized by every American were in the main room of the huge glass house. They had been carved from wood with remarkable detail. Even President Lincoln was inside the memorial. He was about an inch tall. I encourage anyone planning a trip to DC to put the gardens on the to-do-and-see list.
For a break I sat outside in the formal gardens at the very moment the over 100 voice Brooklyn choir chose to rehearse the Battle Hymn of the Republic from the capitol steps. It honestly cannot be better than that in a lifetime.
Next we hoofed it over to the relatively new museum of the American Indian. As luck would have it, we were able to enjoy two dance performances. One was from Argentina and the other from Bolivia. The Bolivian troupe was dressed in rather outrageous takeoffs of the Spanish Conquistadors’ costumes. They told the story of the subjections of the native peoples by Spain.
We ate a great lunch in their cafeteria. They served food indigenous to the various tribes. I had a wonderful quinoa and lima bean salad. Every item was labeled according to tribe and region of origin. We had dinner later at a Lebanese restaurant in Bethesda. When traveling, there are so many food choices.
During our many walks I noticed a recurring garden theme. Regular curly kale and red ornamental cabbages were bedded down with huge swaths of blue and yellow pansies in full and cheerful bloom. It is so interesting to notice what a mere 500 miles can make for plants. All the magnolia trees are enormous compared to ours here on the Vineyard.
Early on during Inauguration Day we traveled by the metro to the capitol. Everyone was so happy and friendly. We met so many interesting folks from all over the country. We shared laughs with cabdrivers and ticket takers. We thanked soldiers and park police. We admired the police horses. We shared our blankets on the ground with strangers. We cheered and waved flags. We gave a couple of interviews to Politico and the Washington Post. We overtipped. We bought memorabilia that made us laugh. We felt at one with our fellows and loved America.
The President’s second Inaugural address spelled out a vision for our country that embodied the progressive and liberal agenda that we lefties have longed to hear, practically from FDR.