My Fifteen Seconds of Fame

A Weeping Cherry at the U.S. National Arboretum, photo courtesy U.S. National Arboretum


Earlier this month, I was speaking with someone on the phone about scheduling a medical test. The conversation went something like this:
She: “Ann McClellan? I know that name.”
Me: “Do you watch WETA?”
She, hesitantly: “Yes.”
Me: “Well, I am a ‘talking head’ in a video they often run each spring about the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. Maybe you saw it?”
She: “Oh yes, that’s it! Those blossoms create a traffic nightmare for me.”
Me: “Have you ever been to the Arboretum?”
She: “You mean the place off New York Avenue? I visited just last year when a friend performed in a jazz group there. It is beautiful!”
Me: “Yes, I know, and they have LOTS of flowering cherry trees to see and it’s less crowded than visiting the Tidal Basin.”
She: “Oh, thank you. I’ll go next spring. I hate what those blossoms around the Tidal Basin do to my commute.”

As I write at the end of October, spring might seem far off, but the flowering cherry trees will be blooming before we know it, no matter what. When they do, I’ll be smiling, remembering my 15 seconds of fame, thanks to the delightful scheduler on the other end of the phone.

June already!

American Garden Stamps 2020


In all the chaos and confusion of this very strange spring, I missed the introduction in May of these stamps, honoring American gardens. They highlight some of my favorites like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden,Huntington, Winterthur and Dumbarton Oaks. I look forward to visiting these gardens and others once travel becomes possible again. In the meantime, I hope my snail mail correspondents will enjoy receiving envelopes affixed with these beautiful stamps!

Spring is arriving early!


This beautiful weeping cherry lives across the street from me. While I treasure its beautiful shape all year long, it is most sensational in the spring with its cascades of pink blossoms. Its beauty provides solace in the face of the Covid-19 state of emergency.

Cherry Blossom Season

 

A Flowering ‘Okame’ cherry blossom from the U.S. National Arboretum

The ‘Okame’ flowering cherry trees are blooming in my neighborhood! They are hybrids, creating by breeding Taiwan flowering cherry trees (Prunus campanulata) with Fuji cherries (Prunus incisa). Whatever their origins, I’m grateful for their pink grace notes in our late winter world, welcome harbingers of spring.

Welcome Fall!

Summer came and went too fast this year because I’m working a new book.  The particulars are under wraps but here’s a sneak peak of an image to entice you!

Photo by Roland Jefferson, courtesy U.S. National Arboretum

Meet Me at the National Arboretum’s Garden Fair & Plant Sale, April 27 & 28!

 

Fellow author Sandra Moore and I will be participating in the 2019 Garden Fair & Plant Sale at the U.S. National Arboretum on April 27 & 28. Presented by Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA), it’s open to the public from noon to 4 on Saturday and 9 to 4 on Sunday. FONA members enjoy special members-only hours from 9 to noon on Saturday.

Sandy and I will each have copies of our books to sell — hers is The Peace Tree from Hiroshima, a book for children– plus a supply of In Training by photographer Stephen Voss. See you at the Fair!

Camellias before Cherry Blossoms


Camellias bloom before Cherry Blossoms and this one at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the U.S. National Arboretum is at its peak right now. This Japanese Camellia (Camellia japonica (Higo Group) ‘Yamato-nishiki’) has been in training since 1875 and was one of the 53 bonsai given to the U.S. by Japan in 1976.

Bonsai News

This Bougainvillea proves that any plant with a woody stem can be a bonsai.

I don’t know about you but in the Mid-Atlantic area of the US in the middle of January, I always enjoy a reminder that plants are flowering somewhere, as they will be here too in a few months. You can check this one out at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum as soon as the US National Arboretum re-opens following the current government shutdown. In the meantime, find the latest news about the museum on the National Bonsai Foundation’s new website: https://www.bonsai-nbf.org/ Enjoy!

Cherry Blossom Bonsai

Prunus subhirtella bonsai at C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum, photo by Sarah Schmidt


For me, cherry blossom time is all year long and I was delighted to discover this photo of a cherry blossom bonsai at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s bonsai museum. It’ll be a must stop next time I’m in New York City!