“Let’s go see the ‘Art in the Garden’ exhibits…” I said to Peter, “…at the Hort Gardens.” It was a surprise outing for him.
“Oh, OK!” His eyes sparkled. “We haven’t been there in a long time.”
“Be ready in twenty minutes,” I said, glad he was interested. Wherever we went on our travels, when we still traveled, we would always visit public gardens.
He didn’t mention, or didn’t realize, that I headed the wrong way out of our drive. Carol Lee doughnuts was an important first stop, part of my surprise. I bought six of their lighter-than-air glazed to have with the thermos of coffee I’d brought. From there I took a “scenic route” I knew he’d enjoy — through campus, past the power plant which intrigues him, around the drill field and duck pond, and finally to the Hahn Horticulture Garden.
Leslie and I had already seen this year’s “Simply Elemental.” I hoped Peter would enjoy it as much as we had. I pointed out Richard Hammer’s “Glorious Glass Flowers,” but he preferred the enormous hibiscus near the pavilion. I nudged him to examine the NRV Naturalists’ “In a stream near you,” but he wanted to watch the real fish in the real stream or see the spider that had spun the web attached to one of Lauren Collver’s “Bedrock Beetles.” I carried on about the beautiful handiwork of the Textile Artists of Virginia (TAVA) who created the butterflies for “Kaleidoscope Flutters by” in the trident maple allee. He spotted a real butterfly. Why was I surprised he liked nature better than art?
We had our coffee and doughnuts in the arbor. The sun was baking hot, but the air was lovely in the shade. “Isn’t this pleasant?” I sighed.
My indignant tsk tsk was loud. Why I was surprised he was noncommittal?
“Sorry,” he said, “you know I don’t like this heat.”
“Mm-mmm,” I said.
Two women walked by just as I snapped the picture below. “He’s a masterpiece,” I joked.
They laughed. “He sure is,” one of them said.
My husband loves being the center of attention. I have lots of nice pictures from that day, but this is my favorite.
National Society of Newspaper Columnists 2016 contest winner —
online, blog, & monthly under 100,000 unique visitors category.
Header: One beauty for the “kaleidoscope” of butterflies.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)