Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Landscape Lighting and Site Visit to Capitol Hill Yard with Spectacular Crape Myrtle

Oct: 14: Oxley, president of Outdoor Illumination, Inc., in Bethesda, presented an overview of outdoor lighting to enhance outdoor landscaping at night. While showing examples of the firms' work in the DC metro area, Oxley discussed uplighting and downlighting, forelighting and backlighting, avoiding glare and overkill. He said it was better to error on the side of less. In terms of equipment, Oxley urged members to opt for quality. He discussed the need for an outdoor transformer with an internal circuit breaker, 12 volt multi-reflector bulbs, wiring and an electrical source.

Following the meeting, Oxley led about two dozen members over to 6th and D SE to view the landscape lighting in a side garden which features what is believed to be the oldest winter-hardy crape myrtle in the United States.

Several varieties of crape myrtle grow in the United States. The common crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) was introduced in the 1750s from mainland Asia. A Japanese variety (Lagerstroemia fauriei) was introduced in the 1950s and was used by the U.S. National Arboretum in the 1960s to develop a strain of winter hardy, disease resistant crape myrtles with decorative cinnamon--brown bark.

The tree on 6th street is apparently one of the earliest of these Lagerstroemia fauriei. It towers above the adjacent two-story row houses and is uplit. The transformer is below left:

Oxley distributed this handout at the meeting:

Fall in the Shenandoah

Chrysanthemums (below l) at the home of Patsy Cline.

For more of Patsy Cline go here and for the Blue Ridge bonfire go here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Smoke Tree

Mt. Hebron Cemetery, Winchester, VA, Oct. 11: At first glance we thought Spanish Moss but that's impossible in the Shenandoah Valley. It's a smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) with its summer pink turned fall gray.

Milo on the Hill

At the corner of 12th and Independence SE, a solitary milo plant has grown in the tree box. Americans use milo for cattle feed and increasingly for ethanol.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Up on the Roof

Oct. 2: 10 G Street NE, which sits between Union Station and the Government Printing Office, has a partially green roof and a terrace featuring a labyrinth. The terrace was a great venue for the book launching of "Open Spaces, Sacred Places."