Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hot and Wet During The Fling

Robins Williams as Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam

Hey, can you tell me, what's your name? "My name is Roosevelt E. Roosevelt." Roosevelt, what town are you stationed in? "I'm stationed in Poontang." Well, thank you, Roosevelt. What's the weather like out there? "It's hot! Damn hot! Real hot! Hottest thing is my shorts. I could cook things in it. A little crotch pot cooking." Well, tell me what it feels like. "Fool, it's hot! I told you again! Were you born on the sun? It's damn hot! It's so damn hot, I saw little guys, their orange robes burst into flames. It's that hot! Do you know what I'm talking about?" What do you think it's going to be like tonight? "It's gonna be hot and wet! That's nice if you're with a lady, but ain't no good if you're in the jungle!" Thank you, Roosevelt.

And thank you, Robin Williams, for giving me a perfect opening for my first post about this year's Hot as Hell Fling.

It was hot. Damn hot. When you go to the bathroom after touring gardens in downtown Washington, D.C., and removing certain sweat-soaked articles of clothing feels like peeling off a wet bathing suit, you know you're in trouble. It didn't help that I was sick with a cold, and couldn't stop coughing to save my life. Somehow, despite my Typhoid Mary status, and the heat, and my camera acting up, I managed to take some photos, and now I'm going to inflict the misery of viewing them on you, if you care to look. Hey, I was miserable when I took them, so it's only fair.

Hillwood Estate Gardens

We spent the morning of Friday, the first day of the Fling, at Hillwood, the former home of Marjorie Meriweather Post. Post was the daughter of C.W Post, founder of the Postum Cereal Company, and in 1914, when her father died, she became the sole heiress of the company and one of the wealthiest women in the U.S. She purchased Hillwood, a 25-acre estate in Washington, D.C. in 1955. The temperature was already hot and humid by the time we got there, but the Visitor Center, fortunately, was air-conditioned, and I spent most of my time going back and forth between the gardens and the air-conditioning.

Parterre -- a rill runs through it

Creepy statue


This was as far as I went into the greenhouse -- it was hot and wet, like the jungle

The cutting garden

Dahlia in the cutting garden

Echinops ritro


The rose garden and arbor

After lunch at the estate, we hopped back onto the mercifully air-conditioned buses and were taken into downtown D.C. to the National Mall.

Smithsonian Gardens

I did some reading ahead of time and despite having 3 hours on the National Mall to see the Smithsonian Gardens, I knew I wouldn't have time to see everything. So I decided to stick to just two gardens, the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden (which sounded the most interesting to me), and the Butterfly/Pollinator Garden.

Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

The Mary Livingston Ripley Garden runs along the eastern side of the Arts and Industries Building. Collector, scholar, and avid gardener, Mrs. Ripley championed the establishment of this beautiful garden in 1978. The garden is home to a variety of plants whose color and aroma stimulate the senses. It contains a variety of unusual trees, shrubs and perennials.

Bug Hotel in the Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

Ripley Garden with the Arts and Industries Museum behind

Ripley Garden and Hirschhorn Museum

Not a giant v-jay -- Aristolochia gigantea ssp brasiliensis

Aristolochia peruviana

There is a fabulous living wall in the Ripley Garden that everyone but me saw and took a picture of.  How did I not notice it? Don't know, maybe I was catatonic from the heat. Here's a post that Smithsonian Horticulturist Janet Draper wrote about it.

Also, here's a Pinterest board about the garden.

Butterfly Garden

The Smithsonian Pollinator Garden is a 400 x 40 foot area that showcases the interdependency between plants and their pollinators, including bees, beetles, and butterflies. It is located on the East side of the National Museum of Natural History.

Thalictrum rochebrunianum

Great pairing of Tithonia and blue Salvia

The Pollinator Garden has a Pinterest Board too.

US Botanic Garden

From the Smithsonian Gardens we had to make our way down several city blocks to the US Botanic Garden and Conservatory, just outside the Capitol Building, where our idiotic Congresspeople meet. I would have enjoyed this walk a lot more if it hadn't been so. damn. hot.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America.
Established in 1820, the US Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the country. You can read about the history of the US Botanic Garden here.

Water feature inside the conservatory

Big ball of Tillandsias

Enormous Castor Bean plant

That was about the limit of my exploration inside the conservatory. I found an air-conditioned room where I could sit until bus time, so that's what I did.


That's the end of my sucky pictures from Day One of the 2017 Fling. I can hear your sigh of relief.

Did I mention it was hot?


  1. I'm so sorry you felt crappy Alison ! Except for our day in DC the weather was way better than I feared.This California girl is not used to that humid crap.And I like your photos !

  2. Thank you for bearing with the heat and humidity to take these photos you share with us here.

  3. Interesting gardens, but I think I got a little hot and sticky just reading about them. :-)

  4. How do people live, and function, in that humidity? I love it hot, but I'm a desert girl...a dry heat! This really was the worst of it. The other days were less miserable, at least to me.

    You still got some great photos! Hope you enjoyed the overall experience. That's a long way to go if you didn't. Next year Austin!?

  5. So, I'm hearing you say it was a little warm and a touch humid? You got some great shots despite feeling gross. Aren't we lucky to live where we do?

  6. Now you know why I moved here! I just wish I had done it long ago. I saw these gardens years ago on a D.C. visit. Do you get to see Dumbarton Oaks? It is my favorite garden.

  7. Your pictures were great, I say. Isn't it great to live somewhere, that when you travel away, you can return to much better weather?

  8. I'm with you on the humidity - but then it also reminds you that DC is really a swamp... Your pictures are gorgeous anyway, thank you for sharing! And I hope you've recovered!

  9. That first day was particularly hot and sticky but I think your discomfort that day colored your view of your photos, which are great. I'm determined to spend some time plowing through my own photos today, as so far I've done little more than download them and dump the really lousy ones.

    Best wishes for a happy 4th, Alison, and I hope you're feeling better!

  10. Okay, I get it that humans are miserable in that climate, but the plants! The plants look to be excessively digging life! Is the D.C. weather the reason why politicians are in such unreasonable, contrary moods all the time? Between extreme winter and hot,muggy summers, how many goods months are there? Would congress chill a bit if we relocated the capitol to the West Coast? Maybe they could take up surfing during breaks -- okay, ducking for cover. So glad you took these photos despite feeling crappy.

  11. If I had been there in that heat, I would have out-miserabled you--probably would have fainted and not seen anything. Can't imagine how you took any photos at all. 62F and very overcast is my kind of weather.

    The Tithonia orange paired with Salvia 'Black and Blue', yeah, wowzah!

  12. Great post, great photos. Yes, Friday was hot and wet, and not in a good way. The rest of the weekend was surprisingly mild for DC, I thought. The Mary Ripley Garden was my favorite among the gardens along the National Mall.


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