Posts By: Dandy Lion

My name is Danforth Lion. Most people just call me Dandy. I live here in Norfolk Botanical Garden because it is such a great place for someone like me. It is the perfect environment for me to grow, there are lots of fantastic plants for me to hang out with and I get to see a lot of interesting people. Unfortunately there are some people who don’t like me much – namely the gardeners who work here. They are always trying to get rid of me, but I just move around. You never know where I will pop up. I am starting this blog so you can get to know me a little better, but mostly so I can tell you about all the neat things I see happening here at the Garden. It is amazing how much stuff goes on around here. Plus I can share all the gossip about the other plants that live here. A little about me. I am a fairly short fellow – I stand around 4 inches tall. I have lots of green leaves and I really like to get my feet dirty – I dig my toes as deep into the ground as I can. Like many Americans, my ancestors came from Europe. They came over with early colonists – in fact they came as an invited guest. I think it was because they were pretty good in the kitchen – you know, making salads and wine for example. In the 20th century, when everyone started getting excited about having pretty grass lawns people started calling us names like “weed” and kicking us out. It kind of hurts. At least some people like us still – mostly kids. I think they really like the older folks with the white fluffy hair. Anyway, we are a . . . Uh-oh! Here comes someone from the grounds staff so I gotta go. Talk to you later


Statuary Vista – A pictoral history

Posted by & filed under Formal Gardens.

On February 18, 1958 the Norfolk City Council, at the urging of the Old Dominion Horticultural Society, authorized the development of a botanical garden. They set aside 75 acres of land adjoining the 100-acre Municipal Gardens (more commonly referred to as Azalea Gardens) that was established in 1938. A 25-acre municipal plant nursery was on…

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Giving Thanks

Posted by & filed under Formal Gardens, Natural Areas.

This is good time of year to give thanks for all the things we have and I am thankful for lots of things here at the Garden. Thanks for all the grand trees we have.  They give us shade in the summer, structural beauty in the winter, wonderful fall color and budding hope in the…

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Lions, Tigers & Bears . . . Oh My!

Posted by & filed under Perennials.

I live in a botanical garden, not a zoo. However, I am not surprised that some people think about animals when they are here. Walking around the garden there is a veritable menagerie of plants with animal names. Let’s take a look at a few of them. Visitors on safari outside the education offices will…

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Seeing Red

Posted by & filed under Annuals, Perennials.

With the temperature getting hotter, we are seeing a lot of red these days. There’s more red showing in the thermometer, people walking around the garden sometimes have red faces flush from the heat and exercise, and of course there are plenty of red flowering plants. This is especially true in the hummingbird garden. The…

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Twas the Night Before Christmas

Posted by & filed under Shrubs, Trees.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Garden All the lights were blazin’ and the cars were a-comin’; The stockings were hung by the camellias with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The plants were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of compost danced in their heads;…

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Summertime a Peel

Posted by & filed under Trees.

Summertime is a great time of year to see lots of different flowering plants. We have gardens focusing on butterflies and hummingbirds and the plants they desire. The perennial garden, sensory garden and tropical garden are all bursting with flowers. Color is everywhere. One plant commonly seen around the Garden is the crape myrtle. This…

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Spring Odyssey

Posted by & filed under Natural Areas, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees.

There are two types of people who visit the Garden… Wait, that sounds like the start of a bad joke. People come to the Garden for many different reasons, but generally people come with a specific purpose in mind or they come to wander around and see what’s here. In other words, for some folks…

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Barking up the wrong tree

Posted by & filed under Shrubs, Trees.

Every January, it gets very quiet in the Garden. Few visitors come and brave the cold weather. I am pretty certain that many people also have the mindset that “there is nothing to see.” It’s winter, all the plants are asleep. Or so most people think. Certainly this is not the season for over-the-top floral…

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Showing Their True Colors

Posted by & filed under Shrubs, Trees.

Everyone likes to make a good impression.  When we meet someone, they make an effort to “put their best foot forward” and only after you have been with them a while do you really get to know them. Some plants are the same way. Take the weeping cherry, for example. Most people are introduced to…

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Creepy Plants

Posted by & filed under Natural Areas, Perennials.

Halloween is almost here and people are getting all excited to scare each other.  I love a good fright now and then too.  Last year I talked about some seasonally scary plants, but I really didn’t mention a few that truly creep me out.  These are the ones that will sneak up on you as…

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