“Blanche’s Beautiful Garden” is a photography exhibit honoring Blanche Raff, a gardener in Great Falls who loves to share her flowers at the intersection of Walker Road and Walker Lake Drive. You have probably seen her magnificent peonies and iris in early summer and her stunning dahlias in late summer if you drive that route. Hurry to see the dahlias now, because sadly Blanche is moving, and her flowers will soon be gone too. About fifteen years ago photographer Dee Leggett stopped by when Blanche was out working in her garden and asked if she could photograph Blanche’s flowers. A friendship developed, and Dee has been photographing her flowers ever since.
“Blanche’s Beautiful Garden" Photo Exhibit
Photos by Dee Leggett at the Great Falls Library, Small Conference Room, Great Falls, Through Nov. 15, 2021
Blanche loves flowers. She and her husband Bill built their round house about 35 years ago and that is when her flower gardening began to expand. When she first moved in, she planted 100 tulip bulbs. But as most who live in Great Falls know, deer love tulips and she had only one that survived and bloomed. After studying what deer don’t like, she planted 500 daffodils. She began to experiment with iris and dug a 100-foot-long bed and planted 45 varieties of iris. Then she dug another 100-foot-long long bed and planted over 35 varieties of peonies. Next, she became very interested in dahlias, and expanded her beds and then added another 100-foot-long bed for dahlias. She has over 125 varieties of dahlias. And of all those different varieties, she knows their names.
The display of flower photographs on exhibit in the library lets the viewer enjoy her iris, peonies, and dahlias all at once. There is a diversity of colors, of shapes, and of sizes of the flowers, and the exhibit gives the viewer a small sampling of her many varieties.
Sadly, for lovers of Great Falls gardens, Blanche will be relocating this fall to Colorado where her daughter lives. She is working hard to make sure her three focus flower types go to good homes before she leaves. Her many other flowers will stay, as well as her beautiful spring-blooming cherry trees and her many summer-blooming crepe myrtle.
Photographs of several of Blanche’s flowers are in Dee’s photo journal of scenes and history of Great Falls, VA, entitled Visions of Great Falls.
Dee Leggett has been photographing nature for over ten years, both in the Great Falls area and around the world. She is a member of Great Falls Studios.
To see more of Dee’s work: Contact Dee at 703-861-3335 or DeeLeggett@aol.com
Visit her website at Etsy.Com/Shop/CreationPraisesVisit during Library Hours, located at 9830 Georgetown Pike in Great Falls.