Monday, July 1, 2013

Longwood Gardens

Free tickets to tour one of the most outstanding gardens in the United States!  What a generous gift our cousins gave us.  So our 21st stop on our Summer Tour was Longwood Gardens in the Philadelphia suburb of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Some of the 1077 acres now occupied the gardens were originally purchased around 1700 by the Peirce family from William Penn.  They developed an arboretum, Peirce's Park, open to the public.  By 1850, it was one of the finest collections of trees in the United States..

By 1906, however, the park was on the verge of being sold for lumbering when Pierre S. DuPont purchased it.  It became his private estate for the next 26 years during which he developed and greatly expanded the scope and beauty of the gardens.  It now includes twenty outdoor gardens and twenty indoor gardens which include over 11,000 different types of plants and trees.

Last Saturday, June 29, it was bright and sunny as we set out to tour the gardens.
We walked along coleus-bordered pathways,
past Italian-style fountains and up elaborate stone steps,
past a small lake adorned with water lilies in varied colors,
to a wooded area where we admired rhododendron blooms,
oak-leaf hydrangeas
and chuckled at the antics of a nosy squirrel!
Other paths led us along to

 meadows and sculptured gardens,
through a topiary garden of sculptured trees,
and past a small reminder of Texas!
The afternoon fountain show gave us a chance to sit down,
rest our feet and feast our eyes on a different kind of beauty!
Now the Conservatory called to us to come inside.  It is over four acres under glass and contains more than 5500 different types of plants, many of them exotic imports,
 such as this cheery red Flamingo Flower,
and this enormous Bouganvillea tree.
Twenty indoor gardens in the Conservatory include
the Fern Room,
 the Cascade Room, the Mediterranean Garden,
the Orchid Room,
and the Palm House.
Even the hallway to the public restrooms was beautified with live greenery
and is called The Green Wall!
Even the water lily ponds displayed more kinds of aquatic beauties
than we ever knew existed,
including this gigantic South American species called
a Water Platter.
We had toured and walked all day, feasting on the beauty of the growing things
and the music of the bell carillon above this peaceful pool.
Now it was time to go home, preserve our memories of the day
and share them with you in this blog.
We hope you've enjoyed them.