A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, August 21, 2006

Longwood in August

I often wonder what my fellow volunteers at Rutgers Gardens think of me. Do they refer to me as "that annoying woman with the camera"? I have the very bad habit of stopping whatever I am doing to take pictures. I know for a fact that they were calling me "The Southern Belle" at the Open House . I was wearing a long skirt and a large hat in an effort to shield my fair skin from the sun. Or maybe it was the scarf I tied around the brim of my hat to dress it up a bit. One gentleman persisted in addressing me in an exagerated southern drawl all day!

My latest hijinx involved a fieldtrip to Longwood Gardens on Saturday. I desperately wanted to go but I was scheduled to work Friday night. All night. The solution I came up with was to go directly to Rutgers Gardens when my shift ended at 8:30 AM Saturday morning, hop into the backseat of my car and sleep until the van came at 11:30 AM, then claim the backseat of the van and sleep during the two hour drive.

I do hope they consider me entertaining rather than annoying!

When we arrived at Longwood Gardens, if I wasn't fully awake getting out of the van, I definitely woke up when I saw this outside the Visitor's Center:

Yes, it was that bright. We collected our tickets and headed out into the gardens. The only other time I have been here was in January. What a difference from January to August. In January, the outdoor gardens were all empty. Now in August they were a blaze of color.

I want to come back in the spring when the roses are blooming. Can you imagine what this must look like then?

Those arches all have climbing roses trained on them. We were headed to the Flower Garden Walk. I was very interested in seeing it since I have color gardens at home. The Flower Garden Walk has borders on either side that are planted in single colors, first lavenders and blues, then pinks, yellows, reds and oranges, ending in whites.

Long time readers of this blog are aquainted with my fascination with water in the landscape. Longwood Gardens is filled with lakes, ponds, fountains and waterfalls.
This is in the middle of the Flower Garden Walk. And then there is this sunken garden with its own tiny pool:
Right below my feet is this exquisite fountain and container garden:

I saw many striking plant/color combinations. Would you ever think of doing this?

And yet it works beautifully. Huge hedges are used throughout the grounds to divide the various gardens. Quite a few of them have wonderful stone benches:
I would hate to have the job of keeping that trimmed, wouldn't you? I enjoyed the "surprises" sprinkled around the gardens. Like this pitcher plant on the other side of this hedge.
It made perfect sense as a lead-in to Pierce's Woods, an art-form garden. It is supposed to demonstrate the ornamental characteristics of eastern deciduous forests. I don't agree with some of the plantings. Ferns as ground cover?

Maybe it was the straight lines and monoculture that bothered me. I prefer more naturalistic plantings. Speaking of straight lines, whose idea was this?
Come on, if a homeowner planted a bunch of pines in rows like this, the same "experts" who committed this atrocity would be having the vapors. Okay, enough ranting. On to Large Lake (honest, that's what it's called on the map):
Obviously under construction, but still very attractive. I never did find out what this garden on the far shore was composed of or why it was placed there.
I absolutely loved it! Now this is a woodland planting I like:
See the rhododendrons at the top of the steps? No straight lines except in stone and no monoculture. Perfect! At the other end of the lake is the Italian Garden. Can you guess why I like it?
Here's an interesting factoid about this garden. The pools are not all equal in size. The farther pools are actually longer than the near ones so that when viewed from above like this, they look the same size. Who thinks of this stuff? Now for something completely different:
A staircase waterfall! I'm not usually fond of "art", but I did enjoy the many sculptural objects perhaps because they were few and in a garden setting.
We went around the other side of the lake on our way to the Conservatory. I saw this and wondered who lived there:
A gnome? A hobbit?

On to the conservatory and more fountains, both indoors and outdoors!


At 9:34 AM, Blogger Christine said...

These were inspiring~ thank you!

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

I am DROOLING over here... wow! I don't even like white flowers and I adored the white/silver garden photo. Wonder if I can find a place for a staircase waterfall like that in my tiny .14 acre lot?!?!?!

At 5:48 PM, Blogger Karen said...

I would love to know what those chartreuse leaves are in the first photo. And I completely agree with you about the straight lines and monoculture in a woodland garden. Seems much too formal. But when formal works, it really works! And there are so many good examples in the photos you have shown us. Thanks for the tour!

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Beautiful pictures. I can see why you went through all you did not to miss the trip!

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been dreaming about making a trip from harrisburg with my friend to longwood. I lived in PA for 8 years and never knew it existed...I can only dream for now

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Diva One, and Diva Two said...

Ah, what a relief from the rain your photos are!! Thank you for all that work, Karen. The urn of pitcher plants and the staircase waterfall were stunning. And those huge lime green-eared plants. . .colocasia?? I'll be back this evening with a glass of wine to enjoy these at my leisure! brooke

At 5:52 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

The chrtreuse plant was some kind of elephant ear but I neglected to get the name of the variety. Ther were a fiew of them scattered around. Very striking!

At 5:29 AM, Blogger Alice said...

What beautiful gardens with some unusual but lovely colour and plant combinations. Lots of food for thought. Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse of these gardens.

I hope your foot is feeling better, although I suspect that you're probably not giving it much chance. Am I right?

At 5:39 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Alice, you are right! I just can't seem to stay off my feet.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger Sigrun said...

Thank you for your wonderful photos! Like Britain...


At 4:23 PM, Blogger snappy said...

What a beautiful place, when you need inspiration just walk around a place like this.Its stunning, like the stately home gardens here in England.Lovely...

At 9:30 AM, Blogger crazygramma said...

What a wonderful place. You are so fortunate to have access to it. As always I am glad you are the lady with the camera. Thank you for sharing.


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