Garden.True.North is about gardening in Zone 3,
sharing thoughts, ideas and tips for all northern gardeners.
sharing thoughts, ideas and tips for all northern gardeners.
This blog post was also published on the North Country Master Gardener website.
If you are traveling in the Philadelphia area I highly recommend this list of gardens, all quite different. Seeing woodland spring ephemerals in different settings taught me a new appreciation for what I tend to take for granted here at home. Anytime during their long growing season these gardens will teach, display and provide pleasure to their visitors.
Morris Arboretum – As the name implies the arboretum is a teaching and research facility of the University of Pennsylvania. It is set on the historic grounds of the summer home of John and Lydia Morris. They have informative displays of trees, shrubs, and woodland perennials.
Longwood Gardens – One of many du Pont family gardens in the area. The gardens are spread about on 1,100 acres of highly manicured display gardens. We were there for six hours, more than enough time to see almost everything and spend time in their excellent garden shop. According to their website they raise 75 percent of the plants used in their displays onsite producing about 110,000 plants of 1,000 different varieties. Nearby is Kennett Square, a tidy small town with many retail shops and restaurants.
Mt. Cuba Center – The Center is set in the rolling hills of the Delaware Piedmont near Wilmington. The property was developed by Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland. Mrs. Copeland is quoted in their intention for the property: “I want this to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”. If you go, I recommend scheduling a tour by one of their very knowledgeable tour guides. If you can’t go to Mt. Cuba Center, you can still learn much by going to their website. I have bookmarked as one of my favorites the native plant finder.
Winterthur – The home of Henry Francis du Pont, the 1,000 acres near Wilmington, DE includes 60 acres naturalist gardens, a research library, shops, museum, and the mansion chock full of American textiles and furniture. The gardens are more in the background of Winterthur given all the other attractions of this property.
Chanticleer - This garden was the last we visited, and I think the best. Chanticleer is set on 47 acres of the former home of the Rosengarten family, members of the family still guide the foundation that manages the property. This unique property employs seven Horticulturists who are each responsible for an area of the grounds. Chanticleer advertises itself as a pleasure garden and definitely lives up to that name. We felt as if we were invited guests, the horticulturists and grounds staff were about the grounds ready to answer our questions.
What a treat to have visited these gardens, each one unique in its own way. And the Winnebago Master Gardener Volunteers are wonderful traveling companions.
Images from The Exotic Garden (address: 62 Boulevard du Jardin Exotique, Monaco)
Lower left is the harbor, our ship the Viking Star is the bigger one on the far right (but not that much bigger than some of the private yachts).
On our Mediterranean cruise this March we were fortunate to stop at the Exotic Gardens of Monaco. It is amazing what you can do when (1) you are the king of a principality, (2) you are rich enough to employ several hundred gardeners, and (3) have several generations of family that contribute to the garden.
Although we did not see the entire garden, what we did see was impressive. These four acres are set on a rocky hillside and was opened in 1933 by Prince Albert I. Although dominated by succulents, there are also roses and I even found some spring bulbs. Only later did I pause to think about how that was possible in this temperate climate with not enough of a cold period for bulbs to bloom naturally. I would hazard a guess that they kept the bulbs in cold storage and planted them outside to enjoy this spring. Just like we would do to force bulbs, except on a larger scale. Again, money and labor can create a wonderful garden.
Most of all I love the address of this garden.
Wouldn’t you love to live on Boulevard du Jardin Exotique?
Inspiration at Bashaw Valley Farm and Greenhouse
"Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien
I was reminded this winter of what it feels like to be at least a little lost in a new store. I wandered into my local quilt shop, River’s Edge Antique & Quilt Loft in Hayward with a pattern and a few pieces of fabric from my stash. My goal was to make a crib quilt for a new baby that will be joining our family this spring. Upon entering I see a few bolts of cloth but am disappointed with the limited selection. But Wait! The name of the shop should have clued me in that there was more and there certainly was upstairs. My stumbling about reminded me that we are beginners at some point and these specialized businesses that support our crafts and passions are there to help us.
On April 4, 2017 my husband and I visited the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Netherlands about 20 miles from Amsterdam. Everything about the garden is impressive: 7 million bulbs, 100 bulb companies, 800 varieties of tulips, and 80 acres of displays. And unless you hop on a plane right now you will need to wait until next year, it closes on May 21, 2017. The park hosts over a million visitors over an eight-week period. It is only open each year from late March to mid-May.
The outdoor displays showcase the very best that the bulb growers have to offer. We arrived on the early side of the tulip season. Getting around the park was very easy and I was able to take pictures without people crowding out the scenic views. A neighbor went just two weeks after us around Easter and he reported that it was difficult to walk around. We understand from locals that during the prime time you can barely move in the park. So there is a trade-off between prime tulip blooms and crowds of people.
Three large pavilions showcase cut flowers, orchids, and tulip displays inside. Next to the park are bulb fields that can be explored by a canal boat or by bicycle. Of course, as with any other attraction there are plenty of opportunities to shop and eat.
This is one of the top 50 gardens of the world. I can vouch that it is one of the most spectacular that I have ever visited. If you are a gardener this should be on your bucket list.
Subscribe to this blog and receive new posts by email!
Use the link below and follow the instructions. You will be asked to verify your subscription. If you do not receive the verification email, look for it in your social or spam folders.