Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Longwood Gardens; America's best bathroom hallway (and more)

We're back at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, the kick-off location for the 2023 Fling.

I'm wandering through the Conservatory District at Longwood, taking in the splendor of it all.

Aechmea chantinii 'Harvey's Pride'

Fountains were everywhere at Longwood.

Cyrtostachys renda, lipstick palm

Rhapis excelsa 'Variegata', variegated lady palm

Be still my heart! Look at that staghorn fern!

So many cool ferns gathered together...

Aglaomorpha, bear's paw fern 

Phlebodium some-somebody.

Close up of the base.

But then there is this...

The most amazing bathroom hallway/green wall.

All I can say is thank god I had to go to the bathroom!

Eventually I tore myself away from the green wall to continue my exploration. Davallia fejeensis 'Major', rabbit's foot fern

When I originally passed by the children's garden I thought "oh hell no"... but thankfully on my second time by I tucked in to see what it was all about.

Wowsa! This is a children's garden I can get behind.

Plumeria, I believe? (at the back)

Be still my heart! A whole row of Quesnelia marmorata 'Tim Plowman'!

So good!

What kid doesn't want to play in water? There was water gushing out of this monster face fountain.

And spraying from the mouths of a turtle and winged creature...

Railing detail.

And a sort of rill/bubbler. I fear I missed so much more than I saw that day, Longwood definitely packed a super horticultural punch!

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Monday, February 26, 2024

Visiting Longwood Gardens

The 2023 Fling kicked-off in style last September at Longwood Gardens. Because our Fling Organizer in Chief, Karl Gercens, is the Conservatory Manager at Longwood Gardens, our visit began with a behind-the-scenes look at the growing grounds that produce the plants that create the amazing displays at Longwood. 

My group started with the Victoria amazonica water lilies and this full-of-personality fellow who told us all about them...

It was interesting to watch the reaction of people who had never seen these super-structure lily pads up close. 

Our entertaining speaker had plenty of props for his brief talk.

We also saw these bonsai specimens in holding. My camera did a little malfunction thing while we were being told about the plants (quickly fixed), so I admit to not paying a lot of attention to the "why" these specimens were here, rather than in the garden. Perhaps because there is an entirely new conservatory area currently under construction (info here)

I was rather enchanted with that interesting kalanchoe container on the far right.

With moss and sedum it was a whole little world in and of itself.

After a few more fabulous behind-the-scenes-moments we were set free to wander the gardens at Longwood with instructions to meet up around 6pm for dinner, which would be followed by one of the famous Longwood illuminated fountain performances (which really was pretty spectacular). Here's where I admit to being completely overwhelmed though.

I knew Karl (our host) pre-Fling, because he contributes photos to Back when I was part of team plant lust, Karl came through town and we all got together for food and drinks and talk—the first I'd heard of Longwood. Thus in my head the conservatories are Longwood. That was all I'd really planned to see there, but suddenly I was outside walking around in cool gardens.

Not that I was complaining.

From their website: "One of the world’s great gardens, Longwood’s story is one of legacy, innovation, and stewardship. Spanning more than 1,100 acres, our Gardens showcase horticultural splendor, intricate fountain systems, architectural grandeur, and so much more—all with conservation at the core of our mission."

There was obviously a lot to see, so I tried to quickly orient myself to the map.

Then I realized since the conservatory was what I knew, I just needed to make sure it was what I saw, so I worked my way in that direction.

Well, kind of, I mean it was a beautiful day in a beautiful garden, I did wander a bit.

Peirce-du Pont House

With it's attached conservatory space, the first on the property.

Ah the topiary...

I really wanted to walk among the large shapes, but time was marching on and I needed to get over to the conservatory.
And so I did, can you imagine having this to wander through in the wintertime?

I went straight to the back of the building to see the Silver Garden...

"California native Isabelle Greene to created the Silver Garden, a modernist display of plants native to Mediterranean and desert climates. With its contemporary design direction, this garden was groundbreaking for us, as well as a visual departure from the formal approach seen throughout the Conservatory complex. After much discussion, we embraced the opportunity to innovate and evolve with Greene. With its angles, slopes, and curves, it conveyed a realistic desert landscape experience that contrasted with the flower-filled Orangery and Acacia Passage. When it opened to the public in 1989, the Silver Garden was overwhelmingly embraced by our guests." (source)

Choice Agave victoriae-reginae...

A sea of Tillandsia albida...

And mound of Deuterocohnia brevifolia...

Squirmy Haworthiopsis coarctata below the tillandsia.

Agave parryi 'Ohi Kissho ten Nishiki'

Such a dreamy container grouping.

But there's more! Agave attenuata...

And another, positively ginormous, agave (perhaps americana?).

Lepismium cruciforme

Agave parryi.

Part One of my visit to Longwood ends here, with this magnificent cycad. Come back on Wednesday for more, including a look at the best public bathrooms in all of America...

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All material © 2009-2024 by Loree L Bohl. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.