An American Garden

Bartram’s — An American Garden

Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and for the men who gathered there to lay out the foundations of our democracy.  This is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Constitution written. What many people don’t realize is that Philadelphia also claims to be America’s garden capital, boasting 30 public gardens within 30 miles of Philly. ...   Continue Reading

Tree Houses in an Arboretum!

Visiting arboretums in my travels I naturally find myself walking in the woods.  I enjoy the shade, the champion trees, meadows and blooming spring ephemorals such as jack in the pulpits, trillions, wood poppies, and may apple.   Trees are the stars with their gnarly trunks, amazing branching structures and leafy canopies overhead.  In spring the green color of new leaves is bright and clean....   Continue Reading

Wisteria Wonder

It’s May in Pennsylvania, a month which bridges spring to summer. Gardens are the reflection of everyone’s hope that warmer temperatures and easier times are truly here for the season.  Life moves so quickly and a garden clearly reminds us of this.  Longwood Gardens has a wisteria garden.  I visited there on May 13 and the wisteria was glorious.  Purple and white blossoms hung in ringlets from gnarly, woody trunks.  The scent and the color was magical.  May 23 I returned to Longwood, and the wisteria was without color.  The magic was gone, green was the only color.  Tendrils of new growth reached out into thin air. Wisteria is a vine which can grow so vigorously with so much power it can move foundations, yet it’s beauty is so fleeting.  How is it that something can be so beautiful so briefly?  It is a flash of magic, it is a moment to be noticed and enjoyed. If you have made room in your garden for wisteria you understand its incredible power to bewitch and beguile your senses.  If you haven’t experienced the brief beauty of a full bloom of wisteria it is impossible to appreciate how mystical it can be.  Life’s beautiful moments are brief.  Sometimes you simply stand still and enjoy the sparkle.  Don’t miss it!...   Continue Reading

Chanticleer Gardens

Chanticleer Gardens near Philadelphia, PA is a 35 acre pleasure garden.  Built in the early 20th century it was a summer home of the Rosengarten family.  There are rolling hills, woodlands, a cutting garden, terraces and ponds, it is a truly beautiful garden space.  There is an entire book written to describe and illustrate its story.  Chanticleer’s spring palate was anchored with shades of purple mixed with whites and pink.  The alliums in purple and white and in all stages of bloom were a star of the show. These perennial bulbs are easy to grow, come in a variety of colors and require little space.  Interspersed among other plants they are great for adding height to a border as the pop up inserting their ball shape bloom.  The buds emerge a small smooth ball with no hint of what will emerge.  Then it begins to crack open and the beads of color appear.  The individual flowers are a star shape and when fully open the bloom is a baseball size burst of color.  I love them in the flower beds, in bouquets and in all stages of opening.  ...   Continue Reading

If I were to have a conservatory . . .

Mt Cuba Botanic Center

Former home of Mr. & Mrs Lammot du Pont Copeland, Hockessin, DE

If I were to have a conservatory it would be lovely to have large tall windows facing southeast. From inside I could look out on the rolling hills of the Piedmont range in northern Delaware. The tall windows would allow light to flood into the second story of the house and the room.  The sun would fall on the black and white tile floor. The potted plants would thrive in the pleasant environment.The walls would be painted with a soft taupe. A perfect sideboard in green with gold leaf accents would be just the thing to showcase a collection of floral china pieces....   Continue Reading

A Walk in the Woods

Mt Cuba Gardens, Hockessin, DE

A rare day in May found me walking in the woods down a path flanked with blooming ephemeral spring flowers.  There were jack-in-the-pulpit, and the trillions in yellow, wine, red, white and pink were all about the ground.  The native florida flame azalea shrub with its deep orange blossoms added intense color in the green forest.  The tulip poplar trees shot 100 feet into the sky providing a full canopy of cooling shade.  My destination was the lowland ponds.  I wasn’t sure how it could be any prettier and yet when I arrived it was wonderful....   Continue Reading

Nemours, French & Fabulous

Nemours Mansion and Gardens is Alfred duPont’s tribute to his family’s French Heritage.  In 1909 he built a 102 room mansion in the late-18th-century French style.  The mansion is said to be based upon “Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon at the Chateau de Versailles.”  I toured the mansion and it was lavish and lovely.  The garden surrounding the house is said to be the largest formal French garden in North America.  It is  grand,  symmetrical and designed to impress. ...   Continue Reading

The Biltmore, NC & The Biltmore, AZ

Fantasy Gardens

The July heat storms in and drives me inside.  Putting away my gardening gloves it is time to engage in some fantasy gardening.   I imagine a garden where the plants stay in optimum health; the blooms unfold in predictable order of color and quality assured by a perfect feeding schedule and ideal watering.  Such a garden is always orderly, where any storm damage is minimized and cleared promptly by industrious garden gnomes.  Yes, a fantasy I realize and yet since children may escape the day-to-day world by visiting a magic kingdom why can’t a gardener escape to a magic garden?...   Continue Reading