I’ve found The Secret Garden and it’s Mt. Cuba Center in Hockessin, Delaware. The one-time private estate is now a public garden and research center with nearly 600 acres of managed natural lands and another almost two dozen acres of gardens. I recently had the chance to visit Mt. Cuba Center with my husband and it was even more lovely than we had expected.
You know spring is near when the Philadelphia Flower Show rolls into town. Each year the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) hosts the wildly popular show downtown at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For 2018, the show is tackling the theme of water. This precious and limited resource is highlighted in some interesting and unexpected ways. But, as the Philadelphia Flower Show demonstrates this year, conserving water doesn’t mean you have to forgo a beautiful garden.
In recent years, the theme for the Flower Show has made things a bit difficult for the exhibitions. “The Movies” was inexplicably interpreted as Disney princesses. The National Park Service, while beautiful, wasn’t very floral. Simply put: people want to see flowers. They want to see colors. They want to anticipate spring. And if ten acres of blooming trees and flowers don’t get you in the mood for spring, then you’re just not trying.
How beautiful are these tulips that my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day? However, you might notice that those aren’t cut flowers. They’re tulips with bulbs still intact and sitting in water! These tulips are hydroponic.
After my marveling over the air-grown, substrate-less epiphyte orchids at Longwood Gardens, it’s probably not too surprising that I’m a fan of hydroponic plants, too. Years ago, my husband and I used styrofoam coolers to try and grow hydroponic lettuce. We weren’t terribly successful but it’s a method of growing that has continued to intrigue me.
These tulips, from a company called Bloomaker, seem pretty ordinary. You can purchase them from the grocery store. But the bulbs are specially prepared for hydroponic growth. That means the bulbs must be very high quality and disease-free for dirtless growing.
When I was growing up, I vaguely recall that once a year my grandmother, who lived with us would meet up with her friends and they’d ride into city for the Philadelphia Flower Show. I’ve really never had much interest in the show until I saw photos from last year’s show. It was more than just a few flowers assembled together. It was nature. It was art. It was spring. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to last year’s show but I promised myself I wouldn’t miss this year’s show. Continue reading →