Visiting Mt. Cuba Center Native Plant Botanical Garden

Travel

Gazebo overlooking a pond at Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware.

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.

Continue reading

6 Comments
Post by . Originally published June 8, 2018. Last updated June 26, 2018.

Philadelphia Flower Show Explores Wonders of Water

Travel

Tulips on display at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2018.

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.

(Update: Looking for the 2019 Flower Show? I have you covered!)

Continue reading

Washington, DC Dog-Friendly Day Trip

Travel

Dog-friendly day trip to Washington DC at the National Mall with the Washington Monument and the African American Museum of History and Culture.

In many respects, Washington, DC is a traveler’s paradise. The city is full of world-class museums, many of which are free to visit. There’s a large park full of notable monuments to explore. And the architecture and history in the city are difficult to fathom. But traveling to Washington, DC with a dog offers lots of possibilities! Traveling can be difficult but it shouldn’t be because your best friend can’t come along. My husband and I recently took a day trip to DC with George, our mini schnauzer. And all members of the pack had a lot of fun. Here are some ideas for a Washington, DC dog-friendly day trip!

Continue reading

6 Comments
Post by . Originally published October 11, 2017. Last updated May 31, 2019.

Munich Botanical Garden Puts Beautiful Plants On Display

Travel

The Munich Botanical Garden seen through the grass in Germany.

For some reason, despite repeatedly staying at a hotel only a few short blocks from Munich‘s Schloss Nymphenburg, I never made time to visit the Munich Botanical Garden. It’s only a short walk along a gravel path north of the palace park. Only a quiet wooded area separates them. The nearly 53 acre botanical garden features lots of varied gardens as well as a greenhouse of more than an acre. There’s so much to explore that you could get lost in a maze of rhododendrons. Well, “lost.” The Munich Botanical Garden is so pleasant that you likely wouldn’t mind. It only took a single visit for me to realize this is a special spot in the city.

Continue reading

4 Comments
Post by . Originally published August 30, 2017. Last updated July 14, 2018.

Nemours Mansion and Gardens Has French Style

Travel

The Sunken Gardens and Colonnade at Nemours Mansion and Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.

Judging by the photo above of Nemours Mansion and Gardens, where do you think I am? France? Germany? Italy, perhaps? You’d be forgiven for thinking so. But I’m actually in Delaware. That’s right. The First State and the home of tax-free shopping has a magnificent mansion that draws on European influences.

Nemours Mansion and Gardens was the home of Alfred I. du Pont. The massive estate is today open to the public. It’s quite a remarkable home with impressive gardens. In fact, they are the largest formal French gardens in North America. And that’s before you consider that the estate isn’t in Europe and, really, isn’t all that old. It’s a taste of Europe’s royal golden age that is hard to find on this side of the Atlantic.

Continue reading

2 Comments
Post by . Originally published July 5, 2017. Last updated May 18, 2018.

Going Dutch: Philadelphia Flower Show 2017

Travel

The Philadelphia Flower Show is one of the most anticipated events each year in the city. Holland: Flowering the World, is tulips, tulips and more tulips!

The Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) knocked it out of the park this year with the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show. Holland: Flowering the World is a people-pleasing theme. The florists and landscapers from around the region have beautifully executed the theme. If, like me, you love tulips then you simply won’t want to miss this year’s exhibition.

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.

(Update: Looking for Flower Power at the Philadelphia Flower Show 2019? I have you covered!)
Continue reading

7 Comments
Post by . Originally published March 14, 2017. Last updated March 6, 2019.

Must See List: Keukenhof Gardens

Home & Garden, Travel

keukenhof garden tulip park

Imagine a 79 acre park with more than 7 million flower bulbs. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! That park is Keukenhof in the Netherlands and it is one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Every year, the park opens in late March for two months. Visitors flock to see these spectacular flowers. As a tulip lover, a visit to Keukenhof is undoubtedly on my travel bucket list.

Continue reading

6 Comments
Post by . Originally published March 6, 2017. Last updated March 5, 2017.

Hydroponic Tulips

Home & Garden

hydroponic tulips

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, substrateless 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.

Continue reading

1 Comment
Post by . Originally published February 17, 2017. Last updated May 17, 2018.

Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood Gardens

Travel

Purple orchids at Longwood Gardens' Orchid Extravaganza in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

It’s about this time of the year — halfway through winter and halfway to spring — when people start dreaming of warm locations and vacations on bright sandy beaches. But only just recently my fellow Pennsylvanian, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted a further six weeks of winter. However, I have found a loophole! A visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. The horticultural garden in suburban Philadelphia is currently exhibiting more than 4,500 orchids as part of their annual Orchid Extravaganza exhibit. It’s a first taste of spring that really shouldn’t be missed!

Continue reading

8 Comments
Post by . Originally published February 9, 2017. Last updated January 20, 2018.

Christmas at Longwood Gardens

Travel

poinsettias window longwood gardens

As anyone from the greater Philadelphia area will tell you, Longwood Gardens is known for its special Christmas displays. Located just outside of the city near the state line between Pennsylvania and Delaware, Longwood Gardens is more than 1000 acres of gardens which came to real prominence under the ownership and loving eye of Pierre S. du Pont and his wife, Alice. Each year, Longwood Gardens prepares a special Christmas display. A large portion of the famed Christmas display are holiday lights that you can admire as you walk the property. But the extremely popular exhibit requires timed tickets and, from previous experience, I can assure you it’s extremely crowded during the nighttime hours when the lights are aglow. So, instead, I made a late morning journey to visit Longwood Gardens and appreciate the display.
Continue reading

1 Comment
Post by . Originally published December 21, 2015. Last updated June 7, 2016.

Shofuso, Philadelphia’s Hidden Gem

Travel

Roof of the Japanese house at Shofuso in Philadelphia.

Each spring, people flock to Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park for the city’s annual cherry blossom festival. The setting is perfect with countless cherry trees and Shofuso, a traditional Japanese home and garden. But through those warm spring, summer and fall months, you can visit Shofuso even if those famous blossoms are not on display. The house and garden is a special gem you wouldn’t expect to stumble upon within the park. And it’s one you shouldn’t miss either!

Continue reading

1 Comment
Post by . Originally published October 28, 2015. Last updated March 12, 2018.

A Visit to the Elizabethan Gardens

Travel

The Elizabethan Gardens

Earlier this year I failed to make the time to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. It would have been my first time to attend the world’s largest indoor flower show. Then I ended up visiting Winterthur on a raw and rainy day to see the Downton Abbey costume exhibit. It was also early enough in the year that not much was in bloom anyhow. But I made up for them both with my first visit to the Elizabethan Garden in Manteo, North Carolina.
Continue reading