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.
(Update: Looking for the 2019 Flower Show? I have you covered!)
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 the members of the pack had a lot of fun. Here are some ideas for a Washington, DC dog-friendly day trip!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.