Hershey Gardens: Sweet PA Botanical Garden

Travel

Spring flowers brighten the landscape at Hershey Gardens.

It is undoubtedly the chocolate and the amusement park that usually draws visitors to Hershey, Pennsylvania. And who could blame them? But, if you’re looking for more fun things to do in Hershey, Hershey Gardens is a charming and relaxing way to spend several hours. It goes without saying that the gardens are sugar-free and thrilling in a much more low-key way.

The 23-acre botanical garden and arboretum are modest but just the right size to comfortably see in a single visit. And the magic of gardens is that they are always changing: there’s never a bad time of the year to visit as each season brings something special.

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Post by Corinne. Originally published June 28, 2021. Last updated June 28, 2021.

Philadelphia Flower Show 2021 Heads Outdoors

Travel

The FDR Gazebo welcomes visitors to the Philadelphia Flower Show 2021.

Last year’s Flower Show in 2020 was held on the verge of the pandemic. Despite that, it was still one of the best in years. For a while, it seemed questionable whether there would be a Philadelphia Flower Show 2021. But, oh, what a difference a year makes — and those vaccines aren’t half bad, either. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) has truly embraced the challenges in front of them with the Philadelphia Flower Show 2021. For the first time in the show’s nearly 200 year history, it is being held outdoors. And that’s not all that’s different.

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Post by Corinne. Originally published June 7, 2021. Last updated June 7, 2021.

Philadelphia Flower Show 2021 Preview

Travel

Will Philadelphia Flower Show 2021 live up to the hype? Here's what you can expect, what I'm anticipating, and how to plan your visit.

In any normal year, the Philadelphia Flower Show is a sure sign that spring is coming. But, as we all know: things are a little different this year. But don’t fret, you will still be able to attend this inspiring East Coast tradition in 2021. Forget Memorial Day, the unofficial kickoff to summer will be the Philadelphia Flower Show 2021. Titled “Habitat: Nature‚Äôs Masterpiece” and running from June 5th through the 13th, it will be held outdoors for the first time in its 193 year history.

But with all these changes, the expectations are sky-high for the flower and plant festival. Will the Flower Show live up to the hype? I’ll be attending the Flower Show and will share a follow-up. But until then, here are all the details of what you can expect, what I’m anticipating, and how to plan your visit.

(Update: The outdoor venue really added a lot of new energy to the show, although it still needs some additional tweaks. Read more in my full review.)

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Post by Corinne. Originally published May 31, 2021. Last updated June 7, 2021.

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.

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Post by Corinne. Originally published June 8, 2018. Last updated April 2, 2021.

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!)

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Post by Corinne. Originally published March 9, 2018. Last updated April 2, 2021.

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 the members of the pack had a lot of fun. Here are some ideas for a Washington, DC dog-friendly day trip!

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Post by Corinne. Originally published October 11, 2017. Last updated April 2, 2021.

Munich Botanical Garden’s Natural Beauty

Travel

The Munich Botanical Garden sits in western Munich.

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 surprising because the two attractions are neighbors. The garden is only a short walk along a gravel path north of the palace park with only a quiet wooded area separating them.

The nearly 53-acre Munich Botanical Garden features many different kinds of 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 being lost for a while. It only took a single visit for me to realize this is a special spot in the city.

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Post by Corinne. Originally published August 30, 2017. Last updated April 2, 2021.

Nemours Mansion & Gardens Has French Style

Travel

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.

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Post by Corinne. Originally published July 5, 2017. Last updated April 2, 2021.

Going Dutch: Philadelphia Flower Show 2017

Travel

philadelphia flower show 2017 holland flowering the world

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!)
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Post by Corinne. Originally published March 14, 2017. Last updated April 2, 2021.

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.

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Post by Corinne. Originally published March 6, 2017. Last updated April 2, 2021.

Bringing Beautiful Hydroponic Tulips to Bloom

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, 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.

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Post by Corinne. Originally published February 17, 2017. Last updated April 2, 2021.

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!

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Post by Corinne. Originally published February 9, 2017. Last updated April 2, 2021.