This Spring has been absolutely delightful in the northeast, with cool temps (but no sudden frosts!), and April showers bringing May flowers, so Miss Rosie and I have been garden hopping!
GARDEN # 1
One fine day in April, Miss Rosie, Mr. Fun and I stopped at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. The tulips were in full bloom, and most of the population of the states of PA, NJ and DE were there with us to see the colors! You can see Miss Rosie (above) hanging out with the columbines. I was speechless at the variety of colors!
The beautiful display continued in the tulip beds. Pick a color or type of tulip, and you will find it here.
How did they get all the varieties to bloom together??
Poppies, in this brilliant shade of orange, lined one of the water gardens.
The famous fountains are reopening this summer after a few years of renovations! They were being tested, and every once in a while we all rushed to the topiary garden or to the patio outside the conservatory to see them.
Meanwhile, inside the conservatory:
I’m only giving you a little taste because I’m going to share more of this amazing garden soon. I wonder where I can get a light fixture like this??
We are going back in July to see the full fountain show, and to see what is blooming ~~ maybe the roses ~~ and Miss Rosie is absolutely trembling in anticipation!!! 🙂
GARDEN # 2
Often the gardens we visit also share land with a beautiful home, such as the gardens and mansion at Winterthur in Delaware. Winterthur was once an actual home of Henry duPont and his ancestors. Mr. DuPont was a passionate collector of American decorative arts and an avid gardener, and now the treasure trove is available for us all to enjoy.
Miss Rosie and I had a chance to visit Winterthur to attend a two day Ceramics Conference on Chinese Export and Staffordshire Porcelain. We loved every minute of it. It was hands-on, and I didn’t realize just how much access we would have to the ceramics until I was holding this porcelain Hong Bowl (chinese c. 1780) in my own hands. Yes that’s really me holding it, and believe me, every time I picked up my cell phone to snap a photo I worried about dropping something. For two full days we examined pieces like these and far older and more valuable items, learning to distinguish between different materials and countries of origin. I still know next to nothing, and the more I learn the more I realize how little I know. It was fascinating!
Then Mr. Fun popped down on the train and we explored the gardens. Mr. Fun found this great view of the house from one of the lower formal gardens, and Miss Rosie sat down next to the sundial for her photo.
Meanwhile, I was checking out the swimming pool, but it was too cold and rainy to try the water.
I love this unusual steed!
The garden ornaments and iron work alone could take a day or more to see. One of my favorite gates:
I do have this very planter! Mine is a casting of an antique piece which I believe is on an estate in NY, and I think this one is a casting also. It feels exactly the same as mine and has the same unusual little bits here and there on it. As soon as I came home from this trip I added alyssum and pansies to the evergreens I had planted in it for the winter. And see those large circles in the stone wall? I’ll give you a minute to guess what they are.
Inside the circles, behind more elaborate iron work, are hidden the speakers for the pool. Henry duPont had classical music broadcast over his entire estate, including on the golf greens, (yes, there was even a golf course here!!) where he could listen while practicing his swing every morning.
GARDEN # 3
It’s time for Trade Secrets again! Every May, Bunny Williams and three other generous homeowners in the corner of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York open their magnificent gardens for the benefit of Women’s Support Services. Here, Mr. Fun, Miss Rosie, and a ferocious lion pose on Bunny Williams’ lawn.
This could really be Gardens # 3, 4, 5 and 6, because Trade Secrets takes us to four gardens, but I’m just giving you a glimpse here of Bunny’s tulips (!!) and two of the others. I have a post coming for you with more details.
Put this event on your calendar for next year! May 19-20, 2018
GARDEN # 4
Do you recognize this National Historic Site? We were visiting friends in Washington, DC, and they suggested a quick trip up to Harpers Ferry to see the sites and the rivers. You can read about Harpers Ferry and its significance during the Civil War here. The mighty Potomac and Shenadoah Rivers were churning up mud, looking brown, cold and dangerous. High above the rivers, on this point of land, there is a secret garden and flagpole commemorating the events. The roses were in bloom and I was hoping to visit, but as the skies opened yet again, Mr. Fun made a mad dash to save Miss Rosie from an unwanted shower!!
After our escape Mr. Fun found this house for me. As you may know we are thinking about our next move, and he thought he had the answer. No dear, I said, where would I put my dishes??
GARDEN # 5
Luckily Mr. Fun came to his senses and realized that something like this is much more practical.
We have just returned from a wonderful trip to Mount Vernon, where I had the amazing honor of laying a wreath at the grave of George and Martha Washington, and led the crowd in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I am happy to report that all the assembled tourists took part, I like to think because they wanted to do so and not because I told them to and I used my old teacher voice … 🙂 Mr. Fun read Washington’s own favorite prayer for his beloved country, and believe me, it was an experience I will never forget. After we dried my tears we had a private tour of the secret areas of the mansion, including the second floor and the basement.
As you can see, the house is not white but sand colored, since it is actually sand over wood! The gardens were gorgeous.
I think the color combinations were my favorite of all the gardens I have visited this Spring.
I found inspiration everywhere on this estate, walking through the home of our first president, holding the handrail of his staircase, reading his words in the new museum, and walking through the gardens which are still laid out and cultivated according to his plans and with plants he used.
The same Potomac which runs so muddily past Harpers Ferry flows past Mount Vernon. On the day we were there it was quite gray, but I have seen it looking blue and sparkling.
Of course Miss Rosie joined us, and wanted to pose too. Luckily Mr. Fun is very confident and is not intimidated by my love for all things George.
I am also preparing a post of our trip to Mount Vernon! I know you will love the estate!! As you can see I can’t possibly include everything in these Traveling Tote posts or they would go on forever! I can talk non-stop, you know!
Please visit the other members of our expanding Traveling Tote Tribe, or find yourself a tote and join us!
And be sure to visit Rita at Panoply for a very special giveaway!
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Katie with Miss Daisy @ Preppy Empty Nester
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ “Pandora’s Box”
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
We hope you have enjoyed the gardens! Miss Rosie would love to hear from you!
Which garden is your favorite? Have you been to any of these or do you have one I must see?
and Miss Rosie 🙂
joining the fun at the fabulous new garden party GARDENS GALORE with Pam at Everyday Living!!
and our charming Michael Lee at Rattlebridge Farm