It’s not that I’m on a weeding strike, but really my garden needs attention every day or it starts to go kind of nuts, and that just feels like too much weeding to me, especially when I find it mostly nauseating in this heat. Much better to go look at someone else’s garden.
So, I paid a visit to Longwood Gardens, somewhere I go as often as I can. My favorite times to visit Longwood by myself are when it is cold and rainy or when the heat is so heavy it almost feels like it will crush you, because then I will find myself truly almost alone. It feels beautiful and secret, because the garden is not popular on those days.
Even though I went by myself, today was neither of those kinds of days, but a pretty and sunny summer day with a high temperature that felt surprisingly unoppressive considering the ridiculous weather we’ve had lately in the Mid-Atlantic. Almost as if it was a mistake. I expect tomorrow will be 200 degrees to make up for it.
Anyway, Longwood Gardens is grand. Breathtaking. Overwhelming. Gorgeous. It is a thing to see, and if you’re ever in the area I recommend you do. There are spectacular views everywhere you look, and I think it’s a great time.
Unfortunately, I’ve never in my life successfully captured a spectacular view, but that didn’t stop me trying and what the hell, let’s see what we’ve got:
This is the conservatory. This is one small piece of the conservatory. The website says it covers 4.5 acres. It is huge, and full of beautiful and amazing things. Maybe one day I’ll be able to show you them, but today I have only a teeny, tiny portion because, I don’t know, I didn’t want to overwhelm you, I guess.
So, the conservatory was built in 1919. The window frames aren’t grey, they have this patina, can you see it? Beautiful. Today they were open to let in the air.
Let’s go in, shall we? Perhaps via this doorway. (Can you believe the doorway?)
Didn’t you say you needed to use the restroom? Heading in that direction, then.
Here they are! Pick a door. They go waaay back, with a green wall on both sides extending the whole way, as well, walls of living plants around you as you choose which private room you’d like to use. And tiny lizards. They are in the wall. Please don’t say you’re afraid of lizards, because they’re very small and harmless and you probably won’t see one if you’re afraid of them; they can tell.
Very good, moving right along. Can you see there are steps in the foreground of the photo, they’re covered in ivy. Then you have this flooded area which provides humidity to the tropical plants. At the far end of the shallow pool is a stage with more trailing things trailing down over it and into the water. For certain events, this pool is drained and seating is set up. This is where I sat when I saw the Venice Baroque Orchestra play a couple years ago. It was a perfect night.
Here are grapefruit trees, growing the grapefruits Victory Brewing Co. used in the beer they made especially for Longwood this year. They called it Grapefruit Solstice and my husband and I thought it was delicious. It’s hard to go wrong with Victory.
Here’s a view of the kind of front room of the conservatory. Those windows! The plantings in this room change seasonally, and I always like to take a look and see what’s changed.
Here is the lily pad garden outside: (1) Men working on the lilies (2) Smallish variety (3) A quite large variety (4) A huge variety, with my toes for size reference.
Leaving the conservatory, and taking to the outside pathways now.
I am such a dork–this is a double umbel (foreground and background). Ha ha ha.
The water garden. I did it nothing like justice.
In a pond, trees with nobbly knees. See them, down near the water?
You all, see how beautifully this little brick outbuilding looks? Here is what’s inside: a water fountain. You can get a drink. Everything is like that; it’s all so lovely.
A planting as you walk into one of the garden areas. These are all potted; they change seasonally. These pots, in particular, get me excited about what new things I’m going to find planted in the flower gardens for the season.
All this walking brought to you by toes painted in Chanel Cinema. Lovely, milky red. Unavailable now, I’m sorry to say, but don’t be too sad: it was the old formulation, which means it’ll be chipping off momentarily. Still, so pretty. A very good red.
That’s all for now. I’m sure I’ll do this again.