Out near Chadd’s Ford, PA – in Kennett Square, PA, actually – is a beautiful garden/park/conservatory called Longwood Gardens. It was established by the very wealthy duPont family (yes, that duPont family). From the Longwood Gardens history info:
At the age of 36, Mr. du Pont … began creating what would become Longwood Gardens. He followed no grand plan; rather, he built the gardens piecemeal, beginning with the 600-foot-long Flower Garden Walk in 1907. Although his later gardens would draw heavily on Italian and French forms, this early effort reflected what he termed an “old-fashioned” influence, with nostalgic cottage-garden flowers, exuberant shrubs, rose-laden trellises, and even a shiny gazing ball. The scale was grand, the accessories quaint.
I can appreciate that. His piecemeal beginnings worked out pretty well. I had the opportunity to visit the gardens a couple of weeks ago (yes, in the dead of winter) and check out some tree houses they have on exhibit outdoors, but also visited the conservatory where they have a banana room* (yes) and orchids. If you’re within a few hours driving distance, you should go. You can also hit up the Brandywine River Museum (you can learn about how the Wyeth family was full of ridiculously talented people – N.C., Andrew, Jamie – and how they befriended and married even more ridiculously talented people – it’s pretty awesome) and there’s even a wine trail.
The Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood started the week after I went, but I’m going back to check it out and take some more pictures of my favorite flower. Because a new (to me) macro lens makes everything fun!
* Did you know the banana isn’t a tree? It’s the world’s biggest herbaceous plant. The New Yorker published a story called “We Have No Bananas” a few weeks ago–about a virus that’s destroying the world’s banana population. They mentioned this interesting fact (the herb thing) and the research that’s going in to creating a banana that’s resistant to the virus and still looks and tastes and feels like a banana. It’s not as easy as you might imagine. We’ve been lulled into a false sense of “banana-ness” by the one breed we all eat and know as “the banana” — the Cavendish variety.
Also, I don’t really care. I don’t even like bananas, unless they’re buried deep within a banana nut bread. This was just interesting trivia. The end.