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Posts Tagged ‘longwood gardens’

Gardens Photo Challenge 2015

Dad's oak tree garden

Garden? Challenge? What? This photo is among my favorites because it shows my dad’s garden in spring. My dad is obsessed with trees and he gathered acorns in autumn of 2014. He stored the acorns in his refrigerator and planted them in his garden in spring of 2015. During one of my visits, I found about a dozen young oak trees had sprouted and my dad had potted several to plant at the farm where we’d raised horses and bees when I was a kid. My dad was 95 years old and starting oak trees, presumably to harvest for lumber in about 60 years.

Early this year while heavily drugged with painkillers after major surgery, I gave myself 10 photo challenges and delivered on four of them:

Waterscapes
Landscapes
Blossoms
Food

The distractions from chemotherapy and from gardening season getting underway derailed my effort to post the remaining six challenges. However, after having reviewed all my photos from 2015 and having selected candidates for each challenge, it would be wasteful not to publish. So, here are seven garden photos I feel are kind of special. Captions explain why.

Bren's pond garden

I travelled west twice last year and got to visit with one of my favorite gardening buddies, Bren Haas. Among the many beautiful garden features she manages is a pond across the drive from her house. The rocks, lily pads, and snake grass at one end of the pond beckoned me to pull up a chair and sit with a cold drink—it was a beautiful scene.

Lincoln Park in Columbus, Ohio

During my visit to Cultivate ’15 (a hort industry conference in Columbus, Ohio), I left the convention center and “discovered” Lincoln Park. The park includes some excellent gardens and a conservatory which was closed by the time I reached it. I captured many photos in the park and particularly like this one which reveals the conservatory almost as an afterthought for the lush foliage in one of the park’s large plantings. I’d planned to tour the conservatory this year during Cultivate ’16, but my pancreas had other ideas.

Longwood Gardens trial plot

From hundreds of photos of gorgeous spaces at Longwood Gardens, this “trial garden” spoke to me. Gardeners assemble these patches to try out plant combinations of varied colors and textures and they ask visitors to identify favorites. Later, the most-liked combinations might appear in a show garden elsewhere on the property. I love purple, and apparently even more when it rises above clouds of silver-green.

Longwood Gardens water garden

Since we’re already at Longwood Gardens, here’s one of my all-time favorite gardens. There’s a courtyard you reach by walking through Longwood’s huge conservatory. The courtyard contains several water gardens and when I was there, water platters painted an other-worldly landscape. I had never seen a water platter in person, and I was instantly smitten.

Rock garden at the Cityslipper ranch

Back at the Cityslipper ranch, I captured a wet moment in my new rock garden. I was moistening soil with the hose on a sunny day when I snapped this photo looking vaguely toward the sun. The rock garden was a bit of a mess with young succulents and weeds aplenty, but I love the photo. This year, many spaces have filled with aggressively spreading stonecrop. I enjoy lingering, plucking weeds, and pinching back the fastest spreading succulents to preserve space to grow into for the slow growers.

Rock steps at Chanticleer Garden

One of the most sublime visions I’ve experienced: a stone stairway at Chanticleer garden. If you can fit only one public garden into your remaining life’s plan, visit Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens each of which is about 30 minutes west of Philadelphia. Did I say “only one?” If you truly can fit only one garden into your life’s plan, you’re not trying hard enough.

 
Small Kitchen Garden – Gardens Photo Challenge, 2015

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day at Longwood Gardens

Zinnia blossom in the Longwood Gardens trial gardens

Zinnias grew in several places at Longwood Gardens. This variety was common. I captured the photo in a trial garden among many where visitors vote for their favorite plant combinations. In the right light, you can see a purple tinge on the inside ends of the petals. If I grew zinnias, I’d track down this variety; it’s eye-catching.

I’m cheating a lot this month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I’m posting flowers, but I’m not posting my flowers.

My wife and I recently spent the day at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. We toured just about every venue there, and I captured at least ten photographs (posted about the Meadow Garden here).

A whole bunch of my photos are closeups of blossoms. I didn’t take notes, so I can’t tell you much about the plants. Some are easy for a layperson to identify, others might challenge well-trained horticulturists. Seriously: I took no notes. If you see any blossoms here you like, maybe they’ll motivate you to visit Longwood Gardens.

Purple flower spike in the Longwood Gardens Meadow Garden

Along the path through Longwood Gardens’ Meadow Garden, we saw several spikes of purple wispy blossoms. This one had drawn attention from a butterfly that was a bit camera shy. Everywhere in the meadow garden was alive with insects of many varieties.

Fruit cluster and flower in a student garden at Longwood Gardens

A cluster of fruit, sporting a single blossom, grew in one of the “Student Gardens” at Longwood Gardens. There are four such plots, each created by a student of the institution (Longwood trains future horticulturists).

Trumpet flower at Longwood Gardens

This trumpet flower was among several growing along the Flower Garden Walk at Longwood Gardens.

Quite likely a dahlia at Longwood Gardens

I remember enjoying a blossom along the Flower Garden Walk, leaning down to read the plant marker, and marveling that I’d been admiring a dahlia; it didn’t vaguely resemble any dahlia I’d seen. This photo might show the blossom, but if you know better please provide insight in a comment.

Dahlia at Longwood Gardens

No doubt this is a dahlia. There was a patch of these along the Flower Garden Walk. I probably took ten photos of these alone.

Purple and pretty on the Flower Garden Walk at Longwood Gardens

Not going to guess about this one. It was purple and pretty along the Flower Garden Walk.

Gorgeous on the Flower Garden Walk at Longwood Gardens

Can’t imagine why I didn’t take notes about this one. The plants grew densely and the flowers were stunning. I’ll probably track down the proper ID some day… I hope they turn out to be perennial in hardiness zone 5.

In the Palm House at Longwood Gardens

The Palm House inside the Longwood Gardens conservatory offered a few exotic blossoms. Several clusters of this type peaked out from among the palms.

A most exotic tree at Longwood Gardens

The name of the tree sporting these otherworldly pink blossoms (I assume they’re blossoms) was so intuitive, I knew I’d remember it later… but I don’t. There were two of these trees in the conservatory, and both displayed more pink flower snakes than they did foliage.

Yellow Hibiscus in the Longwood Gardens conservatory

Dazzling hibiscus blossoms drew attention inside the conservatory. By the time we were there, light was fading so the yellow blooms especially popped against the darker, poorly lit background.

Purple Hibiscus in the Longwood Gardens conservatory

Blossoms of a particular hibiscus in the conservatory were sublime… but then I’m a sucker for purple.

Yellow and pink cannas in the Longwood Gardens conservatory

Longwood Gardens has a pipe organ that plays into the ballroom of the conservatory. Just outside the ballroom, there was a stand of yellow and pink blossoms I’m quite certain were cannas. I like!

 
Small Kitchen Garden – Longwood Gardens: Meadow & Green Roofs

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Longwood Gardens: Meadow & Green Roofs

Meadow Garden at Longwood Gardens

Many paths wind in and around Longwood’s Meadow Garden. One crosses a curved, two-level bridge that encourages you to tarry.

My wife suggested we vacation at Longwood Gardens. It was a short trip: Thursday to travel there and enjoy the garden, and Friday to explore the Kennett Square area and travel home.

We killed it. The garden opened at 9AM and, with a “Nightscape” ticket, we could stay until 11PM. Between the two of us we had seen virtually nothing of Longwood. We decided to arrive as the doors opened. The gatekeeper told us it was the earliest anyone had arrived at the garden on a Nightscape ticket.

Nightscape? What’s that?

Nightscape is a laser light show, bits of which you view in different of the many gardens at Longwood. At each venue you hear music, and patterns of light dance on foliage or other garden features.

You can take a relaxed stroll through the gardens after dark, following dimly-lighted paths with docents ready at many intersections to point the way. The “Beer Garden” remains open in a fairly central location where you can buy snacks, beer, and wine.

Nightscape had very much the feeling of a large party with well-mannered revelers. On a mildly warm summer night, it was a very pleasant garden walk.

During a long day of walking, excessive heat, hydrating, violent thunderstorms, eating, and marveling at the history and beauty of Longwood Gardens, we explored nearly every accessible area of the facility. Photos in this post are from the Meadow Garden—a very new feature at Longwood.

Milkweed in the Meadow Garden at Longwood Gardens

Heavily planted with milkweed, the Meadow Garden is a masterpiece of textures. The milkweed alone produced unexpected patterns that changed from area-to-area as I scanned the landscape. Here’s hoping the meadow retains much of its character; it could become an important breeding ground for monarch butterflies.

Birdhouse with green roof at Longwood Gardens

Bird houses in the Meadow Garden at Longwood Gardens had green roofs! A docent explained that Longwood is collecting data to determine whether birds prefer homes with green roofs rather than bare-roofed ones.

Webb farmhouse at Longwood Gardens

The Webbs lived in a farmhouse at the back end of what is now Longwood’s Meadow Garden. You can walk up to the house to learn about its history, but we decided to save that for another day.

 
Small Kitchen Garden – Longwood Gardens: Meadow & Green Roofs

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