Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Garden Visit: Two Days in One Week at Longwood Gardens

Last week was my lucky week: I had both a concert and a class at Longwood Gardens. This gave me two opportunities to explore their gardens in peak spring bloom.

The concert was originally supposed to be last October. I had gotten tickets to see pianist AndrĂ© Watts for my mom’s birthday. He’s my mom’s favorite pianist so we try to get tickets to see him when he is in the area. We had only seen him play at the Kimmel Center with the Philadelphia Orchestra before, not on his own and in such a lovely setting, so we were looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the October concert was postponed due to an injury. It was rescheduled for January. Well, we all know what January was like – lots of snow, so it was postponed yet again until May. It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. This way we got to walk around and see the gardens and conservatory a bit before the concert. It was after official visiting hours, so it was a rare opportunity to see some of it without a bunch of other people around. (Some of these photos were taken with my iPad and not my fancy camera.)

The Flower Walk is always the highlight of their spring display. 

Half of the Flower Walk was in cool pinks and purples and the other half was in hot reds, yellows and oranges.

The Square Fountain area was full of brightly colored pansies and white foxglove.

The highlights of the Main Conservatory were these lavender hydrangeas with giant flowers and these pink Dr. Seuss-like Tower-of-Jewels (Echium wildpretii) from the Canary Islands.

The single-colored hanging hydrangea planters in the Acacia Passage were really pretty.  These used wire baskets and planted them all around the basket so that they end up looking like big, puffy flower balls.

We have been to indoor concerts at Longwood before, but they were in the Ballroom. This was a special treat because the concert was in the Exhibition Hall in the conservatory. I had been lucky enough to get second row seats. What a lovely setting for a piano concert.

On Saturday, I attended a Vertical Gardening class (much more about this awesome class in a post to come!). I made sure to get out to see the Idea Gardens because I heard they had masses of tulips there. Lots of tulips, indeed.

So many different varieties and colors and all in full bloom.

I couldn’t pick a favorite even if I tried (although the one above probably comes close).

The following four pictures, if pieced together, would form one big panoramic shot.

I really got lucky with the weather on both Thursday night and when I was there on Saturday morning. It was crowded on Saturday, though, due to it being Mother’s Day weekend. A fire alarm went off in the conservatory when I was there! Imagine having to evacuate tons of visitors Mother’s Day weekend! It was a very calm and organized evacuation and no fire to speak of, thankfully. It did make for an exciting day, though.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I used to not really like Longwood Gardens. It bothered me how manicured and perfect everything was all the time. Now I have learned to appreciate how much work goes into making it look that way every day and find it truly remarkable. Even though it’s about an hour and a half drive for me, I’m lucky to have such a large, gorgeous garden nearby. And one that offers such great classes, too – more about that later!

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