Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Longwood Gardens: The Accidental Tourist, part two

Last week's floral post was all about the flowers at Longwood Gardens.  Truth be told, I think Longwood Gardens should consider a daily blog be included on their website because there is so much to see every day of each season, they'd never run out of original content.   There's always the argument of why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free, but there is no comparison between looking at a photograph and experiencing the gardens in their full splendor - so there's really no risk of losing visitors.  Visitors who love gardening would only be more inspired to visit and happy to see what they miss in between visits.  Honestly, people all over the world would enjoy a daily dose of Longwood.  Speaking of blogs, today's post will be more about structure than bloom, but - wait - don't be sad - there are blooms everywhere and the structures will blow your mind - my pictures definitely won't do them justice, but they will give you a taste of what you'd see for yourself if you decide to go visit.

Longwood Gardens 
 The photo above is of the whispering bench, which is surrounded by these lovely clipped hedge walkways leading to Pierce's Woods.  Sit on one end of the curve, have a friend sit at the other end of the bench, cup your hands and whisper your secret into your hands and towards the center of the bench and your friend will feel like you are whispering in their ear!!

Longwood Gardens: Italian Water Garden
I took three photos here at the Italian Water Garden - 
trying to show you how the fountains do their thing - 
above is the start...

Longwood Gardens: Italian Water Garden

here it is midway....

Longwood Gardens: Italian Water Garden

and here is full height!

Longwood Gardens:  Large Lake

 The Italian Water Garden fountains are "fed" by the "Large Lake (see above) via the coolest set of "water steps"....

Longwood Gardens:  Start of Water Steps

 Here is the beginning of the water steps...

Longwood Gardens: Water Steps

 There is a walking bridge that crosses over the water steps as they cascade into the fountain reservoir 

Longwood Gardens: Water Steps

...and this is a shot of the reservoir with the fountains in the background

Longwood Gardens: Entrance to Treehouse

Upon leaving the Italian Water Garden, we walked thru Pierce's Park, lingered at a long view of the Meadows (sorry, we were too busy talking to take pictures...) when we found ourselves at this beautiful gate leading to every boy's fantasy tree house!!

Longwood Gardens: Birdhouse Treehouse
 I don't know a boy in my family that wouldn't have considered abandoning the comfort of a pantry full of pbnj for a summer of living in this treehouse!

Longwood Gardens: Birdhouse Treehouse

See that spot of red up there - that's a boy who was debating the virtues of home versus the life of a runaway explorer in the vast expanse that is Longwood - this treehouse would be the perfect hideout!

Longwood Gardens:  Outside the Conservatory

 When my husband and I decided to check out the Memorial Day fireworks at Longwood, we both agreed that we were really about the gardens and that the conservatory was probably not where we'd spend a lot of time - we are "garden" people, not "houseplant" people we agreed - so, when at 8:30pm (fireworks starting at 9:15) we found ourselves properly nourished, but running out of daylight we decided to poke our heads in the conservatory to "kill time" until the fireworks started.... for those of you who have been to the conservatory, you know just how idiotic the beginning of this paragraph sounds - to the rest or you who  haven't been, get ready for this weeks shameful admission - we. were. idiots.

Longwood Gardens: Rose House
 We haplessly jumped into the conservatory at a random side door, which just happened to lead to the "rose house".  the scent and the sights were overwhelming - note: at this point my camera battery had bit the dust, so these photos were taken with my ipad (sorry)....

Longwood Gardens: Rose Garden

 There were the most incredible hibiscus plants flanking either end of the rose house - i missed photographing my favorite violet colored hibiscus because I was so intrigued by the roses, but let me tell you, these hibiscus were every bit as impressive as the roses - they were huge!

Longwood Gardens: Rose Garden

 The hibiscus were every bit as impressive as they would be in their native tropical habitat - again, here's my husband's meaty paw for perspective...

Longwood Gardens: Tropical Terrace

The rose house gave way via the hibiscus to the Tropical Terrace.  Being a native northeasterner, tropical plants usually leave me uninspired, but the foliage colors and lushness (is that a word?) were so impressive, I have to admit I am more of a fan than I was prior to walking into this house...

Longwood Gardens: Banana House

 Did you know that banana plants are actually grass - not trees??  We didn't - these plants were enormous - or as my husband likes to say - ginormous!! 

Longwood Gardens: Orchid House

 The banana house led to my most unexpected pleasure of day in terms of color combinations - again, i've looked at orchids mostly as the "hothouse" flowers that they are - and not in the good way.  This orchid house struck me in so many ways - the color, the lighting, the architecture and the most impressive quality of the plant materials.  Just viewing this room, I felt transported to an earlier era, when train station masters had quiet hobbies like cultivating their own roses and naming them after their favorite passengers.... 

Longwood Gardens: Orchid House

 Look at the ornamental iron that curls like fern fronds in the background...

Longwood Gardens: Orchid House

 The photo above is the photo that, while driving home in the cozy darkness, I could not stop looking at - just look at those colors and the lighting and the ornamental iron. L.O.V.E. I.T......

Longwood Gardens: Orchid House

 Once again, my husband, the human yardstick poses for perspective - look at the display of orchids!! (not to mention the cute guy showing one of his best sides - i said ONE of....!)

Longwood Gardens: Orchid House

Seriously, I could not stop taking pictures in the orchid house!!

Longwood Gardens: Orchid House

 We joked that, given the delicate nature of orchids and ferns, that there was probably a superhero called Orchidman, who worked his superpowers to keep all of these orchids constantly blooming - I can't keep one in bloom in the steamy tropics of our bathroom - who IS this guy, Orchidman??

Longwood Gardens: Orchid House

 I know, enough, but look at those colors?!!! 

Longwood Gardens: Palm House

 We were so impressed by the Orchid House that we talked straight thru the Mediterranean House (we'll just have to go back to take another look...!!), when we landed in the Palm House - see above - it was too dark for any great pictures with an ipad, but it was the COOLEST place to be as darkness took over the sky - these palms were so huge that it felt like a dinosaur might just sneak up behind you looking for a snack!!

Longwood Gardens: Waterlily Garden

Have you ever had a moment in your life, when you think to yourself, this is not an accident that i am in this spot at this moment in time?  Here's one of those moments for me.  When I walked out onto the courtyard of the conservatory, the sky was clear, the air was cool and the lighting on the lilyponds was just becoming apparent.  At that moment, I thought, this is the true definition of "divine" - in the religious sense, not just the overused adjective sense.  I felt as though I had just walked onto a movie set and that I should look down to see if I was suddenly dressed in a ballgown... 

Longwood Gardens: Lilypond

 I couldn't get a picture to do the waterlilies or the perfectly placed lighting justice.  You need to see it for yourself - and seriously - try to time your viewing of the lilyponds for night time.  It is breathtaking. 

Longwood Gardens: Main Conservatory

This was one of the interior walkways in the main conservatory.  We were about to miss the start of the fireworks, but I had to stop to photograph the repeating standards - they were surrounded by the most incredible begonias and fushia!! 

Longwood Gardens: Main Conservatory

 Close up of the frilly standards awesomeness!!

Longwood Gardens: Main Conservatory

Close up of the fushia and the begonias!!

And for a final thrill - a bit of fireworks to send you happily on your way!!

As I said at the start, Longwood should develop a daily blog, it wouldn't be a waste of time.  There are so many things we didn't photograph, or even see for that matter.  In order for us to show you the rest of Longwood, we need to go back with a fresh camera battery, and some serious walking shoes, but, honestly, you need to just go see it for yourself - you can thank me later....

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