Elkhart, Indiana – July 2018 – Gardens and Public Art

Our destination this day was Elkhart, Indiana – home of a collection of ‘Quilt Gardens’ and ‘Quilt Murals’. But first a quick stop at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.

Hammond is in Lake County, which is a mix of industrial, suburban and farming set along the south shore of Lake Michigan. Their welcome center is built to represent the waves, silos and steel mills of the county.

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The movie A Christmas Story was set in Hammond (although filmed in Cleveland and Toronto). One of the famous scenes is where a little kid is talked into sticking his tongue on a freezing cold flag pole, thus getting stuck. It is recreated here in a statue.

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Once we arrived in Elkhart we saw our first mural.

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As well as the quilt garden. To us the gardens were somewhat of a bust – they are difficult to see because they are too flat to the ground, and just appear as a mix of flowers (albeit nice flowers)

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The entire county did have a collection of decorated elk though.

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We spent an hour at the Wellfield Arboretum, which has a nice collection of sculptures, plants and flowers.

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A steel rodent?

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There were also some water features along with a number of painted ‘sticks’.

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The arboretum was well kept.

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In nearby Middlebury is the ‘World’s Fair Gardens’. These gardens were first presented in the Chicago Century of Progress fair in the 1930s.

They were later moved to Middlebury where they have existed ever since.

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The Middlebury site had a quilt gardens that was easier to see as it was on a small hill.

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Cincinnati – June 2018 – Flowering Competition

One thing is certain, there is competition for everything. On this hot Saturday we found ourselves at the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati for the annual Daylily competition.

But first we checked out the rest of the historic conservatory.

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The building is fairly small for a conservatory, however when it was opened in 1933 it was one of the best in the country. They do make great use of the space they have.

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As with most conservatories, it was very colorful.

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Normally when you go to a conservatory and go into the tropics areas you feel the heat and humidity, although on this day it was nearly 100 F in Cincinnati so it was actually cooler inside than out.

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They had a great variety of plants.

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The Daylily competition was held in the Bonsai room. Normally the bonsai trees are the center of attention, but not this day!

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There was a separate competition for the centerpieces.

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The colors were very vivid, with many reds and oranges not normally seen on daylillies.

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While a competition, everyone there were very friendly and anxious to talk to you about growing the flowers, and encouraging you to join their club.

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A beautiful start to our afternoon in Cincinnati.

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Oyster Bay, NY – May 2018 – Running of the Brides at Planting Fields Arboretum

Our next stop of Long Island North Shore former estates is the Planting Fields Arboretum. As with the others it was an estate for a wealthy New York City resident – William Robertson Coe. William took an easier route to wealth, he married into it.

The Coe’s were avid gardeners, hiring renown landscape artists to design the estate. In the mid 1950s it became a temporary campus for the State University of New York, but finally in the mid 1960s it became an arboretum.

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One of the more interesting features is a tunnel of evergreens.

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Eventually we went into the greenhouses and were met with a nice collection of flowers and plants.

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We left the greenhouses and made our way over to the Italian Gardens.

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Nearby is the mansion, which in keeping with the theme of the day was closed to visitors.

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As we returned to the Italian Gardens we first met the ‘running of the brides’. Apparently this is a very popular place for wedding photography, and for the rest of the afternoon we were dodging brides.

We saw about 10 different wedding groups (on a Tuesday afternoon)!

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Finally we left the wedding parties and moved to another greenhouse.

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Our wedding day complete, we went back into the town of Oyster Bay where we were greeted with a great statue of their favorite son, Teddy Roosevelt.

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Kennett Square, PA – May 2018 – Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is located in suburban Philadelphia, in the town of Kennett Square. Considered by most as one of the foremost gardens in America it is an amazing display of horticultural coupled with architecture and water features.

The Gardens have been located here since the 1700s where the Pearce family began cultivating trees. It wasn’t until the early 1900s when one of the DuPont family members purchased the gardens did it really become the showcase that is renown around the world.

 

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The day we visited nearly every person arriving headed straight for the flower gardens.

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Where a fountain graced the pathway.

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There are over 800 volunteers who keep the gardens immaculate. Once a flower loses it’s bloom they will remove it and replace it with something else.

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Resulting in vivid displays.

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Water features are everywhere, including this Italian Water Garden.

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This gazebo is a popular spot for weddings.

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While other buildings used for mechanicals are equally impressive with the floral.

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But the highlight is without a doubt the are the fountains. TheĀ  5 acre Main Fountain Area is said to combine Italianate ornamentation with French Grandeur coupled with a World’s Fair showmanship.

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Water features are everywhere, all synchronized to provide displays. The Bellagio has nothing on Longwood for fountain displays.

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Inside the Conservatory the floral and fauna continue to amaze.

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The variety of plants and flowers are extensive, many I had never seen before.

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And all in picture perfect condition.

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As you exit the conservatory you are again given an expansive view of the fountains.

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As well as another smaller flower garden.

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Before ending up at the Carillon, which provides chimes every 15 minutes. Longwood Gardens is truly an amazing place.

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Victoria, BC – September 2017 – Views of the City

A day and night in Victoria, British Columbia.

BC Parliament Building

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Totem Poles at the BC Museum

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Yachts and water taxis in Victoria Harbor

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The coastline along the Strait of Juan De Fuca.

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A cricket game in Beacon Hill Park

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More Canadian palm trees in the same park.

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More harbor action.

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On our way to Port Angeles, Washington and Olympic National Park – which we could easily see from Victoria almost 50 miles away.

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A perfect ending to a week in Canada.

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Victoria, British Columbia – September 2017 – Hatley Gardens

Hatley Gardens and Castle in Victoria, British Columbia is a beautiful setting for spending an afternoon. Just as we arrived a pipe band came by for a special event (other than us arriving!)

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The Italian Gardens were the first stop.

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Situated on the Royal Roads College, a military school, there are some patriotic symbols.

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The Japanese Gardens

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Hatley Gardens is one of the best we have seen.

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Willoughby, Ohio – August 2017 – Holden Arboretum

The Holden Arboretum is located outside of Cleveland, offering a collection of gardens as one of the largest arboretums in America. Recently they have added a couple of features, the Canopy Walk and the Observation Tower.

The Canopy Walk allows you to observe the forest from 65′ above the ground on suspension bridges between towers.

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The Observation Tower, over 100′ high, offers views above the trees, as well as Lake Erie off in the distance.

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After our tree top adventure, we toured the remainder of the gardens.

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