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. The  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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New York City – April 2018 – Sunday Morning on the High Line

The High Line runs for about 1.5 miles across the lower west side of Manhattan. Originally an elevated freight line to get commerce in and out of the industrial and warehouses that once populated the area, it has been transformed into an urban park.

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Along much of the path the original rails have been retained and planted with native plants.

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A few spots traverse through the original buildings, all of which have been restored.

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One of the spur lines that went directly into a building is a ‘garden’. While it may look like weeds to most, they want it to look that way.  A tree many grow in Brooklyn but Manhattan has trendy weeds (and not those kind)

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There is some art work along the path as well.

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Recently it has been extended to the booming area of Hudson Yards.

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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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Cleveland – August 2017 – One World Day

The Cleveland Cultural Gardens is  a beautiful area in Rockefeller Park that celebrates the diverse cultures that make up Cleveland. Once a year they celebrate One World Day, where all of the 40 different countries that have gardens (or are working on them) celebrate their culture.

The individual gardens had extra touches added to them.

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We spent time with learning about the culture of Slovakia from the man who lead the building of the gardens. While some, such as the Italian and German have been there for 70 years or more, a few have been built in the last 30 years.

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The Hungarian Garden had a ‘Budapest Cafe’ set up, complete with music.

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A couple of Czech women in their traditional attire.

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Most had crafts from the homeland.

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A shuttle was provided for those who were late to the parade, like the Lebanese, who were entertaining even on the shuttle ride.

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One of the Russian marchers.

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Vietnam is currently working on their garden, and were well represented in the parade.

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Each country brought a flag for the day that were displayed at the main entertainment stage.

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The leaders of the Romanian group.

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There were a number of youth groups who are continuing to carry on the traditions of their country.

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Young and old marched together.

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After the parade many posed for photos in their gardens.

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The Serbian group had great outfits, with cool shoes.

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With the food, culture and gardens it was a great day for One World in Cleveland.

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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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New Vrinabad, WV – July 2017 – Palace of Gold

In the extremely unlikely locale of the West Virginia Northern Panhandle is the Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold. Built in the 1970s it is a magnificently ornate building that is showing it’s age, with a multi year restoration effort ongoing.

Despite this, it continues to attract thousands of tourists a year to seek it out (my navigation system took me down a dirt road that wanted me to cross a creek with 2′ of water running through it.)

Once we did arrive we were fascinated with the thought of a Hare Krishna temple just up the hill from numerous fracking wells and their associated tanker trucks, and the oil workers and their giant 4 wheel drive pickups.

While not something I want to do often, it was worth the adventure of finding it and spending an hour or two.

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Bloomfield Hills, MI – June 2017 – Cranbrook Art Museum & Saarinen House

The Cranbrook Academy of Art was founded in the 1920s by George Booth, who asked renown Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen to design the campus and buildings. Eventually the campus was expanded to include both boys and girls schools, a Science Museum as well as the Art Museum.

The Saarinen House has been restored to it’s 1930s look, and the museum offers tours, which we attended. The house itself (in my opinion) was somewhat disappointing as it did not give the ‘wow’ feeling that I often have when going into other famous homes, such as many of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes of the same period. Instead it seems more ‘practical’ and commonplace, in a 1930s art deco way.

The grounds of the campus are very nice, with gardens scattered about, along with numerous sculptures and fountains. The museum was somewhat smallish, but had some interesting artifacts including the chair collection.

 

The Art Museum

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Gardens and Fountains

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The interior of the Art Museum

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Saarinen House

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