Here in the Brandywine Valley we have been praying for rain, and last Saturday it finally came after a two-week hiatus. Of course, the day the clouds opened up was the same day my daughter, Meg, and I had chosen to visit Longwood Gardens. (See complete garden tour picture collection in Inspiring Gardens.)
Now, most people would have asked for a “rain check”, but my daughter lives in Oregon and is accustomed to walking around wet a good part of the year. So, off we went, umbrellas under our arms, camera at the ready, to see one of the most famous gardens on the East Coast.
The light drizzle greened the lawns, put a glisten on every plant and scented the air with summer rain. Although other folks were braving the weather, the crowd was lighter than usual and we felt that we had this wonderland almost to ourselves.
Passing through the Visitor’s Center, we followed the path to our right and enjoyed the Theater Garden and Flower Garden Walk. Longwood is all about opulence. Bed plantings are packed with thousands of plants and the masses of color just steal your breath away. The Flower Garden Walk is organized in sweeps of color-coordinated plantings of pinks, reds, purples, yellows and whites. All along the way, we drew inspiration from the imaginative plant combinations; some exotic varieties we have never seen before mixed with plants available to us all.
We passed the ponds, climbed up the treehouses, lingered by the Italian Water Gardens and took refuge in the estate home atrium during a heavier downpour. Then we continued on to their wonderful cafe for lunch and the Conservatory Gardens.
Even though our trip was mainly devoted to Longwood’s outdoor gardens,we couldn’t pass up a stroll though the Jungle Garden, past the Bonsai collection, the greenhouses and the indoor Rose Garden before moving onto the Idea Garden. One creative plant pairing and display after another sparked our imaginations.
Circling back through the Main Fountain area and the Topiary Garden to our origin, the Visitor’s Center, we wandered though the amazing gift shop filled with plants and garden-related items.
A perfect day, mother – daughter time, gorgeous gardens and a long rain on everyone’s parched flowers!