Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Hot, The Loud and the Proud #4


Show us your tropicals and exotics, your hot mediterranean colors and wild combinations, amazing discoveries and unusual variations. Or how about something exciting you just saw, a crazy garden,  amazing garden art or design, an inspiring visit or hike?

This meme is open to all (you do not have to live in an exotic location to participate)  and will be on the last day of each month…so mark your calendars and lets do something fun on the hot, the loud and the proud meme. I’ll have the link available early, east coast time (USA) to catch you early birds and even earlier for those of you in other countries.

Can you believe that this is in a beautiful conservatory in Washington DC?   We are at the home, museum and gardens at Hillwood, one of Majorie Merriweather Post's homes, which is now a museum. This well cared for estate is maintained by a horde of dedicated volunteers who are passionate about preserving the past and glory of this home. Post, the sole heir to the cereal Post company became on of the wealthiest and most influencial women in America during the early to mid 1900's and shared her home and gardens to many philanthropic functions and eventually endowed this place as a museum to house all her treasures.

Below is shot of the entire greenhouse behind this beautiful rose garden, can you see how large the greenhouse is alone, it practically houses thousands of exotic plants especially thousands of orchids.

This is just one of the side galleries that lead to many more galleries of exotic plants from around the globe.

We will start this tour from the greenhouse to coincide with our Hot meme theme, I had a wonderful time having the entire place to myself this morning since most of the garden tours had not yet started and I had ample time to visit and talk to the greenhouse volunteers busily preparing for the visits that day.

Even though they had some plants blooming, it was one of those in between times when they were just getting the orchids trimmed out and fertilized for the next flush of blooms. All the exotics, orchids and other cutting flowers are grown specifically to decorate all the various interior rooms of the home which are intact with all the furnishings and personal collections of the owner including a fine collection of French and Russian period pieces that were her main passions and intent of preserving this home as a museum for her collections.

Mrs Post always insisted on fresh flowers grown in her gardens to decorate her home and when she endowed this originally to the Smithsonian Museum, she insisted that the gardens be well maintained and the flowers continued to be grown to fill all the interior rooms with color. That didn't work to well with the Smithsonian, which only allocated three full time employees to care for the properties. It literally takes an entire village and slew of volunteers to maintain the home and gardens, you really see the beauty and pride from all the volunteers efforts in showing the home, the museum treasures and finally the extensive gardens.

I talked to a few of the volunteers and it looks like their dedication really shows especially when you are in a green house when the temperature in the morning was already soaring to past 90 degrees and the same for the humidity.   Ah to suffer for beauty, I think I would do the same if I get to work or even volunteer in an amazing place like this.

Here's the piece de resistance, once you enter the greenhouse, you see this drammatic showcase centered in the central domed pavilion, quite spectacular!

Another angled view showing the beautiful bromeliads growing from the branches and orchids below.

I'll continue the tour of the gardens in the next upcoming post, but please do enjoy my fellow bloggers posts below to see more of the Hot, the Loud and the Proud.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Such a Treasure





Visiting the US Botanic Garden in the Nation’s Capitol is just spectacular. Not only is it one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America, but it was also conceived from a shared vision with Washington, Jefferson and James Madison collaborating together to build this heritage garden on the National Mall in Washington DC.


The Botanic Garden was established in 1820 and has been in continuous operation and open to the public since 1850. It houses more than 60,000 plants for exhibition, conservation and comprises of medicinal, economic, a mid-Atlantic native garden, orchids, cacti and succulents, carnivorous plants and many other historic specimens.




There is so much diversity under the glass conservatory with amazing exhibits filled with color, fruit, exotic discoveries, amazing fragrances and well laid out rooms.  Of course one of my favorites was the orchid section were I’m always drawn to the vivid and unusual flowers like the ones below.







Don’t you just want to keep looking at these exotic orchids and cover every detail ?







There are many beautiful vistas inside and then looking outside towards the

Nation’s Capitol.



There are many beautiful exterior gardens as well including this pond with many Mid-Atlantic

natives grown in a natural creek-like setting.



I like this ode to everything yellow including the large scaled sunflower…i would like to take that

home with me please, do you think I can bend it to fit my suit case?




Here’s the front entry to the Botanic Garden, they just completed setting up the new spring

display with new annuals and these beautiful arch entryways to the front entrance. The next

few photos show nice details of the entryways and a focus on edible/sustainable gardening in

vertical baskets.










Here’s a another new concept of hanging out your plants in a new fashion, talk about

fashion forward plantings on a hammock.




Isn’t this an amazing place to explore and visit and to think its all free and open to the public all the time. I can just imagine coming here in the cold winter month’s to see something tropical and blooming for a quick respite from the freezing cold air. This is truly a treasured garden to visit in the Nation’s Capitol, one I could enjoy visiting on a regular basis.


To see other blooms for fertilizer friday go to http://www.tootsietime.com

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Wonderful Neighborhood Walk Visiting Georgetown



Can I just say that Washington DC is one of the most beautiful garden cities that I have ever visited….outside of the plethora of parks, arboretums and private gardens, there are amazing plant lovers caring for many public and private spaces and grow with so much pride for everyone to enjoy.

I especially enjoyed the many walks I took in some of the most historic neighborhoods including this walk that I took in Georgetown ,which is a beautifully preserve and historic neighborhood.

The homes have such beautiful Character and formal appearances, and even thought the front yards are very small, you see very individual displays of plants, pots, hardscaping and lots of spring color.



Here are some of my favorite front doorways and front yards I enjoyed while exploring Georgetown.




Everyone loves to really take care of their small front yards and adds lots of visual

punch and formality in such small spaces.




Entrances are such important statements and creating a proper and well cared entrance

is a very important part of the homes appearance in this neighborhood.




Beautiful colored doors, ornate stairways and beautiful light fixtures add the

welcome entry and gorgeous detailed work in each home.




Ornate facades are important here and every detail is well thought out.



Lots of whimsy and color can be found walking through this wonderful neighborhood.



Blues and purples draw me into this front doorway, I just love all the detailed work

and the beautiful entry lanterns to this amazing home.


This was such a wonderful walk, I really enjoyed these types of discoveries and seeing how much pride gardeners in each area puts into showing and sharing their homes and gardens in Georgetown.

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