I did go to Longwood Gardens, how ever long ago that was now, and found it lovely, with plenty to walk around and goggle at. It is a splendid thing; though it was, on that day at least, not quite my splendid thing. Perhaps it takes itself a little too seriously, and just doesn't have enough whimsy to it. I'd really need to visit in several seasons to judge. But I went to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA, last summer, and (again, a judgment based on a one-time viewing) they do whimsy a touch better. Stuff like this:
are whimsical just by their nature. I had no idea such a thing existed. They are several feet in diameter, those things. Just... wow.
Anyway, I'm not knocking Longwood; I just wasn't in the mood for it precisely that day, but it is beautiful and worth many visits. And better maintained than Lewis Ginter (this is entirely a budget matter, of course).
Unfortunately I did not take many photos because I just had my phone and its battery was running low because of the GPSing on the trip up, and I had to do more GPSing to reach my hotel, so despite managing to charge it in the cafe I didn't want to risk running it down again by photographing everything. But there were fountains, and topiary, and color-perfect flower beds, and some experimental gardens by students (possibly the best part; I really loved those), and even a vegetable garden, kind of tucked away on the side, but at least they had one. And the Eye of Water. Okay, that was whimsical, in a scary sort of way, like Porky the Litter Eater at Cabin John Regional Park except entirely different. Local reference point, sorry.
I missed Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day due to travel, but there are still a few things blooming at home. The nasturtiums have come nicely into their own in the waning days of warmish weather:
and here is a toad lily, possibly the one I grew from seed, which would be Miyazaki, or else the other one.
I love toad lilies. I need to have many more of them.