Saturday, October 27, 2012

As my whimsy takes me

Catch-up post!  I need to go out and do some things today to prepare for the hurricane we're having in a few days, whee, and otherwise my gardening (with a very sore right knee) has been focused on my New! Community! Garden! Plot! which I am, as you see, extremely excited about.  I will have pictures soon, not that they will be very illuminating; it's a 20x20 square of soil that I'm removing weeds from, not too many weeds luckily, as the person who had it before took good care of it until she couldn't because of ill health.  There are peas growing in it, and a few herbs, and I'm going to plant more herbs, once the hurricane is over.

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:

and this:

in the conservatory, which just didn't seem Longwood's style.  Although I do have to admit these aquatic plants at Longwood:

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.


  1. Do you know why "toad" lilies? They are beautiful, would they grow in NH? Or maybe the question is, do deer eat them, like all the other lilies I have tried to grow, except day lilies.

    1. I think because of the spotty, blotchy patterns, like the skin of toads. They are hardy up to zone 5, so they would work for you, and apparently deer don't like them. And they bloom in fall which is nice.

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  3. that pig at CJ park is just bizarre. I agree with you though - longwood is amazing and fun to visit, but unless you have acreage, a taste for perfect symmetry, and maybe a full time gardener who clips your boxwoods for you, it's neither realistic nor fun. At least for me. I do need to start looking around though b/c I'm planning some large scale reno (well, large scale of my small garden).

    1. I have fond memories of Porky from childhood (yes, it's been there that long!) but also scary ones.

      And yeah, I don't think I go to big public gardens with any idea of reproducing what's there, although sometimes small-scale versions of particular ideas might stick.