Saturday, November 12, 2011

Longwood Gardens

(After writing this whole thing, I thought I should let you know that as usual, I went off on a tangent in the beginning.  So if you don't want to hear about me having a cold for a week, skip down to the part that says "Longwood Gardens" to read about why I actually wrote this post.  That's right, my tangent was so long and off-topic I had to put another title in there.)

Kelly and I went to Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago.  I meant to post last Saturday when I had time, but I ended up coming down with a sore throat and fever on Friday night and spending most of this week feeling sick and overall just completely worn out.  Fortunately now I just have a dry cough and I'm starting to get my energy back.  If I have what the doctor said I have (a nasty cold virus that's going around) and so far her symptom progression prediction has been correct, it should turn into a wet cough in a couple days and then go away.  AFTER WRITING THIS I DECIDED TO ADD A WARNING FOR PEOPLE WHO GROSS OUT EASILY TO NOT READ THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! I have to admit when snot-like substance was coming out of my eyes that was the worst.  But I just stayed home all week and avoided contact with Kelly and every other human being and washed my hands and slept a lot, so I could say it wasn't the worst week ever.  But it wasn't necessarily a good one, either.  Wow! TMI.  I bet you all liked the eye-snot part.  Don't worry I went to the doctor and it was just the same virus attacking my eyes.  That sounds so creepy.  But I'm blind now, so nothing worse can happen, right?  Just kidding Mom I can still see just as well as I always could.  So still not very well.  The worst thing is I have to wear glasses for a few weeks, which if you know me is even worse than eye-snot.  I just keep going with this thing...sorry, I'm done. 

I should add a warning up there for all persons squeamish.  ... Okay, it's up there now. (I'm thinking of you Bryan.  Remember that time at dinner when Dad said something like, "We bought the new toilet for our bathroom remodel."  Or something like that completely non-gross with the word "toilet" it in and you freaked out and refused to eat anymore?  That warning up there was for you.  If you read it and can never eat again, it's your own fault that you'll be fed through an IV from now on.)

Now I'm thinking that if Longwood Gardens ever Googles themselves, they won't ever want to read about what I thought of their beautiful gardens and plants and exhibits and stuff.  They just think I'm a nasty person who had a cold.  It's a weird habit of mine to go off on tangents before getting to what I really want to write on this blog, isn't it?  Okay, I'm starting with the real point of this post now.  I suppose I should put the title down here:

Longwood Gardens

A few weeks ago Kelly and I decided to go on a day trip and we thought about all the places around us that we still wanted to visit.  We narrowed it down to Mount Vernon and Longwood Gardens.  Then we got on Longwood Gardens' website and read about it and decided it sounded really cool.  We were also excited to head north, because we figured we could keep driving another 40 or so minutes and have dinner at Chifa in Philadelphia again because we loved it so much when we ate there over the summer.  We planned it for one weekend, but something came up so we moved it back a week.  Of course it ended up being the only time it ever snowed in October out here, but we went anyway.  We got most of the way there before it started snowing and it didn't really start sticking to the ground until we were there, so no problem there.  (Somehow we still passed 3 car wrecks in the 15 minutes we were on the road when it started snowing.  I don't know what happens to people out here.  I mean, they can drive in the rain.  Why not snow when it melts into water as soon as it hits the road?  I suppose that is a deep philosophical question for another time.)

Kelly and I were smart and brought our coats, hats, mittens, scarves, and umbrellas, so we were prepared for the weather.  We also decided that since we each got $10 off the entrance price for being students, we could stick to the conservatory this time and come back in warmer, or at least drier, weather to see the rest, which, by the way, includes an Italian fountain garden, three giant tree houses, a topiary garden (I have to admit I called it a "bush-sculpture garden" for a placeholder until I could look up what it was actually called.), an idea garden for home gardeners, a garden railway, a flower garden walk, an open air theatre, a waterlily display, and even a cow lot!  The conservatory is enormous, so we spent over two hours just exploring in there.  Basically it was just a giant building with a lot of glass, completely full of plants.  We also happened to go during the chrysanthemum festival, so that was all in there too.  We watched a short intro video when we first got there and they have different a different focus or theme all year round, like orchids, a Christmas theme, spring blooms, and even a few months focus on the fountains.  I think the best way to explain the coolness of the stuff we saw there is with pictures, so here we go:

As you can see, when you first walk into the conservatory it is beautiful!  I think it is amazing that gardeners can create this! I just realized this is from the opposite point of view, though.  You come in down at the far side.

chrysanthemum festival

This is one chrysanthemum plant! You heard me, ONE!  There are over a thousand blossoms on this thing!

These are gigantic plant-spheres hanging from the ceiling.  I don't know how they do this, but I would love to try this someday when I live somewhere with windows that will actually support plant life.  Hey, me and my black thumb can dream, can't we?

 So you thought that one chrysanthemum plant was amazing up there?  This also is ONE PLANT.  They grafted in a whole bunch of different types of chrysanthemum onto one plant and thus we have THIS:

Kelly was so excited when he saw this tree.  He said they were all over in Uruguay.  
Come, take a closer look.
Dun dun DUNNN!!  Don't crash your bike into that thing.  Neither you nor your bike will survive.  Actually, I'm surprised Kelly never did trip into one of those when he was down there.  He's pretty accident prone.

These are nectarine trees!  They train them to grow flat against a trellis, cool, huh?

Like I said, there was a chrysanthemum festival. They were everywhere!  Part of it was people could enter a contest with their own arrangements, so we took a look at that.

Here's a closer look at the ceiling-o-umbrellas.  For some reason I love this.
umbrellas as art, umbrella ceiling, parasols as art

Now for a bunch more pictures of flowers and stuff!  I'll try to tell you what they are.
Spider Mum.  Kelly thought these were the coolest flower ever.

Yet another room in the conservatory.  There were so many I couldn't even tell you the number.
Kelly and I giant ball of flowering plant.

Birds of Paradise
Another room
It's as big as his head!
I'm trying to remember the name of these...Chinese something...I think hyacinth?

As you can see, we had a really fun time seeing all of this beautiful stuff.  We kept thinking about how God must have the most amazing imagination to create so many different kinds of plants and flowers for us to enjoy.

When we left, the snow was sticking a lot, so we held off on the rest of the gardens, which were outside.  We also decided to not risk driving the rest of the way to Philly for Chifa, which was very sad for both of us.  Instead we got hot chocolate and headed home.  It was a little nice to get the rest of our day at home when we hadn't been planning on it, though.  Anyway, thanks for the fun afternoon Longwood Gardens!


Georgia said...

Dan, I am so sorry you've been so nasty sick. That is terrible. It is probably something you picked up from those germ factories you teach. I hope that cough and your eyes clear up soon.

Your photos and descriptions of the Longwood Gardens are amazing! Yes, please put that on the list of things to do when we come out next! Let's go to Chifa too.

Thanks for sharing another fun thing you've been able to do out there. Love you! Miss you!

Georgia said...

P.S. I understand why you love the photo of the umbrellas. It is beautiful! I have come back to look at it again. You should print a 14X16 and mat and frame it for your house. I love it too! Add photographer to your many talents, Dan!

N Ziae said...

Eye-snot? ewwwww :D

That's a very nice conservatory, though. There are a bunch of things I want to see in Pennsylvania next time I'm on the east coast. So I'll add that to the list.

Take care of yourself and of Kelly and I'll see you both come December ^_^