Monday, November 11, 2013

Chrysanthemum Festival

Last week I visited Longwood Gardens, which is about 25 miles west of Philadelphia.
It was the private estate of Pierre Dupont until it was donated to the State.
Since 1921, Mr. Dupont had celebrated a Chrysanthemum festival each year in
honor of the great festivals of Japan.  The tradition continues today.  Gardeners work
all year long preparing special plants and displays.  This year there were 16,000
 chrysanthemum plants and millions of blossoms.  The plants must be watered each day
since the flowering is so profuse and requires constant water.  There are sixteen
greenhouses filled with plants.  The one above is the main display room.
There are thirteen basic types of mums.  The above is a "Spider Mum" entitled "Lava,"
and it was one of the featured blossoms of this festival.
This is your first view of the main display room.  The white domes are each single
chrysanthemum plants with a single stem and trained to bloom with 500 blossoms.
There is a video on YouTube which shows how this is done.
This is one single plant with 500 blossoms which have been trained to stand out
in a metal display rack.
White Decorative Mums

Bed of Princess Emma Spider Mums
Princess Emma Spider Mum

White Anemone Mum Tree.  This is a single plant which has been
pinched and pruned of all leaves and flowers except for the clusters
at the top and bottom of the plant.

Honey Glow Decorative Mums

Honey Glow Decorative Mum
Yellow Blanket Mums

Golden Glow Irregular Incurve Mums

Golden Glow Mum
"The Grand Mum."  This is a single plant with 1,416 blossoms on it.
It has been in training for a year and blooms like this for all of November.
Close-up of Yellow Decorative Mums
Seaton's Galaxy Spider Mum
Seaton's Galaxy Spider Mums

Interior of Greenhouse
"Fifth Dimension Exotic Hibiscus."  There is also a large greenhouse
filled with exotic hibiscus plants.
"Aztec Yellow Exotic Hibiscus."
Bed of "Lava Spider Mums" in Main Conservatory.
These were my favorites in the show.
Lava Spider Mum
Lavender Ground Orchids.
There is also a large greenhouse for hundreds of blooming orchids.
Trio of large orchids.
Spray of orchids.
Yofire Island Decorative Mums
"Pelee Decorative Mums."  These were some of my favorites also,
with very short stems and large bright blossoms.
Pelee Decorative Mums
"White Furball Mum."  This is covered in soft white hairs, which
makes it look like a kitten curled up.  Technically, it is an
Irregular White Inward Curve Mum, but I like its
nickname much better.
This is a "Golden Globe" Regular Inward Curve Mum.
It must be a perfect sphere, and this one is.
This is a perfect Lavender Regular Inward Curve Mum,
which is titled "Felicity."

Autumn Foliage in Pennsylvania

Over the weekend, we were in Eastern Pennsylvania to enjoy the fall colors, among other
things.    We hit the season at its peak - the trees were still full, the colors were vibrant,
and the weather was sunny and gorgeous.  This pair of sugar maples is in front of
Winterthur, the Dupont Historic Estate outside Wilmington.  Highway 52, which runs
from Wilmington to Longwood Gardens, is one of the most colorful roads in the state.
This Japanese Maple Tree is one of the most beautiful autumn trees I have ever seen,
with foliage going from pale green to yellow to peach to rose to red to plum color.
Some of the leaves on the Japanese Maple Tree.
View through the branches of the Japanese Maple Tree.
Gingko Trees turn a bright yellow color.
Branches of a Gingko Tree.
Fountain and Sugar Maples at a friend's house.
A walk near the fountain.
"Burning Bush" along Highway 52 near the Mendenhall Inn, where we stayed last time.
"Burning Bush" comes in a variety of brilliant shades of cranberry red and hot pink
and can be found along every highway and in many yards.
This was a new pleasure for me - a fall colored crape myrtle.  We have crape myrtles
in Florida, but they do not have foliage like this in the fall.  All shades of orange,
yellow, red, copper, and brown can be found here.
A branch of crape myrtle.
Crape Myrtle
Crape Myrtle
Path Lined with Sugar Maples.
An allee in the garden, with trimmed maples.
One of my favorites every year is the Decorative Maple, which looks so soft and
delicate.  It comes from Japan also.
Decorative Maple foliage.
Decorative Maple Foliage.
A walk through the woods.
A branch of maple.
A giant variety of Weeping Willow with yellow leaves.
Japanese Crape Myrtle with yellow leaves.
Japanese Crape Myrtle
Copper Beech Tree
Branch of Copper Beech
Copper Birch Tree
Another variety of Japanese Decorative Maple, but with very tiny maple leaves.
Yellow Maple branches overhead.
Orange Maple branches overhead.
Many of these trees were located on the grounds of Longwood Gardens, a few miles
west of Philadelphia and Wilmington.  They have an extraordinary collection of
trees, bushes, and flowers; this year the fall foliage was the best I have ever seen there.
I hope you have enjoyed this virtual stroll thru the woods on a sunny autumn afternoon.