Sunday, May 15, 2016

Garden Walk at Longwood

One of the most beautiful display areas in Longwood Gardens is the Garden Walk,
which is a path a quarter of a mile long lined on both sides with huge beds of flowers,
which at this time of the year are tulips.

The western end of the Garden Path is anchored by this lovely terrace with four
beautiful flowering dogwood trees.

Dogwood Blossoms.
The flowers along the Garden Walk show the rainbow of colors from deep purple and blue
to lavender and pink, then the Circular Fountain, and then the red, orange, yellow, and
white flowers.  It is quite spectacular.

The western end begins with beds of "Purple Dream" and "Queen of the Night" tulips.
"Purple Dream," when backlit by the sun, becomes wonderfully translucent.

"Queen of the Night" and "Purple Dreams"

These beds give way to beds of "Blue Diamond" peony-tulips and "Zurel Tulips" (white with
purple stripes.  They are called peony-tulips because their many petals and large size
make them look more like peonies than tulips.

"Blue Diamond" and "Zurel" tulips.

"Blue Diamond" and "Zurel" tulips.  Every time you photograph them in a slightly
different light, they become different flowers.

"Blue Diamond" peony-tulips.

Purple "Columbine."  In the past, columbine were small, dainty, nearly wild flowers.
This is a new hybrid, five inches in diameter, and very dramatic.

In the foreground are the lilac "Synaeda Amor" tulips.  The plants are only about 8 inches high,
but the blossoms are wonderfully consistent.

"Synaeda Amor" tulips combining pink, purple, lavender, lilac, and white.
Backlit, they were spectacular.

"Thalia" White Narcissus were tall and profuse in bloom and formed a great backdrop
for the "Synaeda Amor" tulips.

"Thalia" White Narcissus

Close-up of "Thalia" White Narcissus

"Blue Columbine"

A "Blue Columbine" blossom.

"Double Blue Poppy Anemones"

And then we move on into the pinks.  In this bed are "Virichic" (pale green with pink)
and "Pink Impressions" (pink, rose, and white).

"Pink Impressions" and "Virichic" tulips.

"Virichic Tulips" (green, white, and pink) and "Pink Impressions Tulips"
(pink, rose, and white).

"Pink and White Dianthus"

"Angelique" are very large, pink-and-white double late tulips.
These are eight inches scross.

A gorgeous "Angelique" double tulip with subtle veils of pink and white.

Three "Angelique" tulips.

The next pink tulips were the "Pink Diamonds" with colors like facets on a precious stone.
Backlit, you can see pink, rose, and white color in the petals.

"Pink Diamong Tulips"

"Pink Diamond Tulips" with "Thalia White Narcissus" in back.

"Pink Diamond Tulips"

"Thalia White Narcissus"

At the midway point of the Garden Walk is the Circular Fountain, surrounded by purple
wallflowers.  This is looking north past beds of white tulips and "Accent" white

Just south of the Circular Fountain is the overlook to the Sunken Garden,
which was surrounded by daffodils (the first day I was there).

This is from the south side of the Sunken Garden looking back and up to the
Circular Fountain.

"Chromacolor" narcissus with large orange cups.

As soon as flowers begin to wilt, they are removed and plants which have been growing in
the greenhouses are brought in at night or early morning.  If you only visit the Gardens
one time, you are not aware of it.  But because I was there several days, I saw entire beds
and gardens change flowers overnight.  On my third day here, all of these daffodils were gone
and the Sunken Garden was filled with Yellow and Orange "Icelandic Poppies," all of
which were mature and in full bloom.  Amazing!

"Icelandic Poppies" - "Orange Champagne Bubble"
"Icelandic Poppies" grow on thin, wire-like stems to about 14 inches and float
 like a champagne bubble on top.

"Icelandic Poppies"  -  "Yellow Champagne Bubble"

Tall stems of "Foxglove / Digitalis" and lower "Icelandic Poppies.

The "Grande Allee"  -  the path south of the Sunken Garden,
lined with White Narcissus and variegated "Foxglove."

Tall Foxglove and White Narcissus

Foxglove and Narcissus.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tulips at Longwood 2016

Tulip Time at Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, is a spectacular affair.
Hundreds of thousands of tulip bulbs are planted by volunteers in the Fall.  Many of them
are brand new varieties provided by various nurseries.  One of my favorite parts of the gardens
is the "Idea Garden," which contains 350 plots 6x6 ft. with 300 flowers of one variety and one
color, so that visitors can get an idea of what they might like in their own garden next year.
Benches allow you to sit and soak in the color and atmosphere.

I like big, showy flowers.  These were large and highly dramatic.  "Akebono" is a double
late tulip in intense yellow with red streaks.  It is only about 12 inches high.

Close-up of "Akebono" flowers.

Whites come in many varieties from pure snow white to cream.  These are rather small
flowers, perhaps 10 inches high, named "Tres Chic."  They are among the lily-tulips,
so called because of their outward spreading petals.

A bed of white "Tres Chic" tulips. 

The flower beds spread out in all directions.  Here you can see the carillon tower on a hill
in the distance.  It plays beautiful music every quarter hour.  On the left are some
flowering crabapple and flowering cherry trees.

Yellow tulips come in many forms.  These were one of my favorites this year, "Hocus Pocus."
They are tall, 26 inches high or so.  They are of a bright but light yellow shot through with
streaks of red and orange.  The blossoms themselves are quite large, 6 inches high.

Beautiful colors of "Hocus Pocus."  Each flower is different.

A bed of "Hocus Pocus."

A very different yellow tulip is "Fair and True," a peony-tulip, so called because
 it consists of so many petals that it looks more like a peony than a tulip and it is very large.

A cluster of large "Fair and True" peony-tulips.

A great panorama of rich tulip colors.

"Orange Princess" is another double late peony-flowering tulip.  It is so full, with
so many flower petals, that it looks more like a peony than a tulip.

 "Orange Princess" peony-flowering tulip.

The gardener said this was a new variety for this year, "Blue Heron," a fringed
lavender tulip.  Frilled tulips came in every color, but usually on the small side.

"Blue Heron" fringed tulips.
I don't remember the names of all flowers the first time I see them, but Longwood, like all
good botanic gardens, maintains a webpage listing every flower in bloom on their premises,
so I can always go back and check the references.

These are three of the loveliest of the tulips: "Blushing Beauty" (pale yellow), "Carola"
(rich warm pink), and "Garant" (egg-yolk yellow).  The trellis along the right side will hold
a hundred varieties of climbing Clematis later in the year.

Big, bold, brash!  This is one of the "parrot tulips," characterized by large ruffled flowers.
This spectacular beauty is "Bright Parrot."

A bed of "Bright Parrot" parrot tulips.

Same colors, but very different feeling is "Mona Lisa," which is also on the small side
and is one of the lily-tulips - notice the spreading petals of the flowers.

A bed of "Mona Lisa" lily-tulips.

Up on the hill in back you can see the front of the Conservatory.  Here the light pink flowers
are "Marilyn" and behind them is another of my favorites this year, "Lighting Sun."

"Lighting Sun" single late tulips.  They are medium in height, about 16 inches high.
They have cousins called "Lighting Fire" and "Lighting Glow."  All appear to be glowing
with redhot embers inside.  Looked at against the sun, which is what I am doing here,
they glow.  And as I watched them over four days, they changed colors, gradually fading, 
like a fire burning out.  The first day they have very dark red and very bright yellow,
and then each succeeding day they became a little more subdued.

But here is a bed of "Lighting Sun" at their hottest.  I like them.

Wow!  This tulip is nearly 12 inches across; I had never seen such a thing.  This is
"Weber's Parrot," another of the very large, splashy parrot tulips.

 A bed full of "Weber's Parrots."

This is the entrance to the "Idea Garden.," through a grove of trees down the hill from the
Conservatory.  In the background is the "Trial Gardens," where they grow new fruits and
vegetables and have many different flowering fruit trees.  There is also a children's are
and some fountains for playing in as well as watching.

"Pink Impressions" is a beautiful, big pink tulip with dark green foliage.

A bed of "Pink Impressions" tulips.

"Clearwater" white tulips.  They were tall and nearly transparent.

A bed of "Clearwater" white tulips.

View across tulip beds of "Idea Garden" to Carillon and wooded hillside.

"Garant" yellow tulips.  Notice their variegated leaves, which are unusual.

A cluster of "Garant" yellow tulips with variegated leaves.

"Carola" pink tulips.  They have a lovely form with petals which seem to unwind
around the stem.  The pink color is strong but pure.

A bed of "Carola" pink tulips.

I'm sitting on my favorite bench as I take this picture.  The red in front is a bed of "ABBA"
and the orange to the left is "Orange Princess."

"Holland Chic" was a favorite with every photographer.  The sunlight coming through the
blossoms was incredibly subtle and beautiful.  These are also lily-tulips and not very
tall; but their color is so special, everyone stopped for a picture.

"Holland Chic" lily-tulips.

"Perestroyka" ia a beautiful soft orange tulip, with slight streaks of pink and yellow.

Bed of "Perestroyka" tulips.