Georgia Garden Girl

Garden Great in Zone 8!

Gardener Paradise

Hello, beautiful friends!
Several of you have seen me out and about and asked where the heck I was during April. You have to ask? I’ve been outside in my yard, of course! And then I took an exciting trip to Gardener Paradise. More on that in a minute.

In the yard, all my hard work is coming together, but there is still a good bit of work to do. The daffodils bloomed their little hearts out, as did the Chinese Snowball Viburnum. The columbine is now setting seed, and I was able to find a few gaillardia seedlings in one flower bed to fill in some holes in another. The first succession of vegetables is planted. Zucchini are blooming, tiny tomatoes are now apparent, and my snow peas are ripe and delicious. The front pots are planted with angelonia, wax begonia, diamond frost euphorbia, creeping jenny, and red sweet bell peppers. I’m trying strawberries in pots all over the yard (take that, slugs!). I decided to try “side planting” a la Pamela Crawford in my hanging baskets — I thought it would be easiest to start with coleus cuttings and creeping jenny. The cold weather has kept the pansies and violas looking great, and I may let them go another week before planting the vincas and zinnias. But then I have to wait longer for zinnias. Tough call.

I will post photographs of my progress in due course, and I may post a humorous anecdote or two about my recent battle with the drip irrigation system, but I thought you’d be more interested in seeing the photographs of Gardener Paradise: the Brandywine Valley. The Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania and Delaware is home to two amazing gardens: Longwood Gardens and Winterthur. The Brandywine Valley is also the home of the Wyeth family, so there are many art museums and galleries. Finally, the Brandywine Valley is home to the charming town of Kennett Square, PA, the Mushroom Capital of the World (please visit — many lovely people — just be warned: the garlic “mushroom chips” at the Mushroom Cap are REALLY garlicky).

Longwood and Winterthur are both glorious places, and we have the du Pont family to thank for them. Longwood was a farm, and by and by the owners planted an arboretum. Pierre du Pont purchased the land so that he could preserve the trees, and he built a conservatory and many wonderful outdoor gardens. Longwood is a show place — the behind-the-scenes tour guide told us that the displays are changed between 8 and 12 times per year! All of the bulbs are “one run” only and are then composted. Everything is spaced very closely for maximum impact, and the greenhouses hold “backups” in case a plant fades before its designated departure date. During my visit in early May, it was the height of tulip season, and the pansies and violas were lovely. The vegetables in the “idea garden” were just getting started, and the water lily garden was still in the prep phase. It will be an entirely different place in just two weeks!

Winterthur, on the other hand, has a much more naturalistic garden. On the estate founded by Henry Francis du Pont, there are many perennials and shrubs and trees that bloom year after year. Flowering quinces and crabapples, rhododendrons and azaleas, trilliums and daffodils, and much, much more. Of course, most folks go to see the house itself. It is, after all, the premier museum of American decorative arts. Yes, the house was marvelous, but the gardens were extraordinary.

Longwood Gardens Photos

Winterthur Photos

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