Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Postcard: Longwood Gardens (and Terrain at Styer's)

This past weekend, my husband planned a lovely garden-filled Sunday for me. We drove over to Pennsylvania to visit Longwood Gardens and the infamous nursery from the makers of Anthropologie, Terrain at Styer's.

First, Longwood Gardens. This former home of Pierre du Pont (yes, that DuPont) has just magnificent grounds. As in, it is completely worth the 2.5 hour drive from DC and $16pp admission. This place is *huge*; be sure to wear comfortable shoes! It has both inside and outside gardens making it even worth a visit if the weather outside is a bit frightful. I was tired (and the gardens were closing) before we could see it all (after 2 hours of wandering). Here is some of what you can expect to see:

Topiary garden

Main room of conservatory. Completely stunning. Although, those astilibes must have been forced; they aren't due to bloom until fall!

The start of a vegetable garden. I hope to come back in a month to see it planted!

Have you ever seen a DOUBLE snap dragon? Now you have!

Some things to note about Longwood, though. There are picnic areas outside of the gardens & no outside food allowed inside. Inside the gardens there are 2 restaurants that have Disney prices (as in, $2.75 for a bottle of water). Thus, I would recommend bringing your own refillable bottle (water fountains are scattered around) and either eating a hearty lunch or brunch via picnic or other restaurant before entering.

Also? There were a gazillion kids there and they seemed to be having a fabulous time. Besides large lawn areas where kids can work off some pent-up energy from the long drive, there were several exhibits (children's garden with water feature, maze to understand the role of bees, "Scent Seekers" as part of the fragrance exhibit, etc.) to encourage kids to learn and enjoy the plants. So, if you have little kids, I would recommend bringing them along. Non-plant loving teens might be bored out of their minds, though.

We also stopped by Terrain at Styer's. I have an unfailing love of Anthropologie, despite their clothes looking absolutely ridiculous on me. So, when I found out there was an Anthropologie-esque nursery, I knew I wanted to go. But at 2.5 hours away, it was a bit of a hard sell. However, coupling in nearby Longwood made a visit make sense.

Overall, I loved the containers, garden furniture and terrarium equipment they had there. The selection of cloches (not the super heavy, antique ones but still nice & hard to find 'round these parts). Unfortunately, everything was crazy expensive. As in, large fiberglass pots were $250. Granted, they were the most attractive, modern fiberglass pots I've ever seen. Their plant selection was sufficient and good quality, but I think local nurseries here have more variety for lower prices (except for a purple-flowering Pieris japonica...that was unusual).

I definitely see myself going back to Longwood and, since Terrain is on the way, I'll probably go back there too. There were also lots of antique shops that look interesting...maybe another road trip in June?!?

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