Good morning! Welcome to "Morning Musings".

Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Children's Gardens

I must have fallen in love with gardens when I was a child in the 1950's because of Papaw & Mamaw's farm in Mississippi. Papaw, a widower, built the house for my grandmother soon after they were married in 1917.  This blurry photo was taken of the flowers that lined the walk up to Mamaw's front porch in 1974.  Mamaw was 77 by then and would live another 20 years in that house and another 6 in a nursing home.  We moved so often that my parents had no interest in gardening.  Mamaw's flowers and her farm were very special to me. . . .
We kids loved playing "house"around these big oak trees. You can just make out the huge roots that grew out of the ground of the one next to this one.  These made little compartments that we designated as the "rooms" of our house. . . .and the bushes in the back ground, cut into the shape of a chair and couch, further captured our imaginations. . . .
So it's no wonder I love visiting Children's Gardens whenever I can. . . .

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Longwood Gardens


In 1906 Pierre S. du Pont was 36 when he bought the Peirce farm because he'd heard the 100-year-old arboretum was to be destroyed.  George Peirce had purchased 402 acres in 1700 from William Penn's commissioners.  In 1798 his twin great-grandsons began planting 15 acres of various specimens of trees.  By 1850 the arboretum had become a place for locals to picnic.  By 1906, however, the Peirce heirs had neglected its upkeep and after passing through different owners the trees were to be sold to a lumber mill.  This is when Pierre du Pont stepped in.  Because of his love of the countryside and his boyhood love of running water, he set about turning his new summer home, Longwood, into what is now billed as one of the top 10 public gardens in America.

Longwood Gardens now covers 1,077 acres.  The Conservatory that Pierre built covers four acres.  It also houses a ballroom and music room.  This is where he and his wife, Alice, whom he married when he was 45 years old, would entertain their guests.  The couple never had children so much of their philanthropy work centered on the needs of children--public schools, universities, and hospitals.  The house they lived in was not at all grand.  It was built in 1730 as a simple brick farm house.  In 1914 Pierre du Pont had a matching addition built which was connected to the original house by an atrium. . . .
Architect's rendering of addition to the Peirce-du Pont House, c. 1913

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Winterthur

In 1951 Henry du Pont opened his home and gardens, Winterthurjust north of Wilmington, Delaware, to the public.  He'd spent years collecting Americana, adding on to the mansion in order to house his collections.  The du Pont de Nemours (they dropped the latter part of their name) came here from France in 1800 to escape the political unrest there.  As the brochure states, they would leave an indelible mark on the Brandywine Valley.  You can read more about the family here.  

After picking up our tickets we went outside to wait for the garden tram.  It was an overcast morning, threatening rain at any moment, but it never came, so we were able to enjoy a refreshingly, cool walk around the grounds. . . .

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Return to Childhood


We've just returned from two days of visiting the gardens of Henry du Pont at Winterthur in Delaware and Pierre du Pont at Longwood Gardens in Pennslyvania.  But before I can tell you all about these visits I must settle something with myself. . . .

This year I've been reading one entry a week from the 52 essays in Alan Cohen's little book entitled Wisdom of the Heart.  This week's, interestingly, is entitled "Resignation from Adulthood."  Lest I give my readers the wrong impression I decided to re-title my post in a more positive tone.....but I love how he starts his essay.  He said, "I've decided that I'd like to accept the responsibilities of an eight-year-old again.  I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four-star restaurant."  The reason this struck me is that I'd just written in my journal this morning about the B&B we'd stayed in the one night we were away.  As you can see it was a very nice place. . . .

Friday, September 5, 2014

View Outside My Kitchen Window - September


I took this from a slightly different angle because I wanted you to see my Dahlias.  This is the first time I've planted tubers and didn't realize they got so large. . . .