We just returned from New York City. Visiting the Big Apple during the Christmas season was on our bucket list, and this year we made it happen. Bill and I went to Manhattan in February 2008 with Bill’s youngest sister, Maria, and her husband, Curt. I also went as a high schooler when I was seventeen.
Last week, we went back to New York with our traveling companions and what fun we had! Part of our visit had to be a trip to High Line Park, located thirty feet above the busy streets near Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District. Although it was early winter, our visit was still extraordinary. Last summer, I did a lot of research on the High Line for a project, and it was magical to see the abandoned railway and gardens come alive beneath my feet. Continue reading “A trip to High Line Park”
Hillwood, Marjorie Merriweather Post’s estate, in Washington, D.C. opened its doors for the Garden Bloggers’ flingers on our first morning of tours. Hillwood reminded me of numerous other estate gardens I’ve visited over the years. It’s kept in about the same condition and style as it was when Post still lived there from the mid-1950s to 1973.
Post purchased Hillwood, originally named Arbremont, after her divorce from Davies. That’s quite a story in itself. You can read it at the link about Post’s museum hopes, above.
The goddess Diana watching over the French parterre.
French lady sphinxes outside the French parterre.
The dacha at Hillwood was built by Post in 1969. It once housed part of her Russian collection. It’s now used for special events.
Being a garden writer, I was most interested in, you guessed it, the gardens. Although the gardens comprise twenty-five acres, they don’t seem that large because they are broken up into rooms. Post was a fan of 18th Century France, and her French parterre is a tribute to her interests.
There is also a small Japanese garden which despite its size, is very well appointed. It’s quite beautiful and has wonderful views. You can see it in the first photo gallery show above. Click on the photos to make them larger.
Bamboo pole teepees in the cutting garden keep vines tidy in the cutting garden.
Sweetpeas in the cutting garden at Hillwood. I love sweetpeas.
Peachy orange gomphrena in the cutting garden.
Cutting garden at Hillwood in Washington, D.C.
My favorite part of the landscape was the cutting garden. Situated near the greenhouse, this garden supplies all of the flowers used inside the house/museum. It’s probably the best cutting garden I’ve ever seen.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been fortunate enough to visit a lot of gardens, but I’m a bit weary of grand estate gardens. They all seem to have similar attributes, especially if they were created between the 1920s and 1950s. You can almost always bet upon a formal rose garden, a Japanese garden, either an Italian formal landscape piece or a French one–you get the idea.
Part of the rose garden at Hillwood. At the beginning of June, it was a little past its bloom stage, but I bet it’s beautiful in full bloom.
The greenhouse at Hillwood is the home of 2,000 orchids. Orchids were Post’s favorite flower.
Part of orchid collection inside greenhouse.
Post did also have a really interesting pet cemetery and a dacha in her garden too.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s all very pretty, but I’m more interested in a working garden, and the cutting garden was just that. I loved how the gardeners placed netting in the rows for the flowers to grow through–a brilliant idea to keep stems straight and strong. Also, this cutting garden had great filler plants like bells of Ireland, dill weed, and Queen Anne’s lace to nestle between larger blooms.
A dazzling dahlia in the Hillwood cutting garden, my favorite spot on the tour.
Netting to keep cutting garden blooms supported.
Good old cleome was looking especially beautiful in the cutting garden.
A sea of Echinops ritro in the cutting garden. I wish I could grow these. I cannot.
Moluccella laevis, bells of Ireland, with their lovely green color, make a wonderful filler bloom for bouquets.
I believe this is Queen Anne’s lace because of the foliage.
After we had our photo made on the Lunar lawn and had lunch, the bloggers split up and were off to our next destinations. I really enjoyed Hillwood and hope you enjoy my thoughts about it too.