bromeliads

More Chanticleer magic — the Tea Cup Garden

I really had no sense of the vastness that awaited me in all three of the gardens that my friend, Pam, of Digging, and I visited on our recent trip to the Brandywine Valley area of Pennsylvania.

Upon entering the third garden, Chanticleer, on the third morning of our trip, the sun was already high in the sky and the day was heating up. The entrance area is rather small – a covered outdoor area on a patio with a nice selection of planters and a desk where the staff politely welcomed us. We started where most people start, entering through the small Kitchen Courtyard Garden just beyond the entrance.

The initial courtyard is filled with creative planters as well as fresh flowers.

Each day, the gardeners scatter fresh-cut flowers in vases and containers like this throughout the garden. These float gently on top of the water in this pot.

Filled with an array of tempting tropicals, the next garden, beyond the ornate gate, is the Tea Cup Garden. It is said to change significantly from year to year or even season to season, as most of its plants don’t overwinter in the this cold-climate garden. Come on in, the weather’s fine.

Taken by this delicate display, Pam captures it with her camera.

Now, my turn!

I love the reflection of the light in the sky against the glass table top, adding another dimension to this vignette.

The namesake of this garden, a tea cup-like planter, provides the focal point of the inner courtyard filled with tropical plants.

Groupings of pots add interest around the perimeter of the courtyard on the right.

The left side of the courtyard includes a raised bed garden, filled with alliums, punctuated by two stunning ceramic planters with silver ponyfoot and bromeliads.

This marks only the beginning of the garden’s vast display of bromeliads. To add to the level of detail in both garden design and identification, Chanticleer’s website includes a meticulously created plant list for each garden. Which, by the way, changes with the seasons and the years. I assumed it would just be an alphabetical list, which would have made IDing plants complicated. Then I clicked on the link and found this
— amazing.

With a small collection of bromeliads, I can’t wait to get all my posts done and then take a good look at the plant list to start making my own wish list!

This delicate peach Brugmansia, ‘Charles Grimaldi,’ rests in a clever container, contrasting beautifully with the rich, eggplant colors of Begonia ‘sparks will fly’ and Neoregelia ‘Elwood.’
So, finally I get to the alliums.

My love affair with alliums began in 2009 at the site of the second Garden Bloggers Fling in Chicago. You can see my post about that tour here
.

I tried twice to grow them in Austin, but our weather heated up much too quickly for them (at least in the years I tried to grow them) and the foliage was fried to a crisp before they reached 1/2 of their mature height. I even planted varieties specifically known to grow in Zone 9, but it just wasn’t meant to be. So, they hold a special interest for me on garden tours to more temperate climates. I’ll have to settle for enjoying the onion blooms in my veggie garden.

Their kaleidoscope structure is even more intriguing up close and personal.

Naturally, Pam and I had to take a selfie with them, though they sort of look like they’re coming out of the back of our heads!

There were so many more beautiful plants and vignettes in the Tea Cup Garden — these are just the highlights. Next, we’ll venture further into the garden. If you missed my first two posts about our fabulous garden trip, you can find them here – Chanticleer’s Ruin Garden
, and here – Longwood Conservatory Garden post #1
(also filled with bromeliads).

I haven’t had time to post all week, but it feels great to “stroll” through my garden photos and share my memories with you. I’ll have another one soon!

Four acres of gorgeous gardens under glass at the Longwood Gardens Conservatory

Last week, my friend Pam, who blogs at Digging, and I embarked on a garden adventure unrivaled in my garden travels. Nestled in the Brandywine Valley region of Pennsylvania, we toured three public gardens, Winterthur, Longwood and Chanticleer.

I took thousands of pictures (in part because the hot summer sun kept me adjusting my light settings). I’m sure I collected enough photos to blog about for several months!

As a lover and collector of tropical and exotic plants, the Longwood Conservatory is high on my list of the gardens within the gardens of our trip. It includes 20 different gardens (yes, all inside this giant conservatory), and more than 5,500 types of plants. It was spectacular. While it included all the typical plants you’d find in most conservatories, there was so much more — an amazing array of plant combinations, beautiful design, and attention to detail at every step. I can’t even fit all of it into one post, but I’ve decided to just jump in and cover part of it as my first post of the trip.

The Conservatory was built in 1919 by Pierre S. du Pont, and was designed to be an indoor eden. The collection of conservatory buildings covers 4.5 acres. (The entire garden covers 1,077 acres.) Yes, 4.5 INSIDE acres of stunning gardens, including the Fern Floor and Alcoves, seen here, the Patio of Oranges, Waterlily Display, Silver Garden, Orchid House, Mediterranean Garden, Bonsai Display, Palm Garden, Desert House, Cascade Garden, Banana House, Camellia House, Green Wall, Indoor Children’s Garden (so amazing that this will get its own post soon!), Rose House, Tropical Terrace, East Fruit House, Garden Path, Peirce-du Pont House and the Exhibition Hall.

The grand entrance, pictured above, provides a preview of this massive sest of structures. Beautiful and unusual bromeliads are given a place of honor in this section of the garden.

Many of the water features were surrounded by bromeliads, as well.

I have a number of bromeliads in my house and in the cabana in pots, but the volume and diversity of these was astounding. Clearly I have a way to go in the collecting department!

And then there were the ferns. I was taken by the Mexican Tree Ferns, delicate and ephemeral, yet strong and sculptural, all at the same time.

And then there were these stunning Staghorn-like ferns.

Of course, no prehistoric journey would be the same without cycads.

This male cycad was sporting a new cone.

I love this grey species. It’s a shame that the light prevents me from reading the tag that I photographed — I’d like to find out if I can grow this one in my Zone 8b-sometimes 9 garden.

This gigantic Sago palm (though not a palm at all) dwarfs the sizeable Sansevieria below it.

I believe that these elephant ears are Colocasia amazonica – which means they are sure living up to their name here under the black bamboo.

I can’t name this one, but I love the black stems which mirror the black bamboo as well.

Great color combinations under this bamboo.

And, who can resist the appeal of this black bamboo? It’s so striking and exotic.

With 4.5 acres of conservatory gardens to cover, this will have to be it for your first peek. Thousands more photos and lots of blog posts to come, about the conservatory and Longwood’s other 1,000+ acres of outside gardens!

Flora Grubb delights bloggers with pots, plants and garden design and decor

Come on in.

Where to start?

Our 6th annual Garden Bloggers Fling in the San Francisco area this year was phenomenal.  The Fling crew, Kelly KilpatrickAndrea Fox, Charlotte, Claire and Maggie, did an amazing job of crafting a program filled with beautiful private gardens, public gardens and nurseries.  They babied us and fed us well and it was so fun to gather with friends, old and new, and join together to discover the Bay area.  

As we began our Fling, we all laughingly said that they can grow everything in California.  After these garden tours, I think it may be true!

I’m starting my blog posts from the end.  After numerous problems with my computer and iPhoto (all self- created problems having to do with TOO many files – 18,000 photos – even after moving 5 years worth of photos elsewhere), these are the photos I’ve uploaded so these are the photos you get to see!

Our last stop – a shopping tour and  reception filled with wonderful food and drinks – at the well-known nursery, Flora Grubb.  Wow. 

The nursery had me on garden overload with its unique plants, bursts of hot color and just plain old cool stuff.  Creative vignettes like this classic car overflowing with ferns and phormium captured our attention.

This exotic staghorn fern makes me think of Medusa as it spills out of this Buddha head planter.

The pruning of this palm tree created a live piece of sculptural garden art.

Endless bromeliads – loving the heat and humidity of the Bay area – and paired with hot pots.

Or succulents sitting side-by-side in cool concrete.

Flora Grubb did the landscaping for nearby gardens, and we got a walking tour of the area, which included these great yuccas.

I loved this plant – tibouchina – and was pondering its viability here in Austin, Texas, when Kelly came along, laughed at me, and said: 

“No, it won’t grow in Austin, but it will grow in my garden!”

Then she snatched one up and sauntered up to the cash register!  I had to laugh.  I had a case of serious plant envy by this point without a doubt.

Inside the store, we were surrounded by more beautiful pots and decor.

As things were winding down, and I sat to chat with friends, I almost didn’t notice the cool trenched table inlaid with succulents.  I knew I couldn’t get this in my suitcase.  Think I could make one? Hmmmm…

Each year at the Fling, there seems to be one specific plant that’s in its full glory in almost every garden we visit.  In Buffalo, I remember the mondarda, in Chicago, I remember the alliums.  From the San Francisco fling, I will always remember the over-the-top phormium we found in almost every garden.  We’re a little too hot and a little too dry to grow them here, but you can bet money I’m gonna try!  Maybe in a pot, in a carefully chosen spot and lots of TLC.  (No work involved in trying to grow this plant!) 

Here’s a glimpse of what I brought home in my suitcase – a succulent, a fern and a few tilandsias along with a trio of metal planters and some red long beans.  I would have liked to fill a truck with so much more and drive it home, but that would have been impractical.

This was a spectacular ending to a wonderful Fling.  Thanks to everyone who helped by working, hosting, opening their homes, and sponsoring our special event.