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Seeking art in Maine

Last week I spent several days traveling the coast of Maine with my friend, Betsey. Our destination was Bar Harbor where we visited with friends. Along the way we stopped to investigate art museums and galleries. Our first stop was Portland where we stayed in the heart of the old part of town along the harbor, a charming area full of restaurants, shops, and galleries with narrow brick and cobblestone streets.

We stayed in this lovely old hotel.

We were assigned to Room 335. This is the sign that faced the elevator when we arrived on the third floor. This is one of several dilemmas we encountered with much laughter along the way.

This is the a view of the harbor near our hotel.

Portland has a number of very nice galleries and we visited four of them: The Casco Bay Artisans, Greenhut Galleries, the Portland Art Gallery and Cove Street Arts.

We enjoyed viewing a lot of realistic and expressionistic coastal landscapes along with a variety of other themes and styles.

We were intrigued by these large brushes and tubes of paint all made out of glass. (the brushes were 2 feet in length.)

I discovered that there are other artists using images of stones. It was interesting to see how they depicted them. Mine is on the right.

I apologize for not taking the time to record the artist’s names.

The Cove Street Gallery was in a huge space and displayed several exhibits. One was a show of prints by Peregrine Press, a group of printmakers with a shared studio in Portland. Some of the work pushed the traditional definition of prints, like the one that consisted of cut outs that were mounted around a corner of the gallery.

We then visited the Portland Museum of Art, a real gem of a museum featuring the work of artists, both contemporary and historic, who have lived and worked in Maine full or part-time. Here is a short list of notable artists who have found inspiration in Maine:
George Wesley Bellows – Frank Weston Benson – Frederic E. Church – Thomas Cole – Thomas Doughty – Richard Estes – Red Groom – Marsden Hartley  – Robert Henri  – Winslow Homer – Edward Hopper – Robert Indiana – Alex Katz  – Rockwell Kent = Fitz Henry Lane – John Marin – Louise Nevelson – Georgia O’Keefe – Fairfield Porter – Neil Welliver – Andrew Wyeth – Jamie Wyeth – N.C. Wyeth – Marguerite Zorach – William Zorach

Some of these artists were attracted to Maine as instructors or students at the Skowhegan School of Art, a nine-week summer residency program now in its 75th year.

In addition to an impressive permanent collection of art, we viewed two special exhibits. The first was an exhibit of very large photographs by Clifford Ross. The photos that I was most taken with were of waves where the exquisite tones and detail of the water along with the scale of the prints combined for a powerful impact. As I stood in front of the images I could almost hear the sound of crashing waves. They were beautiful.

Betsey breathing the salt air.

In dramatic contrast with the waves, we viewed a portfolio of screen prints by Richard Estes of urban scapes. In Estes’ Photorealism, he heightens the sensation of light in his paintings through contrast and highly polished surfaces. Nothing is out of focus – he collapses the space between background and foreground and reflections on windows with images behind the glass, which is something the eye does not do. (Looking at a reflection your eye focuses on the surface of the glass. To see what is behind the glass, your eye refocuses. So, you can see both by refocusing, but you cannot see both at the very same moment. It is the same when looking at something up close and then refocusing to view something in the background. But the lens of a camera can keep all in focus with a long depth of field.) By doing this, Estes creates patches of abstract patterns and hard edges in a super-clean environment void of humans. I appreciate how creative he is with his compositions.

We spent a night at this comfortable resort hotel in Rockland, Me. that overlooks the ocean.

We also visited galleries and the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Me., known for exhibiting the work of N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth.

The museum had two exhibits focusing on the accomplishments of Maine women. One of them was devoted to Betsy Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth’s wife, who managed his career, catalogued his extensive output of work, promoted him and acted as his agent. Here are a couple of the paintings of Betsey done by Andrew.

Here is a painting by Jamie Wyeth demonstrating that he learned a lot from his father.

And here is a painting by N.C. Wyeth, Jamie’s grandfather.

Women of Vision honored the following women: photographer Berenice Abbott, businesswoman Linda Bean; painter Katherine Bradford; philanthropist Edith Dixon; photographer Cig Harvey; poet Edna St. Vincent Millay; sculptor Louise Nevelson; philanthropist Elizabeth Noyce; Molly Neptune Parker, basket maker and Passamaquoddy civic leader; Maurine Rothschild, women’s advocate and philanthropist; Phyllis Wyeth, champion of the arts and education; and artist Marguerite Zorach.

This is a hooked tapestry by Marguerite Zorach.

The Farnsworth also featured an exhibit of art by Robert Indiana done as a homage to the artist, Marsden Hartley. Hartley executed a series of paintings in Berlin in 1914-15 that refer to a friend, a soldier, who was killed in the war. These paintings are very early experiments with abstraction.

Indiana’s silkscreen series, titled Hartley Elegies, pays homage to Hartley. From the museum: The ten large-scale silkscreen prints of Indiana’s Hartley Elegies comprise a visual poem on the two artists’ shared interests in radical formal vocabularies, and their innovative combinations of words and numbers into their boldly colored geometric compositions.  They were also a coded commentary on their lives as gay men, as well as their experiences of living and working in Maine after leaving the artistic center of New York that earlier had nourished their careers.

This is one of Hartley’s paintings in his War Series, some titles of these works refer to German Officers.

Here are two of Indiana’s versions in his well known Pop Art style.

Rockland has quite a few galleries, but some of them were closed for the season. There were a couple of galleries still open that exhibited high quality art. One in particular, was the Stanhope and Spencer Gallery that displayed metal work by goldsmith, Henry van Wyck Spenser. This was the sign on his door.

In addition to the fabulous gold jewelry, the gallery also carried beautiful metal art containers by David Huang. Betsey now owns one of these gorgeous, unique objects.

Along the way, we were keeping an eye out for public art and encountered several murals.

This one in Portland contained bits of tiles, ceramics, and mirrors that sparkled in the sun.

Can you find the ceramic kitty?

These murals are in Rockland.

In downtown Rockland we saw an utility box covered with stickers. On close inspection, we discovered that the stickers were entrance stickers to the Farnsworth and Contemporary Art Museum. So we added ours!

As we traveled along, we had wonderful views of the Maine coastline, not yet quite “peak” foliage. Here are some views taken in Acadia National Park.

We took a little side trip to Port Clyde and we passed these cows eating pumpkins. Of course when I wanted to take a picture, they weren’t interested in eating. But I was patient and finally got my snap.

In Thomaston we stopped at the Maine State Prison Woodworking Shop, which is filled with all things wooden from furniture to gadgets to toys to jewelry. The shop has been on Rt. 1 for ages and has more than 10,000 people following it on Facebook!

In Bar Harbor we visited Willis Rock Store, another Maine institution.

We had some great meals, but lobster was not one of them! We passed by the famous Red’s Lobster Shack in Wiscassett, saw the long line (which is usually there) and passed on by.

Instead we had great ethnic meals: Lebanese, Thai and Indian. We recommend Olives in Portland for gyros and swarmas.

In Ellsworth, we enjoyed Massaman curries at Thai Sana where I met up with Mary Ann, a friend and travel companion who now lives in Maine.

We had to work for our Indian meal. The restaurant, Namaste, appeared on Google Maps as located on the same street as our hotel. We ordered by phone and went to pick it up. But, although we looked really hard, we did not see the restaurant or any signs for it. We drove to Rockland, then to Rockport, and backtracked, laughing as our stomachs grumbled, amazed that we could not find our dinner! As it turned out we travelled about 15 miles going back and forth to finally finding it .02 miles from our hotel, or 3 minutes walking. The reason we had such difficulties is that the restaurant was located off the road among motel units with NO SIGN.

We ravished our eggplant curry!

We had two outstanding breakfasts, each at a diner. In Portland, we ate at Becky’s along the waterfront.

In Darmriscotta, we dined at Moody’s famous Diner.

Cheese filled sausage, and biscuits with sausage gravy. Yummy!

It was a wonderful trip and we are looking for another destination. Stay tuned.

Michigan Part 3

Charlotte and I traveled the area looking for art galleries. We wanted to see what Michigan artists were creating and, perhaps, find galleries that might be interested in carrying our own artwork. As would be expected, we found many galleries carrying art that reflected the region, with varying degrees of quality of execution. We were pleased to discover some galleries featuring high quality art.

Here is Charlotte at Sleeping Bear Gallery in Empire, MI that carried her transformed organ pipes. For Charlotte’s website, click here.

One of the largest galleries in the region is Synchronicity Gallery in Glen Arbor.

We spent a bit of time in Leland, MI, which is where I spent eight summers working to earn money to pay for my university education – an undergraduate and two graduate degrees. I waitressed at the Bluebird Restaurant, a popular, family-friendly restaurant with a reputation for great food, especially Lake Michigan white fish. It was so popular that we would stop taking reservations for weekend dining on Thursday! I worked really hard and played really hard! It was a wonderful place to work. I and the other waitresses lived in the apartment above the restaurant.

The restaurant is located on a river, so patrons can arrive by car or boat in from Lake Leelanau, an inland lake. The dining capacity has greatly expanded since I worked there.

The restaurant has been operated by the same family since 1927. I worked for Leone Telgard, her son, Jim, and daughter-in-law, Nancy. Now, one of Leone’s grandson’s , Skip, manages it. His older brother, Cris, operates a Mexican import shop in town. When I first worked there, Leone’s grandsons were seven and eleven. Now they are sixty-six and seventy! I was able to connect with Nancy, Skip and Cris and enjoyed reminiscing with them about when I was there in the 60’s.

Nancy Telgard and sons Skip and Cris.

Pictures from the mid-60’s: on the left are some of the waitresses in front of the player piano next to the jukebox in the dining room. On the right is Jim Telgard with waitresses behind the bar.

Left: L_R: Diane, me, Linda, and Nancy

Bluebird website

Leland is located on Lake Michigan and is small like other towns in the area. It has a winter-time population of 377 which grows many fold during the summer with summer residents and tourists. The commercial section of Leland takes up two blocks on Main Street. There is no stop sign or traffic light on Main Street. The harbor has been upgraded since my time there and attracts pleasure boats navigating the Great Lakes.

Leland is known for its quaint, historic fishing harbor, “Fishtown,” where commercial fisheries maintain shanties and dock their fish tugs. Many of the old shanties are now gift shops.

Once we arrived in Fishtown, Charlotte remembered that she and her late husband had stayed at the Falling Waters Hotel forty years ago.

Frames around which fishnets were strung to dry
Smoke house on the right

I used to take a hunk of bread and a beer and get fresh smoked chubs and sit on the dock and enjoy lunch. Yum!

Below is a Fishtown scene, dated 1965, that I painted. To this day, it hangs on the wall of the Bluebird.

Another art project that I undertook one summer was to make silkscreened posters. Mark Carlson, son of one of the local fishermen, and I made and sold collectable posters advertising the Bluebird and his father’s fishery. We charged $5 per poster, and after paying for expenses, we each made $50 on the sales!

Charlotte and I took our search for art into nearby counties and discovered another outdoor sculpture display. The Elk Rapids Art Walk, more modest in scale than the Meijer Gardens, is set in a woodland park. It was very pleasant strolling the trails along the beach and through woodland settings to view the sculptures.

(The orange Honda was our vehicle for the trip.)

After visiting Charlevoix, we returned to Traverse City and visited the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a unique collection of shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants in a cluster of cream-colored brick buildings in a Victorian-Italianate style surrounded by 140 acres of beautiful wooded grounds and a botanical garden. The buildings date to 1885 and were constructed as part of the Northern Michigan Asylum for mental patients. The main building is 1/4 mile long.

From the website: At the time of its completion, The Northern Michigan Asylum served 39 counties, including all of the Upper Peninsula, and almost immediately there was demand for additional patient rooms. Starting in the 1890s, standalone cottages  were constructed to serve the increasing patient population.

Just as Building 50 was segregated, so were the exterior cottages. Cottages to the south were for the men and the cottages to the north for the women. Cottages also provided spaces to separate patients from the larger population based on severity of condition, age or illness. For example, Cottages 19 and 20 were patient infirmaries, the “hospitals within the hospital” for patients recovering from surgery or contagious diseases.

Founding Medical Superintendent, Dr. James Decker Munson, had a very progressive philosophy regarding the treatment of mental patients.

Munson, believed If patients were surrounded by a beautiful environment, from the architecture to the campus grounds, their emotional and mental state would be uplifted. He made an effort to ensure that patients felt at home rather than trapped in an unfamiliar place. Use of physical restraints was forbidden, except for the most extreme patient situations. Meals at the hospital were served in dining rooms on fine china glazed with the State Seal atop white linen tablecloths. Fresh flowers and plants decorated dining tables & resting areas. Artwork and inspirational sayings adorned the walls of the wide hallways.

Renovation began in 2002 to preserve and repurpose the buildings. Today 30% of the project is completed and renovation continues.

Charlotte and I visited the 4 story, main building where we found interesting shops, boutiques, and restaurants on the ground floor.

It was as we began looking around that we met a delightful woman, Lucy, who offered to answer any questions that we had. She then offered to give us a tour of the upper stories of the building, which are residential, and to tell us about the renovation. We gladly accepted her offer!

These photos show you before and after views of the wide corridors.

Today, the residential units are condos, many used for AirB&B’s. Lucy invited us to see her unit, located in the attic. It was a spacious and well designed space with quality details and interesting angles. Some of the historical features were maintained like exposed brick walls.

This is Lucy in her kitchen. It had a very high, angled ceiling and skylights. She revealed to us that she was 92 years old, absolutely loved her condo unit, and her secret for good health was a tablespoon of cod liver oil daily and an exercise routine. We marveled at her enthusiastic attitude toward life!

Lucy was expecting a visit from her son and had made three batches of cookies. She insisted that we each take a cookie from each batch! We agreed that Lucy was one of the highlights of our trip!

On the return trip, Charlotte and I marveled at how well the trip had gone. We had perfect weather every day, experienced interesting art, met friendly people, had comfortable and clean accommodating, and great food. And our timing was right on – we left the area feeling we had seen everything we set out to see.

Charlotte did all of the driving, insisting that she preferred driving to navigating. I managed to get us to where we were going fairly well. I had maps on my lap and my new, first smart phone to help. I am grateful that Charlotte has a great sense of humor when it came to me leading her off track requiring U turns and backtracking on a number of occasions!

I still have the hankering to travel, just haven’t decided where next.

Michigan Part 2

In all, we traveled about 3000 miles roundtrip on our jaunt from Cleveland to Michigan. The focus of our travels was on Leelanlau County, which is the “little finger” peninsula of the Michigan mitten. It sticks out into Lake Michigan.

Our base was in Maple City at a comfortable apartment, and from there, it was about 20 miles to Glen Arbor, to Leland, and to Traverse City. We traveled the peninsula enjoying the scenic views as we looked for art galleries.fThe countryside in this part of Michigan is beautiful! As we toured we experienced rolling hills, lots of forests with very large trees, miles of cherry orchards, picturesque farms with wheat and corn fields, lots of vineyards, and, of course, the beaches of Lake Michigan as well as those of inland lakes.

Lake Michigan’s water is crystal clear and beaches are sandy above the stoney edge.

This is my favorite beach in the area. Here is where I spent eight summers many years ago sunny myself, swimming and walking the shoreline looking for Petsokey stones (petrified freshwater coral.)

Vineyards are increasing in the region where award winning wines are produced.

This region is the cherry capital of the US and cherry products of all sorts are sold – candies, pies and pastries, dried cherries, vinegars, jams, jellies, and preserves.

Along the shore of Lake Michigan near Glen Arbor is Sleeping Bear National Park consisting of 450 ft. high bluffs of beach sand along a shoreline of 65 miles.

From the park website: Although the Lakeshore is long and narrow, it still has the depth for excellent representations of several northern hardwood and conifer forest types, abandoned farm site meadows, wetlands, lakes, streams, and bogs and splendid examples of glacially caused landforms.

A popular site is Sleeping Bear Dune, a huge dune named from a Native American legend that told of a mama bear and two cubs swimming across Lake Michigan. Due to a storm, the cubs didn’t make it and they formed two islands off the coast, North and South Manitou Islands. The mama bear made it to shore and rests there for her cubs to return. The exhausting, but fun sport at Sleeping Bear Dune is to scramble up the dune, slipping back in the sand with every step, and once at the top, running and tumbling down! Great fun!! I did it many years ago, but not this time.

The National Park also includes the two off-shore islands. Charlotte and I took a ferry and spent a day exploring South Manitou. The uninhabited island measures 3 miles by 3 miles and consists of trails, abandoned farms, a lighthouse, and campsites. The island was settled in the 1830’s and eventually gained a population of 170 permanent residents. They practiced subsistence farming and provided cord wood to steamers passing by on the lake. When steamers began using coal, the population on the island diminished.

We encountered several abandoned farmhouses that the Park Service has kept by. I took this photo from inside the foundation of an old barn. The lower part of the foundation was made of stone, but the upper part was made with wood and mortar.

There is a wrecked ship on the other side of the island. We did not have time to see it.

We did learn about shipwrecks on the Lake Michigan at the Leelanau Historical Museum. Since the early 1800’s there have been 1500 ships wrecked by ferocious storms, fires, and groundings. As the water level in the lake recedes, more of these wrecks are visible.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Michigan

Michigan Part 1

I recently spent several days in the Leelanau County of Michigan. I traveled with my friend and travel buddy, Charlotte, who is a sculptor. So on our way north we spent a day in Grand Rapids visiting the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Neither of us had heard of the park and we only found out about it by Googling places of interest in Michigan, so we had no expectations. But, WOW, were we pleased with our visit there!

Frederik Meijer inherited and expanded a chain of stores in the upper mid-west. The stores are a one stop for all, much like Walmart, with groceries, pharmacy, home goods, etc. Even gas stations. He also collected sculpture.

From the garden website: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened in April 1995 after 13 years of planning and fundraising by the West Michigan Horticultural Society. In 1990, Fred and Lena Meijer were asked for their support, and they embraced the concept of a major cultural attraction centering around horticulture and sculpture. The original vision has turned into a top cultural destination in the Midwest region, known internationally for the quality of the art and gardens.

On display are 300 permanent sculptures located both outdoors and in the conservatories. There are also temporary exhibits with work on loan. Charlotte and I strolled through the extensive gardens that spread over 158 beautifully maintained acres that includes lakes, ponds, streams and waterfalls along with specialty gardens such as wetlands, a large Japanese garden, children’s gardens, meadows, flowers, even vegetable gardens. They also have a huge outdoor amphitheater and are in the process of adding more.

And we viewed sculptures by world famous artists! Here are just a few.

Claes Oldenburg on the left and Roxy Paine on the right.
Barbara Hepworth on the left and Louise Nevelson on the right.
Magdalena Aabakanowicz
Andy Goldworthy

Andy Goldworthy’s arch reminded me of a print I made recently, also a stone arch!

Joan Hausrath
Juan Munoz
Nina Akamu

This HUGE bronze horse is 24 feet high. Look for Charlotte for a sense of scale.

We saw many, many more impressive sculptures including ones by Rodin, Degas, Miro, Calder, and Serra. It was a wonderful day! Here is Charlotte getting friendly with Fredrik Meijer and his wife.

Leelanau County, Michigan coming next.

Visiting NYC

I just returned from NYC, my first post- vaccination travel. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the New York Botanical Garden to see the delightful installations by the popular Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. At 92, she is experiencing international attention with exhibitions in major museums all over the world that feature colorful and highly ambitious installations employing her signature polka dots and, sometimes, mirrors that create infinity environments. Google “Kusama artist” images to see her wild aesthetic. To learn more about here, visit: https://whitney.org/exhibitions/yayoi-kusama

Kusama’s artwork was sited at several at locations throughout the gardens. The weather was nice, warm with a slight cloud coverage, which was perfect for strolling the grounds. I enjoyed the day with my friends Linda and Margery.

Kusama likes pumpkins. Here is one of her whimsical variations on one.

And here is another one.

Exotic flower sculptures were exhibited in the conservatory and in the waterlily pool.

In addition to the artwork, we enjoyed the natural wonders of the gardens and conservatory plantings.

In full bloom were peonies – many, many beautiful and unusually varieties. Here are a few.

We finished our tour by walking through a grove of wrapped trees.

This is the fence at the Botanical Garden train stop.

I also visited a retrospective of paintings by Alice Neel (1900 – 1984), People Come First, at the MET. Neel painted people without glamorizing them. Instead she used expressive color and line along with candid poses that sometimes appear a bit awkward when compared with conventional portraits. Because the figures often stare directly at the viewer, they make a psychological connection. She was a champion of social causes and her subjects are from all walks of life. As a feminist, she painted women nudes in a forthright manner, even pregnant women. I especially liked the paintings she did during the last two decades of her life. Here are a few. For more about Alice Neel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Neel

At the Museum of Art and Design I viewed a glass work by Beth Lipman consisting of a banquet table piled high and low with dazzling hand crafted glass bowls, candle sticks, plates, goblets, vases with ferns, and even table linens (broken pieces were heaped under the table.) In the dark setting, the glass looked especially fragile, like ice crystals. The work is reminiscent of 17th century Dutch still lifes that speak of materialism and over abundance.

While out and about in the city, I encountered some interesting public art. Here is a mural, also with a flower theme, located in SoHo.

This is a sculpture by Robert Cook, titled Dinoceras. It is a large cast bronze piece with sweeping lines and a rough surface that is sited against the smooth and sleek geometry of the building behind it.

And then there is subway art! At 86th and 2nd ave, the subway station displays multiple images of paintings by Chuck Close executed in mosaic tiles. Here are two of them.

This porcelain enamel piece by Josh Scharf was installed at the subway stop for Carnegie Hall.

These glass windows were at the Jazz Museum train stop.

And then I discovered a form of street art new to me: Sticker Graffiti, Sticker Tagging, Sticker Bombing, Sticker Slapping. Sticker art has been around for a number of years without my being aware of it until I walked down Prince Street in NYC where I noticed multiple surfaces covered with stickers. I learned from Wikipedia that there is a sticker culture and a sticker industry! Some stickers are just tags, but other advertise, others are statements relating to causes, and some are images. This street art exists around the world.

The multiple stickers on the mailbox in the center say, “I like you.”

My next travels will take me to Michigan. I’ll report on my trip in a couple of weeks.

A Weekend with the DuPonts

I just returned from spending a delightful long weekend with friends outside of Philadelphia visiting two du Pont estates, Winterthur and Longwood Gardens. I had visited both places thirty years ago, but enjoyed returning at a different time of the year because the grounds and gardens change seasonally.

Winterthur was the boyhood home of Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969.)  As an adult, Henry began to collect American decorative arts including architectural moldings and panelling, and to display them, he had some of the rooms in his mansion redone to display his collection. As his passion increased, additions were built on to the original portion of the house until now it is a museum with 175 period rooms with 90,000 objects that date between 1640 and 1860.

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We toured about 10 of the rooms, some were rooms that Henry and his family lived in and others that were purely showrooms. There were some rooms that Henry imported in their entirety from other historic homes including wall paper and floor boards.

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Henry, his wife, and two daughters loved to entertain and used both their home as well as the grounds for their parties.

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The landscaping on the 60 acre estate is naturalistic with lots of specimen trees and shrubs arranged as glens, meadows, and wooded areas.  Winterthur is very well known for its fabulous display of azaleas, but we were a bit too early to see it.  Just a few were beginning to bloom. We did enjoy both pink and white  dogwood and cherry trees.

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Longwood Gardens and house was the home of Pierre S. du Pont (1870 – 1954) whose passion was horticulture. During his life time, he created spectacular gardens of all sorts, a huge conservatory, and behind the scenes growing areas where plants were grown for display and research. The estate consists of 1000 acres of gardens and today has a budget of $50 million and a staff of 1,300 employees, students, and volunteers.  The house is very modest and is used as a small museum today.  The gardens, on the other hand, are spectacular!

We visited the conservatory first where there are 4600 plants in room after room, many with their own climate control. Most of the plants are changed throughout the year so they are viewed at the height of their blooming period.

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We took a tour of the greenhouses which revealed how extensive the work is behind the scenes and how much research is done to improve plant stock.  We also learned that a major concern is to prevent diseases and insects from entering the gardens.  To this end, the new plants are all propagated in the greenhouses.  And they make their own garden soil in the room pictured below.

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Now the staff is growing and preparing mums and poinsettias for fall and winter displays.

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Here is a yellow Cllivia that was developed at Longwood.

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All of the watering both in the greenhouses and in the conservatory is done by hand.  The hoses have valves that operate various water sources.

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In the conservatory, the hoses are in the floor and the controls for the water options use special keys.

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All of the maintenance in the conservatory and gardens is done at night – we saw no grounds crews at all.  And, all of the plants were in prime condition – no fading blooms or brown leaves at all!

Below is a wall garden with thousands of plants.  The corridor leads to the restrooms and in 2015 they were designated as the best public restrooms in the US.

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The highlight of the outside gardens were the tulips which were in full display!  The photos look like they are right out of a bulb catalogue!

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We finished our visit with the Italian garden that has a fountain feature.

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Longwood is a place to return to many times because the gardens and displays change all the time.  For instance, there are extensive waterlily pools that don’t open until May.  There is also a mature topiary garden, a rose garden, wisteria and peony gardens, meadows, and more.  They are currently remodeling the main fountains that are programed for a light, sound, and dancing water display.  For more information, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longwood_Gardens.

While we were in mushroom territory, we visited a mushroom display room to see how they are commercially grown.

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And for lunch I had a delicious porcini crepe!

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Our final stop was a visit to the Brandywine River Museum to view paintings by the Wyeths and other painters in the American realist tradition.

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In two weeks I am going to Sicily and expect to have lots to post then. Ciao for now.