Monday, August 2, 2010

Wow!...What a Wednesday!

It never seems to slow down in the summertime around here and one thing always leads to at least three other things but, I'm sure, I wouldn't have it any other way.  This past Wednesday, Peter and I drove up to Pennsburg, Pennsylvania on yet another buying trip--of all things--for small garden statuary to have on hand and sell at the upcoming fall fairs.  It's a long drive, but always a worthwhile one.  We came upon a field of false sunflower (helianthus) growing tall and in peak bloom.  The bright and sunny flowers waved at us and were so welcoming, we had to stop and ask them to pose for a picture.  It was a hot and sunny day but the helianthus didn't seem to have a care in the world.  Once we reached the garden statuary factory, it was a another field--this time full of urns and pots and statues of all kinds and it was hard to resist the temptation to pick out one of everything...oh, if only!  Below is just a very small sampling of what we brought home to sell.  All very small and intricate in detail so that these statues could be used for decoration inside or outside of the home and help the buyer to remember the beauty of nature all year long.

The day did not stop here.  After all, it was only two o'clock.  When the car was packed and we were ready to move on, we decided to take another way home and drink in the scenery of the Pennsylvania countryside on a late July afternoon.

We headed southeast (not southwest towards Philomont and Blooming Hill) to a place where Peter's friend--another Landscape Architect, had suggested we go and check out a fabulous garden nursery called Terrain in the town of Glen Mills just south of Philadelphia and, again, this was also a wonderfully worthwhile stop reminding us of a "new age, California style" establishment with all of the bells and whistles, beautiful plants and lovely things that only this unique plant nursery, cafe and garden gift shop in Pennsylvania could offer a garden guru and goddess (that's Peter and me I'm referring to, here.)

Beyond the cornucopia of colors and fragrances, what captivated us the most was the collection of unique fountains set up throughout the place.  Zinc troughs, antique pumps, stone structures and vintage farm tools used long ago, and some still necessary to farm life today, took on contemporary persona's with character and panache.  Terrain is surely a place to gather ideas for your own gardens regardless of whether your personal style is country classic or urban chic., not only were the fountains great, the store was, too and I tried to sneak out with just a few pieces of garden "chachke", just for me but to no avail.  I was caught with my purchases, red-handed, by Peter who was manning the camera.  I had hoped he was admiring the view but instead, had his eye on me and the charge card at all times.  But I don't care...two little handmade velveteen pumpkins and a small glass cloche are going to look great on a coffee table at home.

By this time last Wednesday, it was only four o'clock in the afternoon. The day was still young with the sun still high in the sky but we were still very far from home, so on we traveled, after a brief stop for new phone necessities at a Verizon Store and pillows for Kevin's dorm room at a Home Goods Store.  Back into the car and we were on our way down through the lovely little town of Chad's Ford and then on through it's neighbor, Kennett Square, where all at once, like a beacon shining in the night and poised before us was Longwood Gardens!  How could we not stop?!  It would be something close to being "sac-religious' for a garden guru and goddess, such as ourselves, not to stop and at least take a quick look around.  My mother-in-law, a life-long and very knowledgeable gardener has been there many times and through the years has told us to take the time to visit this exquisite horticultural and architectural landmark.  However, life and our own gardens here at Blooming Hill always seemed to get in the way.  But, on this particular Wednesday, fate stepped in, took us by the hand and led us through a dazzling place full of stunning sculptures and magical gardens both inside and out, with the crowning glory being the most majestic of conservatories you could ever set your eyes upon.  It was 4:30 in the afternoon and we had no choice but to succumb to the call of this elegant landmark.  We bought our tickets and found ourselves in hog heaven on a hot and sultry late afternoon, admiring everything from rose arbors to stately, old copper beach trees...

There was so much to take in, explore and just enjoy at here Fountains galore with reflecting pools, waterfalls and other water features, garden structures everywhere and each one better than the next.  Hidden paths and formal walkways led to beautiful garden venues and rooms that were carefully tended with special attention to detail.  The topiary garden was my favorite and flower gardens were placed everywhere--reds spilling into pinks overflowing into purples and trickling into blues, all punctuated with hues of yellows and greens.  Longwood Gardens is truly is a treasure to behold.  You really should go if you haven't visited this spectacular place already.

The "palacious" conservatory  has over 20 rooms from an Orangery and a Rose House to a Mediterranean Garden and a Tropical Terrace with a grand ballroom to top it all off...

A lovely view of the Conservatory in all of it's summer splendor.

 And then, all too soon, it was 6:00pm...closing time...time for Peter and I to finally head for home.  But we couldn't let this wonderful day go to waste..especially Peter, who, is to fountains like white is to rice!  Brainstorming all the way home, he already had an idea for yet another fountain...Terrain style. One more stop on the way home at Loews for a pump and some plumbing equipment...and Peter got to work!

The old copper tub came from my mother when we were first married.  It's been sitting in the basement filled with Kevin's basketballs and baseballs.  Kevin warned me, "It's going to turn green outside, now."  I can't wait!
My Sister Chris gave me this old pump, several years ago, from her vast collections of everything old, antique and vintage.  If you are looking for it, chances are Chris has at least one or two from glass dresser pulls to cranberry lampshades to oak furniture and depression glass.  She will  have her own antique store, one day when she can bring herself to part with her treasures.  But, for now, I'm happy that she loved me enough as her sister to give up an old outdoor pump.  Chris, I know we did you proud, here...

No...this didn't get done on Wednesday night (silly you!)  We ran out of time but the whole fountain pump, which Tucker put his seal of approval on, was done on Sunday morning before we went to church.  Yes...your suspicions are correct...the Rinek's are very good "multi-taskers."

Yes, I know this was a very long blog to share with you today, but it was an action-packed Wednesday full of charming adventure and ideas that I just had to tell you about and it was all good stuff, am I right?!.  There is always so much to do and so little time to do it in but, I'm glad we took a different way home giving way to a wonderful outing culminating in complementing my own "Conservatory" with a vintage water feature (a la Peter and Chris) and, a little inspiration from Terrain and Longwood Gardens!
  Our humble plant abode that overlooks both the knot garden and herb garden, now with it's new pump fountain, is always unique, sunny and loaded with charm and character.  It may not be formal or even fancy, but we call it "home" for plants that we love.  There's a monster pumpkin vine presently overtaking the floor of the green house right now.  Hardly a Longwood kind of a thing to do but, it is done in the Blooming Hill style.

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