I’ve always loved Japanese gardens. We lived near Washington Park in Portland, OR in my first apartment I shared with a roommate. They are having snow there now. I doubt if those gardens are increasing anyone’s longevity if they have to shovel snow. It might be peaceful, though.
You are going to have to be satisfied looking at these serene pictures. I want to experience peace and long life in person. Does it get any better than this? I’ll let you know so you can plan your trip to Australia to live longer yourself.
Peace and Longevity
by Carol Sherritt
October: A Garden Portrait Japanese stroll gardens are places of contemplation and harmony where visitors can wander along meandering paths through thoughtfully planned landscapes.The Japanese Garden at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba is the largest stroll garden in Australia. Its traditional design includes large rocks, a tumbling waterfall and a central lake surrounded by sweeping lawns and sloping beds of Japanese and Australian native plants.
Mark your calendars for October 8th for an entertaining Woodlake Pride evening at the Woodlake Botanical Gardens. Starting at 4:00 pm.
That sounds fun!
Woodlake is a foothill town of about 7,000 nestled in the center a circle of foothills on the west side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Bravo Lake occupies a large chunk of the heart of the town. In 1912 when Gilbert Stevenson purchased the acres to build the city, he envisioned a beautiful tourist town. BUT Stevenson built a levee around the town’s primary landmark, obscuring it from view.
Whaaaa?? Was he shortsighted or something?
Maybe, but Olga and Manuel Jimenez had some great ideas to beautify the levees.
And the City of Woodlake agreed to it?
You bet. They bought the land.
What do you do with a big lake no one can see?
Worse than that, the area around it was vacant or worse – a weed haven. Manuel and Olga Jimenez change blight into bright and created Woodlake Pride, a service organization to perpetuate the beautiful park setting they created.
A student narrates the story of Manuel Jimenez’s vision for a student community service organization which he called Woodlake Pride in the video Woodlake Pride’s Wonderful World.
The real plan that Olga had was to “grow kids by planting gardens.” They started planting gardens in 1989, but eventually the city purchased 13 acres to turn into the beautiful gardens that we see today. The 1,700 rose bushes alone make this a wonderful world.
“It’s not like Disneyland,” Manuel Jimenez states.
Although it does not feature the number of varieties of roses found in famous gardens like the Boston Rose Garden, everyone marvels at the many varieties of plant life the Woodlake Botanical Garden on the way to the Sequoia National Park. It has become a major draw for sight-seeing.
It is that inspiring tale of what one person, or in this case a couple, can do in a community if they put their heart and soul into it.
“The legacy I want to leave Woodlake is just the beauty. It’s amazing what a seed can produce,” Olga shared.
Do you love history? Most humans want to know what life was like for those who lived in the past. We are also curious about the rich and famous.
In this post, you get both, the rich and famous of the past.
Brief History of the Pierce Home in Longwood Gardens
William Penn sold George Pierce the land in 1700. Pierce built his home there in 1730. To save Pierce’s Park or Pierce’s Woods, scheduled for eradication at the local lumber mill, Du Pont purchased the Pierce home and surrounding acreage. Longwood Gardens became the weekend home of Pierre Samuel du Pont in 1906.
The Du Pont Family
Pierre Samuel Du Pont, one of 11 children, helped raise his siblings when his father died, and he married late in life.
Pierre du Pont stood tall after his father passed away, leaving him as head of household. How many people do you know would take that responsibility seriously, and finish their education? He graduated from MIT at the age of twenty.
He devoted his life to running the family business, but also managed General Motors in the mid 20th century.
Under his management, GM enjoyed some of its most prosperous years. However, he did not consider real estate a good investment. He was not married when he purchased the nearly 200-year-old home in 1906. It became his pet project after he decided that he could do a better job of designing gardens than his designer.
A Simple Home
When he married, he and his wife enjoyed expanding the many features of the home where they could entertain many people. John Phillip Sousa was one of the many that came to the du Pont home in Kennett Square, PA.
Hal did not think this simple home seemed like the home of a multi-millionaire. It was a weekend home that reflected the simplicity of life in 1730. Du Pont felt at the time that he probably made an investment mistake. His motives were philanthropic and environmental. The video you can watch on the du Pont side of the reflecting home connects the pieces of the story.
I hope you enjoyed this short tour of the George Pierce and Pierre du Pont home. You won’t want to miss a trip to Longwood Gardens when you visit Pensylvania or Delaware.
In Winterthur Garden visit #1, we visited began our tour in the Enchanted Woods. I arrived in Delaware on September 1, too late for spring flowers, and too early for fall trees. Did I enjoy it anyway?
You bet. I hope you will, too.
“Let’s start at the very beginning…A very good place to start.”
Too Many Choices!
Down by the Quarry Garden
On the first day we walked, we headed towards the Quarry Garden. We walked mostly in the shade which meant that we walked for hours in about 75-degree weather. This is heaven for me because it is 75 degrees where I live for about two hours, four days a year.
We had not walked too far when Hal informed me that when he walked with his young Chinese friends, they took off and left him to take pictures while he checked out the various benches. I was quick to take a hint, and I headed off to the Quarry.
As you can see, the gardens were not crowded. We ran into another couple out on their morning walk. A couple of families, thousands of crickets, birds, and other noise makers were there, but other than that we had the entire 1,000 acres to ourselves.
Stones are everywhere in Delaware: streets, houses, churches, fences, and pathways. The quarry must have done a lucrative business. I could not wait to get closer to the stream.
I maneuvered myself along the stone path by the water without falling one time. Since I can fall just standing still, this is quite an accomplishment. I never stand near cliffs or on tall bridges without railings.
Focus on Flowers
Age is not the reason I struggle with names of plants, in fact, names of almost anything. Details escape me. I’m too busy taking in the vista. I hope you’ll forgive me and just enjoy these summer flowers also.
The delicate purple tips fit perfectly on the mild summer day. I traveled light on this trip so I took all these pictures with my iPhone.
The garden was more natural, not groomed like Longwood Gardens. Hal said he would rather have a job here.
The water trickled down the rocks into a larger stream eventually winding down to the quarry lake. As a child, I would have dipped my feet into the water and squished muddy sand in between my toes. I contented myself with admiring flowers.
Time slipped by quickly. I did not worry about Hal. What I really mean is that I forgot about him, but eventually I came back to reality and headed up the hill towards the Enchanted Woods where he waited on a bench watching the kids playing. As I ambled back, every flower along the path called out like a child, “Look at me, Marsha. Take my picture.” So I did.
They did not stay segregated like they were at Longwood Gardens but mingled freely together.
Some of them looked large in the picture but do not be fooled. They were tiny.
If these were children you would rumple their heads, they’re so tiny and sweet. Since they are flowers, I let them be.
As I approached the top of the knoll, I could see Hal enjoying a bench, but I still did not hurry. He seemed to enjoy the fact that it took me so long to get back. We came back for another walk two days later.
Thanks for joining us on our seasonal stroll. Thank you, Hal for such a wonderful day.
I love to walk. Hal, age 91, and I walked for two hours through Winterthur and met a couple who walked there often.
“We walk here and at Longwood Gardens,” they told us.
“Where’s that?” I asked. My mental wheels turned.
“Kennett Square, PA about 15 minutes from here.”
“You’ve never been to Longwood Gardens when you visited before?” Hal sounded incredulous that he could have overlooked something as iconic as visiting Longwood Gardens.
“Never heard of it.”
“Everyone goes to Longwood Gardens. We need to go.”
After years of practicing touring every kind of museum under the sun, the best advice I can give you about touring like an expert is never to think you are an expert. Make comparisons, guesses, then check your facts. If you know you are going somewhere, you can check your facts first, but you’ll probably forget them because you don’t need to know them yet. I love to go in green and come out with more expertise than when I went in.
That being said, you are going to become more of an expert about Longwood Gardens that I was, and can build on the knowledge you gain here.
The Outdoor Gardens at Longwood Gardens.
We arrived at about 11:30, and unlike Winterthur, there were no shady areas in which to walk. The sun warmed us and the water features added humidity to the air.
Pierre du Pont enjoyed water. We came across a lake across from the Italian Water Gardens. Framing the picture on the right is the column of a gazebo. Unless you happen to be a frog, you would not want to jump in and swim in this lake. If you do, you will look like a frog when you come out.
I stood inside the lakeside gazebo to photograph Hal looking at the lake.
What impressed me most about this gazebo was the ceiling’s intricate pattern. Pierre du Pont designed his own gardens and incorporated much of what he learned on his travels to Italy.
With thousands of plants on thousands of acres, it is a photographer’s paradise. I couldn’t click fast enough.
Hal and I wandered into the garden and through the woods until 2:30. We caught the closing chords of the organ concert in the conservatory.
We did not let much grass grow under our feet, but there was some growing over our heads.
The display of flowers on the grounds outside reminded me of Buchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. There is a lot of stonework here in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but this garden is not built into the rock quarry.
Du Pont created the Italian Water Gardens with the most elaborate water show in the world when it was built in 1925-27. He could time the display, much like they do today at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Overlooking the Italian Water Gardens is a Canopy Cathedral. What attracted me were the windows. It was not as grand as the windows led me to believe, but it is worth the short climb to go inside to look out over the meadow.
Much of the wood for this structure came from reclaimed wood. The floors came from a toothpaste factory in Toronto, Canada.
Follow me as I go upstairs.
Finally, we look through the beautiful window panes onto the meadow and Italian Water Gardens.
I hope you enjoyed your tour today of the Longwood Gardens. I’ll take you to other parts of it in another post. Stay tuned.