Monday, April 12, 2010

Poem for Monday and Du Pont Estates

Afternoon on a Hill
By Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing
    Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
    And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
    With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
    And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
    Up from the town
I will mark which must be mine,
    And then start down!


We spent a glorious spring day in the Brandywine Valley with Dementordelta at Winterthur and Longwood Gardens. We drove first to Delaware to visit Winterthur, where the azaleas are not yet in bloom but the bluebells, redbuds, magnolias, dogwoods, and beds of daffodils are -- plus three colors of trillium, including one with marbled leaves. We got off the tram at the children's garden, where we had a picnic overlooking the labyrinth after visiting the stone circle, Maypole, and fairy cottages. Then we went to see the soup tureens and reflecting pool (with many resident frogs) before touring the fifth and sixth floors of the mansion, which include guest rooms, the conservatory, the dining room, and the Montmorency staircase.

After walking back to the visitor center through the trees, we drove to Longwood, where we became members so we can go back in other seasons. There's a new exhibit, Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance, in the conservatory with a display on perfume-making and bottles, plus dozens of fragrant plants all over the estate labeled for their aromatic properties. There are hundreds of tulips in bloom outdoors, and a huge array of color in the conservatory, which also has roses, palms, cacti, bonsai, orchids, and room after room of herbs. We stopped for a quick dinner at Subway before driving back to Maryland under a glowing pink sunset, then we watched the season premiere of The Tudors, which makes the Du Pont lifestyle look low-key!

Paul and the kids on the steps leading from the reflecting pool to the mansion at Winterthur.

Me with Paul in the fairy ring in the garden.

Our lunchtime view past the labyrinth at the flowering trees.

The views from inside the house were equally beautiful -- here are flowering trees out the window of the sitting room with wallpaper portraying an Italian seaport.

Me and Dementordelta by some of the hundreds of tulips at Longwood Gardens.

We saw more than one bride and groom taking photos on the beautiful grounds.

There were lots of spring pinks and purples in the central area of the conservatory...

...and reproductions of artwork to illustrate the exhibit on plants and perfume (these are from Bosse's The Five Senses: Smell, Bourdelin's The Young Arab, and Waterhouse's The Shrine).

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