Friday, April 01, 2011

Poem for Friday, Longwood and Winterthur

To Althea, from Prison
By Richard Lovelace

When Love with unconfined wings
    Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
    To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair,
    And fetter'd to her eye,
The gods, that wanton in the air,
    Know no such liberty.

When flowing cups run swiftly round
    With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with roses bound,
    Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
    When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes, that tipple in the deep,
    Know no such liberty.

When (like committed linnets) I
    With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
    And glories of my king;
When I shall voice aloud how good
    He is, how great should be,
Enlarged winds, that curl the flood,
    Know no such liberty.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
    That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love,
    And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above,
    Enjoy such liberty.


The county schools were closed on Thursday for the end of the marking period, so Paul took the day off, Dementordelta came over, and we drove up to the Brandywine Valley for a lovely if drizzly afternoon in the gardens. We made a short stop first at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, which is right across the street from Winterthur and which currently has a live tarantula exhibit -- 20 tarantulas plus some other venomous arachnids, plus lots of information about them and about spiders in general -- plus the exhibits of dinosaurs and sea life that we visited briefly before heading to Winterthur for lunch in their garden cafeteria. Then we walked through the March Bank, Enchanted Garden, and various other parts of the woods; the shuttles weren't running because of the weather, but it was only barely drizzling while we were there.

We went on the briefest of the house tours, meaning we mostly saw rooms we'd been in before, though we always learn something new and there are always different flowers and furniture covers on display. Then we went to Longwood Gardens in heavier rain, meaning we spent most of our time there in the conservatory, but since the tulip beds aren't in bloom yet and it's much too early for azaleas, I don't think we missed much outdoors. There are blue poppies in several of the conservatory flower beds and still some orchids from the previous orchid display, plus many wildflowers in the rooms that used to grow fruit, hundreds of roses and hibiscus, and gorgeous color in the East Conservatory. We stopped at a Subway for dinner and watched Easy Virtue on the portable DVD player in the car on the way home.

Blue poppies in Longwood Gardens' conservatory.

Though the outdoor flower beds at Longwood are only beginning to bud, inside are thousands of colorful flowers.

The hothouse areas allow orchids, bananas, and pineapples like this one to grow all year.

Flowers cover the hillsides all around Winterthur. Here is younger son taking a photo of some of them.

You can see from Paul's and my attire in the cottage in the children's garden that it was rather chilly.

But it was warm in the house and there was lots of color in the conservatory there, too.

Here is one of the tarantulas on exhibit at the Delaware Museum of Natural History...

...and here is Tarantula Delta threatening to eat Cricket Me.

Happy April Fool's Day...I have no good pranks at the moment, sorry!

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