Last month I had the opportunity to visit the Philadelphia Flower Show, the oldest, biggest, and arguably best flower show in the United States. This event has been on my gardening bucket list for years, but I’d half convinced myself I’d never go, because there was no way my anxiety wouldn’t be triggered spending time in a convention center full of people and their sounds, smells, and noises. Gah.
However, due to COVID-19, this year the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show was held outside in South Philadelphia’s FDR Park …
It was magnificent. Overwhelming, yes, but it a really good way. Like when you’re a little kid super-excited to go the dinosaur museum and you get there and it’s even more awesome than you’d imagined. The displays arranged throughout the park, some by obviously by highly skilled professionals and others by youth or community groups, were simply fantastic and gave me lots of ideas for my own gardens. I think about the amount of work and artistry that went into those exhibits and I have nothing but the utmost respect for everyone involved.
I took too many photos, of course. Everything was so beautiful and interesting that I wanted to record everything for later. I’ve tried to narrow it down to just “the best” here, but the more are available on my Instagram.
On our way back from Peony’s Envy (see previous post), we stopped to stretch our legs at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris, New Jersey. Dedicated in 1971, the arboretum was a gift from Matilda Frelinghuysen and consists of 127 mixed acres of woodlands, meadows, gardens, and (of course) trees. There is also a Colonial Revival style summer home, used by the late Frelinghuysens three months of the year, but the house was closed to visitors at the time of our visit.
The Frelinghuysen Arboretum can be divided into three sections. The first sections is the home demonstration gardens area encircling the Haggerty Education Center. There you will find a perennial garden, rock garden, blue garden, cottage garden, special needs garden, and so much more. I spent an hour in this section alone.
The second section is the mansion garden area which includes the great lawn, heritage rose garden, knot garden, several fountains, an arbor, and more. According to the cell phone tour, the rose gardens beds are laid out between the spokes of a brick walk that resemble the Union Jack. In the center beds are Knock Out Roses with hybrid tea and ground cover roses around the edge of the garden.
The third section is what I thought of as the arboretum proper — the trees, paths, and meadow that comprise the majority of the grounds. While we didn’t spend much time in this section, I would like to return next spring to see the crabapples and flowering cherries in bloom.
Although we only spent a scant two hours at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum, we enjoyed every minute and would recommend it as a peaceful way to spend an afternoon in North Jersey.
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the display garden at Peony’s Envy in Bernardsville, New Jersey. A national distributor of peonies, Peony’s Envy opens its property for garden visits during the blooming season. Located behind a white colonial on a shady cul-de-sac, visiting feels a lot like stepping into a secret garden. A paradise of peonies waiting for you to explore.
The gardens are extensive, laid out over seven acres with mostly accessible paths, and every available bit of ground is planted with lush, voluptuous peonies. At the time of my visit, the herbaceous peonies were in peak bloom with a few intersectional peonies still putting on a good show.
Visiting during the middle of the week was a smart choice as, while there were plenty of people around, the garden felt tranquil and welcoming.